COM OS PAULISTOS
(For my friends here, especially M)
January and 32 degrees of heat
Everyone noticeably more tanned than me
Energy and colour still the same in San Paulo
Traffic still crazy
People still friendly
Now the place is familiar and the rhythm is right.
I have the same driver at the airport, Elaine
She greets me with a big smile
We hug and make the pact:
To rendezvous on time for the journey back in three days time
I know where I am are going
Into the Hilton at 8am and the Bell Boy organises a coffee
It arrives before you have finished checking in
Service and miles my home for three days
Glass marble and pale pale wood
Chocolates from the manager
Across the plaza from the hotel and into the office
A second home for the duration
Energy and heat and wonderful women
Brazil so famous for fabulous womanhood
Travel the greatest privilege, the work there too
Be grateful for only the minutes or hours you have to step out
To soak up the culture
Travelling is being open and appreciative.
Can there be a better evening than in the company of a friend?
The best of warm conversation
Just two bars full of Paulistos,
In both I am the only gringo in the Mercearia and Posto Seis
M and I talk of work, talk of history and culture,
I hear about Luiz de Camões,
His book Os Lusíadas
Learning that Portuguese was born out of Spanish
That the former can understand the latter but not the other way around
Discovering how big and beautiful this country really is
Travel is learning.
In each and every bar the same energy, People out talking, enjoying the warm summer evening,
Music, music oozing out of every pore
Brazilian beer and small side dishes
Sustenance as substantive as any banquet
Flavoured and garnished with laughter and conversation
Oh lucky traveller.
Thank you M.
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