Decided I'm going to add two days of judo and two days of MMA to my existing routine of jiu-jitsu on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I really need to step up my training after seeing this picture Maria snapped of me in the bath:
This is due mostly to the food I've been eating lately. The monster pictured below is my new favorite meal; it's a triple layer sandwich with a bread base, cheese and ham and a slab of filet mignon, topped by another slice of bread, lettuce, tomato, bacon, and another filet mignon, sandwiched between yet another slice of bread, and wrapped up in an omelet with fries and mustard/mayo on the side.
During a pause to vomit and make more stomach room:
Hence the "After" picture of the hippo. The damned thing is the size of my head.
So, while my friends and family back home were unpacking sweaters and trying not to drown in autumn thunderstorms, Maria and I spent a sweaty morning at the Sao Paulo zoo, jumping from shadows to shade, avoiding as many ultraviolet waves as possible. At 93 degrees, only a few days into spring, even the animals were sluggish and hiding. Except for the apes, of course. Those crazy bastards are always out looking for a good time.
Okay, so that's actually another picture of me at lunch. This tropical sun is really doing a number on my skin.
But it was nice, even for a short time, to look in every direction and see trees instead of buildings. From the woods to the jungle, indeed.
We passed the afternoon in a zoo of another kind, the famous Avenida Paulista, where you can find the most expensive real estate in all of Latin America, as well as the most comprehensive fine arts museum, enough shopping to make your head spin, and even zombie street walkers.
Perhaps I won't miss Halloween after all.
In an earlier post, I wrote about the United States' influence on Brazilian culture. While I continue to see examples of this (a Shell gas station flanked by a McDonald's on one side and a Subway on the other, for example), I would be remiss to not touch upon the deep Brazilian sense of nationality. While people don't fly flags on their homes, unlike their North American counterparts, the green, blue, and yellow bandeiras proclaiming Ordem E Progresso (Order and Progress) can be seen everywhere, and in the most unusual places, from sidewalks to fully painted intersections.
Even though so much of the United States--be it language or food or clothing or television programs--has found its way into this country, the people here seem to understand that foreign influences don't dilute their culture, they make it richer. This cultural integration actually sharpens their sense of pride.
Of course, while I don't intend it to be a blanket statement, I do realize the previous observation is limited to--and tainted by--my own personal experience. But that's what this blog is about, right? Giving you a taste of what I see and think and feel about this place, which tells you as much about me as it does Brazil.
But it's also about choking bulls in the metro.