After four days in dazzling Rio, we took a short flight south to São Paulo, Brazil’s largest city.
We flew out of the Santos Dumont Airport, the older of Rio’s two major airports, which is very close to the beaches and the city center.
At Dave Brinkley’s brilliant suggestion, before passing through security we stopped in the old airport terminal, to see the beautiful mural there, commemorating Brazil’s aviation history.
Alberto Santos-Dumont, for whom the old Rio airport is named, was Brazil’s equivalent to the Wright Brothers.
In fact, Brazilians insist that Dumont was actually the first person to successfully achieve sustained flight in a self-propelled airplane.
There is probably no way to resolve that debate — Dumont versus the Wright Brothers — but there is no denying Brazil’s enormous role in aviation history.
The aerial view of Rio, after taking off from Santos Dumont and banking south toward São Paulo, was unforgettable. This photo from the internet captures it quite well.
Our São Paulo Hosts: The Brothers Edmo & Edson, and Their Wives Patricia & Maria-Clara
We spent the weekend in São Paulo with Edmo (prounounced “edge-mo“), another of Dave Brinkley’s host family brothers from his days as a high school exchange student in Brazil, and Edmo’s wife Patricia.
Edmo and Patricia live in a spacious, quiet and beautifully decorated home in a modern, high-rise condominium building in São Paulo.
They have two young-adult children who live abroad, in Vancouver, British Columbia.
So, with space to spare, Edmo and Patricia warmly welcomed the four of us — the two Daves, plus Brian and Frank — into their home as guests for the weekend.
You may recall that Edson — Edmo’s brother — traveled with us down in Florianopolis, back at the beginning of our visit to Brazil.
You also might recall our description of Edson’s warmth and playfulness, and his devilish sense of humor.
We could not have hoped for a better guide to introduce us to Brazil.
And now, in São Paulo, a week later, we had the pleasure of meeting his brother Edmo.
Individually, each of these brothers is delightful — warm, easy-going and good-natured.
Together, the two of them are a riot.
Edmo and Edson share an easy rapport, not only with one another, but also with their exchange student brother, Dave Brinkley.
For their part, Patricia and Maria-Clara, the wives of Edmo and Edson, are the very archetypes of Brazilian womanhood: intelligent, strong, professionally accomplished, confident, and beautiful.
Think of this blog post as our thank-you note to Edmo & Patricia, and by Edson & Maria-Clara.
¡Agradecemos sinceramente, queridos amigos e amigas!
Feijoada – Brazil’s National Dish
On Saturday afternoon in São Paulo, Edmo and Patricia hosted a luncheon for us at a big, family-friendly athletic and social club where they have been members since their kids were small.
Anhembi Tênis Clube, as it is called in Portuguese, is quite an institution in its own right. It is a haven for middle class families in a nice, arboreal neighborhood in the heart of São Paulo.
The club reminded us of the Jewish Community Center in our home town of San Rafael, California, but it was three or four times larger.
On the sunny Saturday afternoon when we were there — early fall in Brazil — the huge facility was teeming with people of all ages, and all kinds of activity, social and athletic.
For us, the main event that day was the luncheon in the club’s restaurant. It is a tradition there on Saturdays to serve feijoada, Brazil’s national dish.
This luncheon was a very special gift to us from Edmo and Patricia.
Feijoada is a savory, slow-cooked dish featuring beans and various meats (mostly pork). It is usually accompanied with rice and vegetables and slices of orange.
Feijoada is said to have originated with African people who came to Brazil as slaves, up in the vicinity of Salvador on the northeast coast. Salvador was the capital city of Colonial Brazil and a center of the Portuguese slave trade.
In São Paulo, in the south of Brazil, feijoada is made with black beans; up north, they use kidney beans.
It is absolutely delicious and satisfying, the Brazilian equivalent of Irish stew.
We really enjoyed this very special Brazilian treat, in the warm company of our happy group, pictured here.
Saturday Night Fever, Brazil Style
On Saturday evening, Edmo and Patricia decided to order pizza for delivery. We all agreed we were happy to eat at home, after that huge, sumptuous feijoada luncheon.
Edson, a record collector and audiophile, brought over and set up his record player and speakers in a sitting room adjacent to the large living room.
He also brought along a large, diverse selection of Brazilian records from the 1960s and 1970s. These were original, vinyl LPs from back in the day.
One of Edson’s albums featured Brazilian songs by American singer Sarah Vaughn, recorded in Brazil with Brazilian musicians. It is brilliant. Here is a link to the recording.
Brazil has a rich treasure of popular music, some of which has found its way to our ears in the United States, including samba and bossa nova.
The rhythm of Brazilian music is unique and contagious, and the melodies are beautiful.
Patricia in particular loves to dance. She and Edmo make a gracious couple on the dance floor, as indeed they do in life.
Patricia also taught the two of us some basics of Brazilian-style dance.
The thumbnail pictures below capture a sense of the fun we had dancing after dinner, to the smooth sounds of Brazilian music.
¡Longos Brasil ao vivo!
Sunday Send-Off At Santos, The Port City
On Sunday morning, our whole group — Edmo and Patricia, Edson and Maria-Clara, Dave and David, and the two of us — piled into two cars, for a road trip down to the coast, to the Port of Santos.
São Paulo is only about 35 miles from Santos, but the drive involves a significant descent down from the higher elevation of São Paulo (about 2,500 feet) to Santos (at sea level).
There is an old highway and a new highway, but the new highway was blocked that day by a truck wreck, so we took the older road. It winds down the hill in a series of sharp hairpin turns that must be negotiated at low speeds. The views were gorgeous.
In Santos, we took a small ferry across an inland waterway to the port. The boat held only about a dozen cars. It was a short ride in the bright sun.
A few minutes after disembarking from the ferry, we parked at the cruise ship terminal, where our beautiful ship, the Rhapsody of the Seas, was docked.
There at the dock, we said goodbye to Edmo and Patricia, Edson and Maria-Clara, and Dave and David.
Oh, it was a sweet send-off!
This was not a final farewell to Brazil — our ship was scheduled to make several ports of call along the Brazilian coast — but it was the last we would see of our adopted Brazilian family, at least for now.