Mmmmmmm…..thinly sliced picanha, lightly salted, drizzled with lime and paired with grilled pineapple - a mouth watering combo! The palmitos (hearts of palm) and pão de queijo (cheese bread) to go with it - some of my Brazilian favorites! When the time and budget allows, the churrascarias never disappoint! Other times the empanadas, pastels and coxinhas are a quicker, more affordable alternative - palmitos and cheese are the desired filling. The fruit vendors at the São Paulo markets hustled a sample of every product they had - the Atemoya was delicious, very juicy and smooth, tasting slightly sweet and a little tart, reminiscent of a piña colada.
Samba reggae, samba pagode, classical samba - the collaboration of the band members, each with their unique instruments and style, is always an amazing experience to see live in a small venue. The audience is always involved, bringing energy and passion to this music that brings so much relaxation, encore por favor! Check out Natiruts’ performance atop Sugarloaf Mountain Rio de Janeiro…I heard covers of this song throughout my trip.
Brazilian culture delights the senses, from the sounds of the samba to the scents of the many delicious foods! The music, arts and futebol are some of the outlets that provide an escape from the reality of crime and poverty in this beautiful country. There is a unique motivation that comes from living in this dangerous reality - for many, these outlets are their only hope for a better life.
I was able to attend 5 league matches across 3 cities - the rivalries are serious! Away fans are isolated in their secure sections of the stadiums. The exchanges between these fans is hilarious, the hand gestures and expletives continue throughout the match! For the São Paulo vs Palmeiras derby, no away fans were allowed! In Porto Alegre, the city is divided between supporters of Grêmio (Gremistas) and Internacional (Colorados). In everyday conversations I would eventually ask which team the person supports, to which I would immediately get shown a tattoo of the club’s logo!
Internacional vs Flamengo at Estádio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre
Juventude vs Santos at Estádio Alfredo Jaconi, Caxias do Sul
Grêmio vs Sampaio Corrêa at Arena do Grêmio, Porto Alegre
Corinthians vs Goiás at Neo Química Arena, São Paulo
São Paulo FC vs Palmeiras at Estádio do Morumbi, São Paulo
In addition to these matches, I had the opportunity to observe youth training at the Grêmio Academy. This was a real learning experience to see the Brazilian coaching methods, and speak with directors at the academy. The Grêmio Academy is considered one of the most prolific football academies in Brazil, with the most players selected for senior teams.
Brasil, muito obrigado e até breve!