The largest city in the Western Hemisphere. That’s what drew my brother to check this place out, and I was happy to tag along and meet a cousin of mine that also appreciates motorcycles.
We arrived at 6am and had one hell of a day. After meeting my cousin and having breakfast, we were told the bus to take to the popular Avenida Paulista. My brother and I opted to walk there and take in the sights, and an hour later we were enjoying a Japanese museum with lots of bamboo.
Now before coming I knew that Sao Paulo was supposed to be the largest community of Japanese outside Japan, but for the first thing for me to experience was a musuem of Japanese art, Mitsubushi propaganda, and woven bamboo took me back a bit.
We traveled onward, enjoying the beautiful street art that covered entire sides and local street entertainers painted as clowns. After relaxing in the park, we decided to amp up our next ambitions and walk to Liberdade- the Japanese neighborhood. Perfect place for the Freeman brothers! The ambition part was that my cell phone had no battery and had to rely on our limited Portuguese to navigate ourselves there. An hour or so later we arrived, and I tried inquiring about the Daoist Society I wanted to check out. No one had heard of it, and my cell phone didn’t have enough battery to look up the address. We gave up and returned through the Metro to my cousins, only to discover we were only 100 meters away from the destination! Exhausted, it was for the best that Fate didn’t guide us there. We rested up for an early rise to check out the beautiful Ibirapuera park.
The park is often compared to Central park, and it was the perfect place to do some morning Qi Gong. The modern art museum is truly recommended, they had an an interesting exhibit designed to change the way you approach food- there was even staff that would perform a shamanic egg healing! Stuart was not up for this experiment, so I let myself gladly be the subject as the xama traced the egg around my channels to suck up all the bad energy, stress, tension, and worries. The ritual is finished by breathing out three times the rest of your struggles into the egg, and the egg is thrown away not fit for consumption!
The Afro-brazilian museum was also wonderful, with the layout being pretty unconventional as far as buildings go. They let us take pictures so you can see some of the pieces on display on my instagram.
Next we took a bus up to the center of town to get an Eagle’s eye view of the city. I nodded off half way through the bus ride and when I came back to my senses we were a few stops later, but I saw on the map a place called “Jardim do Luz” and knew where I was headed first!
To our pleasant surprise there was a cave! A cave within the light…doesn’t get better than that. The vibes of the cave were pretty awesome and in the center there you can see a natural sort of stalagmite altar, I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s looked at it this way.
After heading up to the highest point in the city and having some champagne, we go to the Mercado Municipal-famous for its giant meat sandwiches and hundreds of market stalls.
From there we walked south back to Liberdade to re-find that Daoist Society. Even when the Mercado was closing down, the rest of the city was coming alive with lots of hustle and bustle of street vendors opening up. We came across a magnificent cathedral that towered up into the night sky, all under the Full Moon of course.
We make it to the Daoist Society and they are very happy to allow us to join their Baquazhang class. After a good warming up and moving my shoulders in ways I didn’t know they could, we learned Circle Walking and the first Trigram Palm Strike: Earth- Embracing the Moon. Its a pure Yin palm and was perfect for the atmosphere of the trip and my own growth in learning to let go and surrender to the beauty of each moment. I applied this while eating dinner with my cousins that night, appreciating their company for what it was despite our language barriers.
The next day our cousins had gotten tickets to us for the 20th annual Festa do Japao. Hah! A year ago I was in Japan learning Capoeira, a Brazilian art, and now here I am in Brasil spending a day immersed in Japan! I was in a very playful mood as I spoke Japanese with some of the calligraphy presenters, and enjoyed an Okonomiyaki that was nowhere near as good as my host mother’s! Watching Aikido, listening to Taiko drums, and painting bamboo… what a surreal day!
We finished our trip leisurely exploring some more of the city, and seeing that cathedral in the daytime (this time with a political protest added in at no cost!)
My brother was at that end of the trip “ah, well now that was well and good. I’m glad I got to reflect and explore, but now I’m ready to go home and live the rest of my life!” I am truly grateful for the time I got to spend with him. I had been looking forward to it for so long, and now that it’s passed by what seems from this moment a blink of the eye… Saudade. A word worth committing to heart, as I’m sure your heart knows the feeling better than any words can describe.
Until next time, brother.