Sunday, August 10, 2014

Brazil 2014 - Day 8 (6/20/2014) - São Paulo to Cuiabá

Having reached the midpoint of our trip, some laundering of clothes was in order.  Luckily, there was a cleaner just across the street from our hotel.  We went there after a relatively early breakfast to inquire about pricing (R$40 for 5 kg - we ended up paying R$49) and timing (4 hours for wash and dry).  Finding things agreeable, we returned to the room to bag up our dirty clothes and pack our bags.  After checking out and stowing our bags, we dropped off our laundry and then started walking over to the city center around 9:00.

We walked around the city center for a while, and our main (and first) stop was Edifício Altino Arantes (Altino Arantes Building), formerly known as Banespa.  After getting through a short but slow queue (they only allow up about 6 at a time) and having to provide ID and check my backpack, we we took 2 elevators and 2 flights of stairs to the 34th floor 360 degree observation walkway.  Guests only have 5 minutes at the top.  It's a fairly efficient operation, and the view is definitely worth the price of free.  We also stopped at a historic monastery that had some displays concerning the church and football.

We next walked over to the Luz metro station and took the yellow line to the green line, and took that a couple of stops down.  We got off and walked down to Beco do Batman and Beco do Aprendiz, a couple of alleys that are completely covered in street art.  It turned out to exceed my expectations, as I anticipated seeing more random graffiti than art.  The area in general also has quite a bit of street art on many walls and buildings.

After the street art, we walked over to GOA, a vegetarian restaurant.  It is set up with daily menus that give patrons a choice of appetizer (on this day a soup or a salad), a main course (veggie "hamburger", couscous, or pasta), dessert (chocolate or fruit pudding/moose) and juice (watermelon, mixes, or chá).  We actually each got both the soup and salad, while Raj got the hamburger and I the couscous.  We also split the two dessert options, and I tried the first 2 juice options.  The were pretty liberal with what they allowed you to get (a guy at a table next to us got 2 mains), which was pretty great.  The food was also pretty good for the most part, especially the mains.

Next we headed to the Museu do Futebol, which is in one of the local stadiums.  The exhibits were kind of hit or miss for me, but there were more of them than I expected.  And at R$6 I couldn't complain much about the price.  From there we walked back to the cleaner to pick up our laundry, which we then packed in our bags that we retrieved from the hotel.  It was around 6:30 at this time so after a brief sit we walked over to Praça Republica to arrange to take the express bus to the airport.  We bought tickets for the 7:20 shuttle then walked to a nearby Casa do Pao de Quiejo for a quick and light dinner of grilled cheese sandwiches (and a brownie).  The shuttle provided WiFi and streamed the World Cup game between Ecuador and Honduras.  We arrived a little early for our 9:35 flight, and had no issues getting to Cuiabá.

In Cuiabá, we took a taxi from the airport to the Abudi Hotel.  The airport taxis work on a formula-determined price that is prepaid at the taxi desk.  We checked into the hotel around midnight local time.

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