Thursday, April 4, 2013

Chow-Chow Europe, Bem-Vindo ao Brasil

Hey All,

I'm Baaaack!!!!  And rested, ready and raring to go.  It was a wonderful vacation traveling through some areas of Europe we hadn't seen before.  Afterwards, we spent two lovely weeks in the states visiting our kids.  Not nearly enough time, just enough to make me miss them even more.  *sniff*

But now we're here in South America, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, starting a brand new adventure.  The trip was uneventful, planes comfortable and on time.  Customs and immigration easily done.  My favorite part was getting this picture out the window just by chance.  First Mt. the Amazon River.  Awesome.

We're going to take a trip into the rainforest...a boat ride down the river as well as a trek into the forest itself.  Something we've been looking forward to for a long time.  A bucket list item for sure!!!

We arrived in Sao Paulo in good time and our driver picked us up and took us to our hotel.  Easy peasy, that is until we found out it would be three days before we could get to our actual room.  They moved us around for a while before it came free.  Not a big deal, but irritating.

The internet was the next challenge.  As you know, we'd been warned about the quality and they were right.  It took us almost two weeks to get the internet to where we could actually use it.  And even now, it's a chancy business.  So if you don't hear from me for some reason, you'll know why.  LOL

At first, I wasn't all that impressed by the city of Sao Paulo.  First off... it's a city and I'm a country girl, so I don't like cities in the first place.  But I've gotten used to living in them, and finding things to like about each city.  It's not a "pretty" city by any means as you can see by the view out our window, plus there is an oppressiveness over this city that I can't quite shake off.  So, walking around was a bit uncomfortable at first.

But then Jonathon and I took some time to go further afield.  And I'm glad we did.  We found a huge, lovely park, interesting street markets and safe shopping areas.  We talked to locals who did much to dispel many of our worries.  Now I can go out on my own and as long as I keep to certain places, I should be fine.

Our favorite part of the city so far is the park I mentioned.  Ibirapuera Park is one of the prettiest parks I've seen in our travels, and the trees there are absolutely gorgeous.  Large and quite odd looking, they are Mother Nature's art at her finest.  See what I mean?  That is ONE SINGLE TREE!!!

 Or this...  The words on the pavement say "SLOW".  Ya think?????  LOL

The rest of the park is just as interesting.  Lakes and ponds with fountains, playgrounds and open spaces, and many museums just waiting to be explored.  I'll spend several enjoyable days wandering there.

We also visited Sao Paulo Cathedral (more on that in another blog), Avendida Paulista-the main shopping road, and several malls.  

Things in their stores are quite different than I've seen before.  At Easter this is how they display their Easter chocolate eggs.  Large and EXPENSIVE!!!!!!  But very cool and I'd never seen the like before.  (Click to make larger and see it better.)

As a matter of fact, Sao Paulo is one of the most expensive cities in Brazil.  More expensive than Zurich, Switzerland.  Some things are so outrageously costly, I almost had a coronary.  LOL  Luckily, I'd thought ahead and brought much of what I'd need. 

Except coffee.  Seriously.  I'm in bloody Brazil.  Who'd of thunk coffee would be three times as expensive as it is in the states?  I'm ready to have my son send me some Starbucks beans, just so I can enjoy my morning brew!!!!

Anyway, that's all for today.  I'll be doing a weekly blog until I have my big book launch this summer.  Then I'll go back to two a week.  But for now I need all the time I can get for other projects.  Having the time off was fun, but now I'm paying for it.  LOL

You all have a great Thursday!  I'll see you next week with a blog about our vacation through Europe!


CJ England

Follow Your Dreams


Phylis said...

Welcome back! Looking forward to all your tidbits of Brazil. I love seeing all the neat things and places you have been. Thanks CJ!

Ray said...

High prices the cost of a prosperous economy.

When I was in Brazil in 1983 if you were spending dollars it was dirt cheap. You didn't even have to go to a money exchange. Just walk behind a news stand and the proprietor would give you a good deal. Stores took dollars. Inflation of Brazilian currency was above 10% a week.

I love the tree pics from the park. We visited the botanical gardens in Rio where there were huge flowers that we had only seen as potted plants.

Do you get paid in Euros or local currency while in Brazil?

I'm glad you were able to find the safe places to go. Does Sao Paulo have large slums surrounding it as does Rio? Another cost of a high GDP.

CJ England said...

Thanks, Phylis. It's so nice to be back among friends! I've missed you all.

CJ England said...

Hey Ray.

We get paid in dollars so it makes that easier for us in the long run.

And it does have some slums...I believe they are called FAVELA and are actually a tourist attraction. But recommended to visit ONLY on a tour. I think I'll do it that way. LOL

Brenda said...

I envy how much you get to travel, CJ. It must do wonders for inspiration for your books :-)

Unknown said...

Welcome back! We missed you! :0)

CJ England said...

Thanks, Connie! Missed you too!