08 january Fiumicino (ITALY)

A month ago, while we were having lunch at Nick's suddenly the phone rings... it was his relatives from Brazil who called to say hi to these cousins they had never met...

I soon suggest... "Let's go and meet them"..

And here we are now, waiting our Air France flight to Sao Paulo.

A new adventure is about to begin!

In Paris we almost miss our flight because ground assistants begin to strike because they are cold...

Luckily we manage just on time to board on our Boeing 777 headed to South America...

09 january Guarulhos (BRASIL)

Nicolina, Pietro and his son Giuseppe comes to pick us up. They will be the first of a long and wonderful list of Nick's relatives.

Our tour starts: we visit several houses, aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews and everywhere kisses, hugs, glossy eyes, cakes, drinks... Long chats in Portuguese... They are all very happy... I can read by their eyes!

10 january Sao Paulo (BRASIL)

As soon as we wake up we meet Veronica and Fernanda waiting for us for a quick visit to the immense city of Sao Paulo!

It counts about 20 million people... 1/3 of the population of Italy!

We visit the "Mercado Municipal"; it's so cool to look at the stalls that were selling the multicolored tropical fruits, so beautiful and shiny that seemed fake!

We chat with a seller: Francisco, who as soon as heard that we were Italian, son of immigrants from Calabria, starts to make us taste all the different fruits! Colombian maracuja, mango, papaya, lixia, ground bananas, giants cherries... All delicious!

We eat the specialty of the place: "bolinho de Bacalhau", a fried mixture of salt cod, potatoes and parsley. "Ma-ra-vi-lho-so!"

We reach the cathedral and the Bovespa. The stock market in Brazil. After the Hang Seng in Hong Kong here we are again in the financial heart of a Country!
We even get in a dedicated space for visitors and once again the warmth and friendliness of these people impresses us!

It's too hot outside. The thermometer marks 31°! We need a cool Caipirinha at the "Salve Jorge" while I taste a good milk shake "abacaxi and hortelà" (pineapple and mint), with a group that welcomes us playing romantic carioca melodies!

Crossing the Avenida Paulista, which is the main road, we stop at "Bolinha", a delightful restaurant whose specialty is the "fajolada", a bean soup with sausages, pork fat, offal and various other stuff...

Chatting I discover that Sao Paulo has three football teams pretty important: Palmeiras, Sao Paulo and Corinthias, this last one is the same that has just purchased the phenomenon Ronaldo!

Finally, after a long walk in Ibirapuera Park, we conclude the day at home with lots of relatives between a pizza and a song by Domenico Modugno or Claudio Villa.

What wonderful people. Most of them have never been to Italy, some do not even have a clear idea of the geography of our Country but they all admire with nostalgia that little "boot"... who knows what they feel when they think that all their ancestors have lived in a such far away land...


Some has postcards framed of Rome or Catanzaro exposed along the corridors of the house, or the Italian flag sticker next to the car plate, or the key holder shaped like a boot....

Among their CD collection there is not samba but they have an old Modugno and Villa, it seems that their musical time has stopped in 1956 when aunt Rosina, her husband and some son, with cardboard suitcases, have landed in this distant land!
Migrants in search of luck!

11 january Sao Paulo (BRASIL)

 

Veronica and Fernanda bring us to the Japanese area with its "Praça da libertad!" this morning.

We have been strolling around the pleasant market while Veronica was telling me of the problems in this city, first of all: the drugs. It's very cheap to buy a gram of cocaine, it costs just 10 real (about 3 euros) and it is very widespread, and she, nurse, has to see so many bad things...

Lunch at Salvatore's.

Lunch as the most traditional Calabrian way. Great table and I, as a spectator, was impressed by the spirit that united all those people who already began to enter my heart.

The light that was shining in their eyes, the shimmering, those tears that often descended down, the memories that filled the table and were often followed by moments of silence with lost glances...

12 january Sao Paulo (BRASIL)


Theft: every building here has guards operating 24/7, double entrance gate (like the bank), videocameras in various strategic points of the building that you can even monitor directly comfortably seated in the armchair in front of your television!

We meet Leandro (another relative) who works as a detective even if he seems everything but a policeman! He seems a narco. Gold chains around his neck, a gun on the belt, another attached to the calf, tattoos... He explained that he must wear in that way for camouflage among the people...

In the evening, while I was walking along the main street of Guarulhos, I have been literally sucked from the music that came from a room...

I am curious and I enter. I see faces of about fifty people of all ages who were singing hymns to God! It was an Evangelical church. The attendant asks me to enter and introduces myself many pastors. I am enchanted by the harmony that reigned there. They explain me that is their "way of praying to cheer the Lord" (words text).
On the way home I reflected: "What's the use of those boring and monotone messes in Italy? Those boring and pathetic sermons when you can pray jumping, shouting and singing... I saw those children who danced and sang and entertained... I'm sure no one was forced to stay there "...


After a tropical dinner with lixia, maracuja, pine cone we prepare for departure: tomorrow we go to Rio de Janeiro!

 

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