Brazilian Diary - Tuesday 8th June 2010

Tuesday broke with the news that Lucy had come down with something during the night, a salmon omelette had been lined up as the most likely suspect but whether it was this or a virulent bug the end result was the same - she wouldn't be leaving the hotel for a while.

We had a lunchtime meeting with the festival organisers planned with various subjects on the agenda - our city gig the following evening, some money matters, and any leftover stuff from the festival. We piled into a cab and endured the bone and suspension rattling ride across town then, in true Brazilian fashion, immediately went out to lunch.

The meeting went well, with a few days for feelings to calm we were able to talk about what had gone on during the festival without emotions rising and both sides affirmed that overall it had been a positive experience. Eventually. We came up with some ideas for the next night's set list but didn't make any definite choices until we knew how much Lucy would be able to do. The money talk was postponed as there hadn't been time for the organisers to sort their stuff out, but it sounded like things would be sorted out without any unpleasant surprises for us.

After the meeting we were taken to visit a centre for orphans and children at risk that was supported by the festival organisers - part of the money raised there was donated to the centre and one of the organisers was a regular volunteer there. The place was on the spartan side but was light and cheery, there were a few sad faces but most of the children we met seemed happy and outgoing. There were some tragic stories but the general sense was one of optimism and of making a real and practical difference in these children's lives. I had fun playing with the kids.

When it was time to leave the centre we hit another of those communications breakdowns that seemed to pop up regularly during our time in Brazil. We were left waiting for our guide while she sat in the office, typing away at a computer. Eventually she came out to reveal that she'd been looking for the best route to a shop that sold crystals, something that we'd expressed an interest in during our first time in the city, and that it would take over an hour to get there. If she'd asked us whether we wanted to spend another hour in a car at the outset we'd have said no and moved on to other options, but for some reason this pattern of assuming that a vague whim was an urgent requirement kept coming up, resulting in people doing lots of work over something that we ended up not wanting, leaving both sides feeling unheard or unthanked. A cultural mismatch that I never quite put my finger on.

But eventually we headed off to go shopping. We drove a short way to Vila Madalena, a funky neighbourhood with interesting and unusual shops, galleries and bars. The first couple we went into were really expensive and a bit too arty/pretentious for me but we then found a wonderful place that sold interesting, inexpensive native-made arts and crafts that was government supported and (to some extent) fairtrade so a lot of the money actually got back to the people who made them. We made good use of our local currency.

The time came to head off home so we found a taxi and sat back to be whisked home. Unfortunately the São Paulo traffic had other plans. We crawled through gridlock, taking well over an hour to cover the ground that had taken twenty minutes to do so earlier in the week. We arrived back tired, rattled and having been extensively marinated in exhaust fumes. The boys decided that a beer was the ideal cure and we made tracks for the Best Pizza Parlour in São Paulo which lived up to all expectations.



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