Modern Sao Paulo

Several of us went out to experience Saturday night in the big city last night, so it is agreed in advance that we’ll get a slightly later start today – at 10am instead of 9am. Our destination is the Vila Madalena neighborhood which has a huge concentration of graffiti art on several of its streets. The area is called Beco do Batman — Batman’s Alley.

Sign identifying we have arrived at Batman’s Alley

The nickname for the area is attributed to a graffito of the DC Comics character Batman which was painted on one of the walls in the 1980s. Local art students began filling the walls with other psychedelic and cubist influenced designs. The graffiti of Beco do Batman is now continually renovated and cared for by local community members.

Entering the Beco do Batman
My personal favorite of all the graffiti
A skylight holds the symbol to call Batman in an emergency
Strolling along Beco do Batman
The art is of varied quality, but never boring
There’s even a little Batgirl action
There are some brilliantly colored works
And other fantastic creations in black-and-white
Ballerinas on Beco do Batman
You encounter all sorts of people on this byway: Those who want to make a story for their coming baby…
…and those who, well, you know, want to strut like a…

So get this – something happened today that has never happened before on a Toto Tour! Two of the tour members start chatting about people they know in Taos, New Mexico – which happens to be where both of them hail from but don’t live there now. Gabriel and Abraham discover that they have a common first cousin, and are therefore closely related and had no idea about this until the third day of the tour!!! What are the odds that these two would show up on the same Toto Tour and put the pieces together? You just can’t even begin to calculate it! I hope it is the beginning of a long friendship!

Gabriel and Abraham – newly discovered relatives. Can you grasp how amazing this is?
Ralph and Rocky strip down in the cold to try on this man’s beautiful shirts. They start a buying frenzy. He lives in this VW bus, and sews his creations there. He does a brisk business with us!
Richard models the shirt he bought which beautifully matches his pants and his eyes!
Oh look! Ian’s on top again!
We are cold, and eager for coffee – but gay Romeo & Romeo isn’t open yet. We have to search for a nearby substitute.

After a hot beverage and some pre-lunch sweets, we visit the Monument to the Bandeiras (the people who settled the interior of Brazil). The direction of movement of the statues is directly facing the interior of the country.

Monument to the Bandeiras

Directly across from this massive monument is Ibirapuera Park. Ibirapuera Park was the first metropolitan park in São Paulo,  designed along the lines of other great English landscape gardens built in the 20th century in major cities around the globe. It was inaugurated on 21 August 1954 for the 400th anniversary of the city of São Paulo, with buildings designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer.

Sao Paulo City seen from Ibirapuera Park

We conclude today’s tour enjoying lunch at Figueira Rubaiyat – a restaurant built around a one-hundred-year-old fig tree. The food is delicious, but not cheap!

Lunch at Figueira Rubaiyat

Tomorrow we head off to the Pantanal, and hopefully warmer weather!

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