I arrived safe and sound here in Sao Paulo yesterday after more than 24 hours of travel. A friend of mine, Paulo, was kind enough to pick us up from the airport. I am glad he drove because traffic in Sao Paulo is INSANE! I would never want to drive here but maybe you get used to it. The worst are the Motoboys. They drive around on motorbikes so they can weave in and out of traffic to make their deliveries quicker. Paulo cut one off and he knocked on our car window and had several choice words for Paulo who just glared back at him. Just another day to a normal driver in Sao Paulo.
Today Dan and I took the bus into Bela Vista to complete our check-in at FGV (our college is called Fundação Getulio Vargas). We don't have a campus like most universities in the U.S. It is a 10 story building in the heart of Sao Paulo. I am completely in my element at FGV. It's in the middle of the city, talk of travel and business fills the air, there is an excellent cafeteria on the lower level so you do not even need to leave the school to eat, internet and a student lounge, it is great. If they could provide me a mattress and a shower I would live there ;-) To kick things off, I am going to a forum on Tuesday with Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook...sweet!
Apparently the swine flu has recently escalated here so unfortunately our classes are postponed until August 12th. They were supposed to begin on Monday. I am thinking I will do some traveling now rather than right before I come home because classes will now end later in December.
We also went to a soccer game today...pretty crazy. It wasn't even close to full since it is pretty cold right now, but there were still enough fans to get a taste of the chants, yelling, jumping, and other shenanigans that literally rock the stadium when it sells out. Looking forward to going to a rivalry game that's filled to capacity in the summer!
I live with a couple, Djalma and Ivone Santos. They are older, probably Mom and Dad's age (that one's for you Mom ;-)) and they are very kind. Both their kids are married but they live in the same apartment complex so they visit quite a bit. I quickly became friends with Ivone's nephew, Emerson, who lives on the same floor as us. He took me to the soccer game tonight and showed me the "Brasilian way" of getting by at things like that. It is also really nice that Dan is on exchange at FGV as well; I like having a traveling companion. As Dan's mom said, FGV is lucky to have such sharp, clean-shaven guys as us :).
I have already rediscovered the amazing fruit here, relived the fun of walking the streets, made friends and cheered with the die-hards at a soccer game. It has been a great start to the trip.
With Mom and Dad just before departure
Dan and I eagerly anticipating the next 12 hours we would spend in the air
Waiting for Paulo to pick us up from the airport
My place of residence
View from my bedroom
The pool and recreation area of our complex
A staple for any housing project here...quadra de futebol