12th and 13th day — back to the drawing board

Sometimes, it happens. You are on a journey to a foreign land, navigating the streets tirelessly with a determined agenda, until you come down with a cold that takes you down. At that point, it’s time to stop, stay in, and spend some time thinking about new strategies.

I found someone who can accompany me for a few interviews this weekend. I’m sure that the presence of a fluent Brazilian will change the dynamic and richness of the material. I’m slightly bummed about the slower progress than I anticipated for this trip, but the agenda is moving ahead, not stalled.

In the meantime, here are a few impressions of the city.

Bicycle rental stations are located in various parts of the city, including metro stops. The first hour (or half hour) is free, depending on the company, and the rates are $1/hour. Once a week, an entire lane is closed on Avenida Paulista (a central road downtown) devoted just for cyclists.

The bicycles you see above are provided by Itau bank which provides a variety of cultural services to the public.

The trains in this city are extremely modern, fast (never waited more than 3 minutes) and the routes are a breeze to figure out. I have never felt confused navigating the city on the Metro.

Here is a metro station:

… and a train:

Like most big cities all over the world with a growing population, the brunt is typically felt on public transportation. Here’s an example of how crowded it gets during peak hour; you might have to wait for two trains before you can actually board.

On a cultural note, I was walking around aimlessly one day to pass my time before a scheduled interview, when I came across a cultural center. I ambled inside, and there was a show going on with four authors discussing their philosophies, strategies, and worldviews.

The thing I found incredibly cool is that each author hailed from a different country and spoke a different language: Spanish, English, and French, while the Brazilian audience was fluent in Portuguese. Therefore, everyone was given headphones, and translations were provided instantly, similar to the process they have at UN conferences.

This contributes beautifully to the cosmopolitan psyche in this city: the familiarity and appreciation for different ideas, accents, worldviews, and people. Everyone in this arena was talking freely to each other, in their own language, and exchanging their perspectives – often humorous. It was a fun diversion from the streets.

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