Monday, January 28, 2013

São Paulo- the rest of the trip

Some of the fotos from Fridays 10k. for feeling like crap, some of the photos came out well (minus the muffin top from all the pastel, picanha, and Coxinha!)

The main reason for the trip to São Paulo was to be padrinhos for our friend's wedding. On Saturday evening, we got to play dress up and take part in their special day.

We clean up nicely! :) (My dress is from Japanese designer Tadashi Shoji)

Traditions: (from what I learned)

-padrinhos are chosen as couples by the bride and groom respectively. We were chosen by the groom and got to sit on his side of the altar. Padrinhos are like the "godparents" of the marriage. I believe there were 6 couples on each side.

-Men wear suit and tie, women (madrinha) must wear a floor length gown, not black (funeral) or white.

The wedding was beautiful, and the bride and groom looked so freaking happy to be standing up saying their vows in front of several hundred people. I might have even shed a few tears ;)

The bride wore a custom designed dress and looked absolutely beautiful, the groom wore an all white suit which was just plain awesome.

Sampa Thoughts

The coffee here is amazing. It's strong, dark, and served in a small cup- no venti, green mermaid drinks found here. (Ok ok, there are a few Starbucks, but Brasilian tradition is for the smaller potent coffees, larger coffees are lost on people here)

These smaller coffees are something that I'll be adopting in the US. I see no need to drink 20oz of coffee, when a small shot will do just fine. The cappuccinos were a little larger and quite delicious! Muito Bom!


Traditionally, they are made by muddling cut up pieces of lime with sugar, add some ice and then cachaça. Easiest mixed drink ever! In any restaurant you go in SP, you can find endless varieties of fruits and liqueurs. (Sake, and vodka are also popular alternatives to cachaça)

My favorite- with passion fruit, red fruits, tangerine and sake. It also came with a passion fruit Popsicle. So refreshing on a summer day!

The 9 others I had-
Row 1: passion fruit, lemon, strawberry basil.

Row 2: cashew fruit, grape/star fruit, seriguela fruit.

Row 3: lychee, basil/tangerine/ginger, kiwi.

While cachaca is traditional, I prefer sake because the flavor of the alcohol doesn't overpower the fruit.


Overall, Brasilian women "dress up." While walking in old town, I saw a very pregnant woman walking around looking chic in a dress and high heels. People are not afraid to wear colors and stand out.

I saw a woman working out in the gym in a similar getup. This is something I cannot get on board with ;)


I was blown away by the quality of the produce here. Even in the restaurants, the food tasted so much fresher and of better quality than in the USA.

Coxinha from the best place in São Paulo- Frango! Coxinha are made of shredded chicken and then deep fried. These were delicious with some cold beer and weren't greasy at all.

Overall Impressions

São Paulo is a fantastic large city. Crime is definitely something to be concerned about while visiting. For this reason, as well as São Paulo not being a touristy place, I would absolutely not recommend visiting here unless you know people who can take you around. Since you must take a cab nearly everywhere- and this city is massive and spread out, you would need to know fluent Portuguese and also the exact directions on how to get to your destination because cab drivers don't always know the correct way. I'm sure Rio is a little more tourist friendly.

In regards to FIFA World Cup 2014, and the 2016 Olympics, Brasil is not equipped to handle the influx of visitors. Nearly all international flights land in São Paulo and the airport is not large enough to handle it. Above are the lines for 4-5 different airlines on Sunday night. And L was surprised it wasn't busy. I thought it was chaos!

On another note, I am absolutely humbled by how L's friends and family welcomed me into their family even though I can't speak Portuguese. They went out of their way to make me feel comfortable, which made this visit an amazing experience.

I'm counting the days until I am able to return to this beautiful country.



Friday, January 25, 2013

Trofeu Cidade de São Paulo 10k

50:03 A new PR! because this was my first 10k ever! (Funny because I've run nearly all race distances between 5k-26.2)

36th woman overall out of 737, top 4.8%

5th in my AG out of 120, top 4%

818th overall out of 4165, top 19%

Three words to describe this race: Hot, Humid, Hills

We met L's dad at our hotel and walked to the start of the race outside Parque Ibirapuera. This was run entirely on the freeways outside the park.

It was a nice sunny day to celebrate São Paulo's 459th birthday!

L and his dad ran together.

We started near the front because this race was sold out at over 10,000 people between the 10k and 6.3k. It was crazy!

It was a little crowded for the first K and then it spread out a bit.

I woke up feeling sick to my stomach- probably because I induce pre race jitters on myself. Not sure why I get so worked up over these things.

My goal was to have fun, and try to break 50 minutes. I knew the 75 degree heat and 70% humidity wouldn't be on my side, since I've been used to temps 40+ degrees cooler in Chicago.

Usual pre race shoe shot :)

First mile was 7:40 and I felt pretty good- hot but good. Then the huge hill started. It was steep and seemed to go on for over half a mile. At this point I started feeling really sick. I just slowed down and kept telling myself to just get to the top (while muttering curse words to myself) The down hill after was nice, but then we had to go back up. Mile 2, 8:20.

I saw the leaders while i was at the 2k mark- they were already at the 5k!

I think I got to the 5k in under 25 minutes.

The first half was rough. I haven't sweat like that in a long time. It was hard to breathe and just freaking way too hot for me! :)

The second half was flatter, but I kept breathing heavy and cursing. A few people told me (I assume because they spoke Portuguese and I can kinda understand) that "we were almost done, hang in there" which was really nice. I kept chugging along and kept scanning the crowd for L and his dad.

I actually saw them two times on the out and back parts. I didn't run with my iPod, so looking for them kept my mind busy. And they were easy to spot in their red and green shirts :)

I was really happy to be finished and almost started to hurl when I crossed the finish. (The guy behind me beat me to it) The second half had some smaller hills and more uneven splits ranging from 7:40-8:20 again for me.

Because the officials weren't barking at people to move from the finish, I hung around for L and his dad to finish!


-Easy access to the start from our hotel.

-Relatively smooth start.

-Aid stations with cold water in an easy to open cup.

-Awesome medal!

-Chip timing, race photos etx

-Kindness of the runners. A guy who spoke to me during the 2nd half with words of encouragement came up to me after the finish and said congrats and gave me a sweaty hug.

The less than ideal:
-Plastic cups for the water. Slippery.

-Heat, hills and humidity ;)

Other observations

Photo from today's race from runners world.

-Most of the participants wore their lime green race shirts.

-The field for the 10k was 17% women, 83% men. not surprising since I didn't see many women around me during the race.

-Nice swag- the fila shirt is soft and drifit, we also got a blue tech hat. And one we turned our chip back in, they gave us our medal and a bag of snacks.

The top 2 men and women finishers- who were sponsored by FILA. The winning male time was 29:17, and the woman won in 34:46


Took a salt tab and a jet blackberry gu pre race.

Ran with my passion fruit flavored Gatorade the whole time. Best decision ever.

Lulu yellow top, lulu shorts, Saucony A5 shoes. Ankle and ITB were not issues.

Still feel sick and hot/sunburned after a long nap. Think I finally burned all those calories from the mortadella sandwich.

I think I'm going to have to try another 10k soon...

- xaar

Thursday, January 24, 2013

São Paulo, Days 5-6

We went to famous "Mocoto" on Wednesday with L's parents. The restaurant was one of the places Anthony Bourdain went in his layover São Paulo episode. The food is simple northern Brasilian food done well.

Cheese and a reduction of sugar cane juice.

The place is reasonable in price and the lines quickly grow with people wanting to eat the Chefs delicious food.

Carne seca with roasted garlic and pickled hot peppers. (I'm buying several jars of these to take back home!)

The restaurant is purposely out of the way- so according to chef Rodrigo "he can choose the people that come here." He treats the tv reporter and the guy that cleans the street the same here at Mocoto. (From the Bourdain episode) We had entirely too much to eat, and it was all fantastic. The main thing that strikes me about food here, is the quality of ingredients. I feel that if I cooked one of my specialties here, it would taste 100x better than in Chicago. The simplicity of the food and how all the ingredients can be tasted is something i rarely find in the USA. It's really hard to explain this further.

There's graffiti on everything. In fact it's hard to find a building without some sort of tag. It's really sad, because this city is beautiful. People who live here really don't know how good they have it. (plus There are a lot of socio-economic issues to sort out as well)

There are some really beautiful graffiti art murals here.

These are under their public transit system.

We went for another run in Ibirapuera, and I made some new friends- including a horned dinosaur chicken (helmeted guinneafowl). Ok ok, I piggy backed on the kid that was feeding these geese and took advantage of the situation to get close to the birds. I even pretended to have food so they would get closer to me. They might attack me next time I go for a run there...

We also got some fresh, straight from the coconut, coconut water. For about $1.50usd, it was cold and hit the spot after 2 laps around the park.

We had lunch with L's parents at a place that had live music. It was wonderful- I can't remember the last time I went for lunch somewhere during the week and experienced live music.

Then we got our race "kit" for tomorrow's 10k to celebrate São Paulo's 459th birthday. The pickup was in the parking garage of a supermarket.

No frills, no expo, just picking up your number, chip and shirt (also came with a cool hat and a bar of soap!) and then we had to go to the chip verify station to make sure the data was correct. Simple!

Looks like between the 10k and 6.3k, there will be over 10,000 participants. I'm pretty excited to run in the race and have little expectations except to just have fun. L and his dad are also running the 10k, should be a blast!

We had a "light" dinner at the Portuguese restaurant near our hotel and I had Caipirinha number 7. This one was with Sake and lychee fruit. Absolutely delicious!!

Boa noite


- xaar

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

São Paulo, days 3-4

End of day 2

Vaca Veia! An awesome Boteco.

Day 3

Went to the fancy mall. Here you see a pair of Asics kicks which retail in the US for around $180. (Thank you Mrs Chirunnergirl for the pricing!)

In Brasil, they cost 800 reals, which is around $400 American dollars. The 2x markup was pretty standard on most of the models I was familiar with. This is the reason many Brazilians load their suitcases with clothing and electronics when in the USA. Stuff is absurdly expensive here.

And after seeing my garmin 210 retailing for over $500 US dollars in another sports store (current price in America around $200) I decided against bringing it to the park for my runs. There's a black market for everything. This particular mall had police with guns at every entrance as well as at many of the high end stores (Gucci, Missoni, Chanel, DVF...) which made up the entire mall. Safety is definitely an issue here.

For dinner we went to Braz, the best pizza place I've ever been. The slice on the left was pancetta, egg, and Parmesan cheese. The one on the right was shiitake mushrooms and red onions. You could taste the freshness of the ingredients. It was amazing!

I now understand why L's Brasilian friends say there's "nothing" good to eat when they visit america. The quality of ingredients in São paulo is far superior to our processed shit. *there are restaurants in the USA which source quality, sustainable, ingredients, but those are few and far between. I'm inspired to cook more now.

Day 4

Bom Dia Sampa!

Went for a run in the park like every morning so far- brought the small camera to take some photos (and not my garmin!) it's not so much the park being dangerous, but the walk to it.

I love running the 2.65 km loop. They also have places that sell fresh coconut water and coffee/snacks along the path.

Post run we went to a farmers market and bought a giant pastel filled with ham, cheese and tomato.

We also had a typical Brasilian breakfast of toasted bread with butter. YUM.

We then went to "Old Downtown." I did not bring my camera due to safety issues. It's a real shit show on certain streets with 1000's of people walking around. (And you can easily be pit pocketed)

We went to the top of the São Paulo version of the Empire State Building (Banespa) which was free and afforded an awesome view of this crazy big city.

After, we walked to the Municipal Market for one of the things we've been looking forward to since watching Anthony Bourdains "the layover" São Paulo...

MORTADELLA!!! Just look at the cross section on that sandwich! We each ate a half which was way toooo much food, but damn, that thing was delicious- especially with some ice cold beer. Absolutely worth going here.

The mercado was crazy! But it was incredibly clean and had beautiful high quality ingredients.

Sorry, but the fruit in America is pathetic compared to the quality of the fruit here in SP. we sampled some fruit that doesn't exist in the USA (that i cant remember the names of) and bought a "custard apple" to bring back to our hotel. (Large green one on the bottom left)

We also went to some churches.

Got kicked out of the one above for taking photos. :)

Another beautiful cathedral.
(But full of sketchy homeless people all around)

We walked to Liberdade (Japan town) afterwards to burn some of the 8000 calories of the sandwich.

The street lights kinda look Japanese, that's about it. There are some Japanese restaurants and magazine stands- I almost got a Vouge Japan.

After, we walked to another mall where I got a kick ass pair of Brasilian jeans from M Officer. They fit better than any other pair of jeans I've ever had in my life. (And make my butt look fantastic!)

Can't wait to go eat more fried things tonight! (And subsequently run a few extra laps at the park tomorrow)


- xaar