Friday, December 27, 2013

Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Be traveling without much access to the electronic world, so the next post will most likely be mid January. Will get a Peru post up hopefully earlier, but who knows.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Wear Sunscreen

The Every Wednesday post but on a Sunday because I'll not have internet most likely after Tuesday for some time.

I happened to stumble upon this the other day and I thought it worth sharing. I've read it off and on over the past years.

From Wikipedia: "Wear Sunscreen is the common name of an article titled "Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young" written by Mary Schmich and published in the Chicago Tribune as a column in 1997, but often erroneously attributed to a commencement speech by author Kurt Vonnegut. The article became the basis for a successful music single "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)", released in 1999, by Baz Luhrmann." Check out this history of "Wear Sunscreen"

Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen
would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been
proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no
basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will
dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind.
You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth
until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look
back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp
now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you
really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying
is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing
bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things
that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you
at 4 pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.


Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with
people who are reckless with yours.


Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead,
sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end,
it's only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you
succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.


Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with
your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at
22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most
interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them
when they're gone.

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children,
maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance
the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you
do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself
either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of
it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest
instrument you'll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone
for good. Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to
your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few
you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography
and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need
the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard.
Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you
soft. Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians
will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll
fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable,
politicians were noble, and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust
fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when
either one might run out.

Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it
will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who
supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way
of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting
over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

What's In Your Wallet Neighborhood?

An Every Wednesday post actually on a Wednesday.

Neigh.Bor.Hood: ˈnā-bər-ˌhu̇d\ "A section of a town or a city."

And what a difference a section can make.

When Sue got the high school counselor job in Sao Paulo the hiring process was way behind the normal time line, so there wasn't much discussion about living arrangements. It was basically: "Housing will be provided."

Nothing about the quality of housing mind you. The apartment was spacious but spartan, but what was missing wasn't what wasn't in the apartment, it was what was missing around the apartment: A neighborhood.

We were living in Morumbi, a short walk from Sue's school, but San Francisco hilly hilly, and definitely not a walking around area. Oh we had to walk to the grocery store not having a car, but there was no place to walk "to".

So we moved from Morumbi to Vila Novo Conceicao just on the edge of Moema. A distance of 11 clicks (6.6 miles) but 180 degree change in a neighborhood.

View Larger Map

A short walk or bike ride away to the northeast is Iberapuera Park which I wrote about a few weeks ago. Click on the purple to open that post Iberapuera Park Post in a new window.

Since we've been here we've walked to the local stores on the main street, Afonso Bras, just a block from us, but hadn't explored the neighborhood to the north.....or the south.....or the west.

It was time to venture north and see the neighborhood. Onto the Bike Friday NWT wondering what will traffic be like on the side streets versus "Take Your Life In Your Hands If You'd Be So Foolish" main roads.

Well, they drive as fast and don't give you a heckuva lot of space but there are far less cars, so some of my cycling was on the sidewalk where a side road was busy.

In a word I'd say our neighborhood is fairly upscale with many high rise "pay through the nose" looking buildings. The area is pleasant with many of the streets tree lined with the tropical foilage that is Sao Paulo. After all this once was a forest.

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Cycling along I found "Bread Co" an indoor/outdoor coffee and what not cafe. The rain curtains were deployed as we just had a thunder storm but I ventured over to check out the menu: breakfast omelettes, assorted sandwiches, and a small pastry shop inside. Yes!!

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Across the corner was a woman with her floral shop on the corner. Good place to bring Sue for some fleurs for the apartmento.

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Now this is a walking neighborhood! Funny, how an area can completely change your outlook and mood. A lot to explore still. But I also found a local neighborhood lunch spot. a fancy dancy restaurant (Josephine), a small pocket park, and some la de da stores.

And that's just what is north of us. Time to get on the bike and go west young man.

Click on any pic to go to the album.
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Friday, December 06, 2013

Get On The Bus Gus

The every Wednesday post but this time on a Friday.

So we're in the new place in Moema in Sao Paulo (SP) without a car. Sao Paulo is huge. How huge is it? Glad you asked. SP is the largest city in Brazil and is the largest city in the southern hemisphere! Oh and as to population the seventh most populated in the world.

Quick aside: From Wikipedia: "The city, which is also colloquially known as "Sampa" or "Cidade da Garoa" (city of drizzle), is also known for its unreliable weather, the size of its helicopter fleet, its architecture, gastronomy, severe traffic congestion and multitude of skyscrapers. The city is considered a Global City according to several classifications. According to one source, São Paulo is expected to have the second highest economic growth in the world between 2011 and 2025, although New York City and Tokyo were expected to remain the largest in 2025.[8]"

Searching on line there was a plethora of places to see or things to do with most of them miles from home.

I said: "Let's take a cab." "Naw" says Sue, "Let's see if we can get there by bus. If we want to go anywhere we're going to need to learn the bus routes."

Our destination was a building called "The Italian Building", one of the highest buildings in SP boasting an almost 360 degree walk around platform for viewing the vast city.

I jump to Google Maps to see exactly where the building was from our flat. Looks to be about 8 kilometers.

If you don't know this about Google Maps, you can click on an icon to see how to get there by:
  • Car
  • Bus
  • Walk
  • Bicycle
Well bicycle IF that option is available in your locale. In Brazil, that icon disappears and rightly so: It would be suicidal to bike 8 kilometers on main roads!! What I didn't know was that when you click on the bus icon. Google Maps shows you alternate bus routes including the number of the required bus and where the stations are located. See if this Google Maps imbed works. View Larger Map Click on the view larger map view if you're curiouser about how bus info appears. Off to the bus station.

Not a single. Not a double. But yup, a triple bus.

From taking a bus to Iguacu Falls we knew the drill: Get on. Pay the collector. Find a seat. Simple.

But the bus would not take us directly to the Italian Building. We would have to walk to a metro station, take the metro one stop and then walk to the building. I was familiar with the metro having figured out how to use it from our previous flat in Morumbi to get to the safe bicycling area.

e were trying to figure out where our exit stop was when all of a sudden we were pulling into a major bus station.

The bus emptied.

Except for us.

Trying to figure out what to do when a young guy getting on the bus and probably noticing our dazed, confused and lost look says in English: "Hey, can I help you guys?" He was a student who obviously knew English.

Not only did he give us directions to the metro, but he got off the bus and gave up his time and walked us towards the metro station.

Footnote: I've found the "paulistas" to be very friendly when needed. As you walk down the street you're met with hard, cold, indifferent stares. However, every time I've had the deer in the headlights "lost" look, someone has offered help.

From the metro it was a short walk to the building where there was free admission to the roof top "restaurant" area from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Being early, we spotted a street market down the street. Sue shopped. I people watched.

The bus adventure was worth it. A brief test and we can probably get anywhere we want by bus IF we want to go that route.

We hit a clear day and the views from the top of the building were astounding being able to actually see the vastness of SP.

This is a view from the top of the building showing one very small slice of SP.

You get the picture.