Sao Paulo’s Parque Ibirapuera: Home to More Than Just Museums

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As I explored Sao Paulo, I had wanted to go to Parque Ibirapuera in the afternoon, but my feet were hurting, and I was sweating, so I figured I’d rest for a bit first. It turned out to be a very small bit since one of the hostel employees and a couple other guests were headed to the park, and I decided to join them. Up I got, and off we went.
The park is about a 20 minute walk from the hostel, and the four of us enjoyed chatting. One of the guys was actually from Chico, California and living in Santiago about two blocks from my apartment during his exchange – seriously small world!
Parque Ibirapuera is home to several museums as well as plenty of open space. It’s pretty, but I am ashamed to admit that I was so exhausted by this point that I only got two pictures! The museums were closed – I’m not sure whether because it was Sunday or because it was election day – but from what we could see of the Afro-Brazilian Museum through the windows, it would be well worth a visit.
The buildings in Parque Ibirapuera were designed by Oscar Niemeyer, the famous Brazilian architect who designed pretty much the entire city of Brasilia, Brazil’s capital, as well as the UN building in New York. In addition to the permanent museums, there is an art exhibit called Bienal set up in one of the park’s buildings every two years. We happened to be there for it and went in – admission is free – to be totally overwhelmed. There was some stuff that I decidedly did not get, but there were also some really interesting exhibits, and with so many different works to see we barely even scratched the surface.
We went for a post-park beer and were hanging out at a bar when news started coming through that Dilma looked like the winner in the presidential race. Dilma Rousseff is Brazil’s first female president and was the candidate backed by former president Lula da Silva. Later that night, I made my way out to dinner and saw traffic all along Avendia Paulista, Sao Paulo’s main drag. People were honking, playing music and throwing confetti. Although the timing of my trip to coincide with the election had been an accident, I was glad to get the chance to be there on such a big day. After a yummy dinner at a Brazilian churrascaria – where they come around with meat on swords, and the goal seems to be to eat as much as you possibly can – I headed to bed. No free caipirinhas for me tonight – I’d walked 8 miles, no wonder I was so tired!
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