Sao Paulo – Couchsurfing host family








I wish I could record every moment down with my eye and store it somewhere – the kids shouting ‘g’ morning! G’ morning!’ around the house in the early morning. Tried to get them to reply ‘I’m fine, thank you’ to a ‘how are you’ while we collapsed into giggles.


Havaianas and how they cost like 3 reals?? They gaped at the price in Singapore. We should do a business together, she said. Well, I have a business partner in Brazil.
I’m disgusted at how I went for the tour and yet my preconceptions of favelas did not budge that much. Her sister asked if I wanted to visit a favela. I replied apprehensively I think I’d better not, it might be unsafe? No! They shook their heads in surprise. It’s not dangerous at all. I said hmm I’m worried there may be guns or gangs or something, and they said no, her sister lives in the favela. I went to take a look – it was better than Rocinha I think, it was an absolutely normal (ugh hate the words I’m using) house. What’s the difference between a favela and a house? I asked. A favela is a house that is on top of or just beside other houses on all sides. What, I should I have known shouldn’t I after the tour?? It then struck me how deeply set the presumptions were still operating towards other favelas. Favela, the word in general, carried these connotations of danger and drugs and gangs when it’s just the normal home of another person!! How can I be so ignorant, even worse, after my tour? It’s always good to be cautious of course, but I hate that this made me realise how that tour was not successful in penetrating the stereotypes I still hold. No wonder the stigma, really.
Ena luiza drew for me a picture. She wants to be a fashion designer when she grows up. I told her to do something related to singapore and Brazil.
Using google translate we passed the phone between us; times like this it’s so evident how technology bridges gaps – cultural gaps, communication, and how important it is for people like me.
In many ways I hope they get inspired to learn English to communicate with the world
And to trigger the desire to travel to Singapore someday
It’s always lovely to have a dream like that
To come so close to Picasso and Dali – I was thrilled
Lesbian couple
Expensive to get married in Brazil people don’t get merrier




















en route to Iguazu
Wow, this was pretty great, I thought as the Pluma bus rode off. Bye Sao Paulo! Caught glimpse of the urban jungle.
Today as I walked past the tall skyscrapers and their interesting shiny architecture I said, wow, Brazil’s pretty developed. See, in that statement lies assumptions about the country, and the homogeneity of a country. Strange how the general impression (or at least my prior impression) of Brazil is less-developed or something. Sao Paulo’s buildings in the city centre and their trees were so similar to Singapore’s. It’s nice to have walked past the more developed parts of a city and the less developed parts, the more central and the outskirts, where Ingrid lives. I could see certain differences in the buildings – the apparent favelas along the outskirts and the dominance of tall buildings in the central business district.
It still, still surprises me to see Japanese people with the Brazilians, speaking in Portuguese, as well as the Japanese words on some buildings. It’s just so different from Rio, I didn’t quite expect this prevalence of Japanese (Asian) epode here. I asked Ingrid if there were class differences amongst the Japanese, the whites, the other colored skins. She said the Japanese were richer in general – why? Don’t know, possibly because of migration I suppose and their presence here for economic pull-factors as expats (??) Don’t know, hmm. Well if you think about it, I doubt you’d see any Japanese living in the favelas. Right? Unsure.
When nearing the central area of Sao Paulo today I thought, this could easily be Singapore, as I snapped a picture. The roads, the planting of trees, the traffic. And then I thought again, well, maybe a paler version. Singapore’s trees were neatly aligned and equally spaced, unlike the ones here where some gaps between the trees were larger than others. I thought about how I once mocked Singapore for their (obsession) with perfection, of even the random details, the roadside trees, Then I realized I appreciated that effort, it did make the roads look neater and pleasant. Also, the evident potholes on some parts of the roads here. Tsk tsk to the things I take for granted.
I guess I should mention that at this point, I have spoilt my camera (digital and polaroid wide), cracked the screen of my phone, and left behind my contact lens solution, c-towner shirt and my spectacles. A little upset at the last (HOW THE * DID I LOSE MY SPECTS LOL WHAT), but I keep telling myself things could be worse, could be much worse. True for sure! Perhaps a greater incentive to hasten my decision to lasik.
I shall think about all that I took away from Brazil –
the tattoo culture it seems. Bianca asked if I wanted to get a tattoo. I have to admit, last night I suddenly felt like I should get one. Here it’s so common, I think within a family at least someone has one. Along the streets on their arms backs, etc. This admittedly matches my geographical imagination. If I did a full -year exchange here, I would probably tattoo something symbolic, Sigh, it’s just been a coulee of days here and my affection for this country has grown quite a bit, I do wonder, at the end, which country I’d feel most acquainted with, and which I’d like best, It wont be a fair comparison of course, because each place is unique, but still I wonder how I’d feel.
would like to reflect more but eyelids closing. should sleep, someone snores from behind me.


I awoke this morning to the sunrise by my side.
Such a beautiful morning. I’m so in love with the world, I think as the bus rolls by. The man who asked about my hiking stick caught my eye and waved from the seat diagonal to mine. I waved back.
Well, these 18- hour bus rides aren’t that bad. It passed so quickly, I didn’t even have time to read or do all that I want to do. Sigh.
I love the idea of departing cities by wheel though. Moving and moving from one spot to another, a tiny figure on the map.
pao de queiso
630pm – 1030am arrived at iguazu




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