Already half-a-year has (nearly) elapsed since the magrelinha and I landed on the hot tarmac of Natal airport’s runway. I haven’t written anything yet about my experiences there so, with the guilty conscience of a debtor being 6-months in arrears, I am going to make weekly repayments through this series of blog posts – Brasil, belatedly.
Our week in São Paulo came to an end last Friday. Another city, another life style. Maybe the most obvious difference is that Natal’s main draw is its beaches. However, what it sorely lacks, and which São Paulo makes up for in abundance, is cultural attractions. Size, of course, has a lot to do with it. Eleven million people create a bigger demand for a greater variety of entertainment options than 800,000. And anyway, São Paulo is starved of beaches..
As I mentioned in last week’s email, we did a lot of walking, averaging about 20 kilometres per day. I have to admit that towards the end of our stay, I was putting on my walking shoes with a sense of disquiet and tying the laces with anticipated weariness, knowing full well that another few thousand footsteps were to trace our itinerary in the coming hours.
Along the way we met little acts of kindness – we asked a taxi driver for directions to our hotel on the first day and he just offered to take us there at no charge; the bus driver who gave us a free ride to a stop close to the metro station we needed. There was also the politeness of shop assistants, who always greet clients with a good morning /afternoon /evening. Actually this is also true for Natal and every other place we have visited in Brasil.
Another pleasant similarity is that so few people smoke. I hardly ever see anyone light up here. Whether it’s because they are a health conscious lot or it’s simply too hot to raise the temperature further with an extraneous heat source, I don’t know.
The “Brasil, belatedly” series. Click for: parts 1 to 8