Tuesday, November 22, 2016
We wisely took a cab to the Praça do Relogio (the first driver we asked didn’t know where it was, the second did) on the USP (University of São Paulo) campus. I wanted to go there because I had read that it’s a large park containing species from all six ecosystems in the state of São Paulo. It was kind of a disappointment. For one thing, we couldn’t find all the ecosystems which are not marked in any way.
The first thing we came to was a memorial to the students of USP who had been persecuted and killed during the military dictatorship (1964-1985). I was glad to see this – in spite of the corruption scandals and upheaval the Brazilian government is going through now, at least there is the recognition that Brazilians died defending human rights and the democratic process.
We wandered through the nearly deserted park, seeing the occasional student crossing through, hearing the sound of a batucada being played by someone who repeated the same rhythms over and over – perhaps he was practicing for something – and taking pictures.
In spite of the park being deserted, evidently there were plenty of people around, as this full parking lot shows.
The clock is actually a cement tower carved with designs with a clock at the top, and standing in a circular pool of water, surrounded by a mosaic tiled walkway with words spelling out NO UNIVERSO DA CULTURA O CENTRO ESTÁ EM TODA PARTE. (In the Universe of Culture, the Center is Everywhere.)
We had to take a bus from there which would take us to the end of the yellow line subway station. It took a couple of inquiries and contradictory answers to figure out which bus stop and which bus. When the right bus came, it clicked: my GPS route had said take bus 8022-10, so when the bus bearing the number 8022 arrived, I figured it was the right one. The driver confirmed it.
It quickly filled with students and I paid the R$3.80 each to pass through the turnstile, even though we qualified as idosos – I wasn’t going to bother the driver by showing him our passports, which is what the money taker said to do. Soon we couldn’t see anything but the bodies and backpacks of students filling the aisle, crushing together.
Little by little, the students got off. It was obvious when we were no longer on the university campus, where there were several stops, and soon after that we arrived at the last stop – the subway station for the yellow line. Relief! After that, I knew exactly what to do: we rode the yellow line all the way to Luz, transferred to the blue line and got off at Vila Mariana.
That evening, we returned to Graça Mineira for dinner, where we ate a sinful dessert: There was a card on the table advertising some desserts and we ended up getting one to share – good thing, because it was big! It was a churro-like donut-shaped shell filled with doce de leite and ice cream on the side, and drizzled with chocolate sauce. It was yummy!