Saturday, October 29, 2011

An Adventure in Ibirapuera Park

Today Ryan and I went on an adventure to Ibirapuera park, Sao Paulo's version of Central Park. I will admit that I have not spent much time in Central Park, mostly because my three trips to NYC were during the winter months, but Ibirapuera is a great park. Despite not being able to draw comparisons to our famous park in the U.S., I was able to enjoy the park, the museums, and the sites and sounds that come with them.

Today, I came, I saw, I conquered Ibirapuera Park. (and this lion)
A 2 mile walk from the hustle and bustle of the retail shops that line my Jardins neighborhood, Ryan and I were almost to the entrance. Suddenly, we heard "Hey Tyler" from a passing car and I turned and realized it was Bernard (remember the "Great Bernardo" from an earlier blog post?), Valerio's (CEO of Tecno Logys) son. He stopped at a light so we chatted with him as he was on his way to his University and then off to his game. In a city of 18 million people, I randomly ran into one I knew. After a few more meters of walking, we arrived at the entrance of the park which is marked by a large monument, Monumento às Bandeiras.

Monumento as Bandeiras at the entrance to Ibirapuera Park, Sao Paulo
The Monumento as Bandeiras,  is a granite sculpture, fifty feet long and sixteen high. It was inaugurated in 1954, along with the Ibirapuera Park for the annual Fourth Centenary of the city of Sao Paulo.The work represents the pioneers, exposing its diverse ethnic groups and the effort to tame the country. Continuing around the large lake or reservoir, there were many juice and food vendors lining the road where many bikers, runners, and other exercising Paulistas were. There were many soccer and basketball games going on and also some volleyball. On the other side of the athletic courts is the Grande Marquise, which houses the acclaimed museum, the Musue de Arte Moderna ("MAM").

Inside the MAM, there were many exhibits on display ranging from paintings, abstract videos, an electric powered train that played music, a Volkswagen Van lined in art, and things made from bottle caps. My favorite exhibition was the Jack Pound Project. The work is entitled ‘Jack Pound Financial Art Project’ and was created by Latin American artist Lourival Cuquinha in London, between 2008 and 2009. All made with authentic British money bills, the main piece has already proved to be highly lucrative. He sewed together, a total of £ 1,000 in bills reproduce Saint Georges Cross, the classic shape on the flag of England. Behind the aesthetically astonishing result, Cuquinha has led a network of investors who co-authored the art piece back in 2008. At that stage, each of the 42 investors acquired shares of his ‘financial art’ project by investing £5 and £10 money bills that have been used as the main material for half of the flag. The other half was made with the earnings of the artist while doing a typical immigrant job in London as a rickshaw rider.‘The idea came from an article he read in ‘The Sun’ saying that most English people wouldn’t realize if £ 1,000 disappeared from their bank accounts. Therefore, the concept brings together two pillars of British economy: speculation and immigrant work’, says Cuquinha, who had all his project’s shares sold off in less than one month. Not least, some were quickly resold for up to four times their original value, putting the flag’s price up and making its commercial value crystal clear.

The artist holding the flag.

After leaving the MAM, we visited was the Museu Afro Brasil. The museum houses a collection of approximately 4,000 works, including paintings, sculptures, prints, photographs, documents and ethnological pieces of Brazilian and foreign authors, produced between the fifteenth century and today. The collection encompasses several facets of the cultural worlds of Africa and African-Brazilian themes such as religion, work, art, the African diaspora and slavery, and recording the history and the historical construction of African influences in Brazilian society. The museum also offers educational and cultural activities, temporary exhibitions, a theater and has a specialized library.

After leaving the museum, we also visited the other attractions of the park which included the Cicillo Matarazzo Pavilion, the Manoel da Nóbrega Pavilion, the Lucas Nogueira Garcez Pavilion, the Armando de Arruda Pereira Pavilion, the Palácio da Agricultura, the Planetarium and Municipal Astrophysics School, the Gymnasium, the Japanese Pavilion, the Ibirapuera Auditorium, the Obelisk of São Paulo, the Bienial Pavilion, and a statue of Pedro Alvares Cabral.

The Obelisk of São Paulo
Leaving the park we also saw the fountains and a pedestrian bridge that crossed a narrow part of the reservoir. We left the park and headed back up the avenue to Oscar Frier to grab lunch at Radio Cafe. A few notable items that made its part of the day included losing the tread on my running shoe which means with all the food and caipirinhas I might gain a few pounds in the next 3 weeks. I also met a women in the elevator who recognized my Brutus the Buckeye Tee Shirt and mentioned she and her husband who now live in Iowa, used to live outside of Dayton. Another example (Remember the lady who was one of Valerio's business partners attended school in Ohio?) of a small world, in a city of 18 million people, two people who lived in Ohio are now 5,000 miles away from Ohio and have hotel rooms next to each other. Also, when I went to buy a 10L jug of water for my hotel room, the price had recently gone up from $12.20 to $13.50. This is a prime example of supply and demand, since finding this size of water supply, I and the rest of TimeIrado have frequently bought out the local store supply. They also had about a half dozen jugs whereas they normally only carried two or three.


That is my day in review, and now its off to dinner and then heading to a local watering hole, O'Malley's, to watch the Ohio State Buckeyes take on Wisconsin. Its a 10p kickoff here in Sao Paulo and the place has a $30 cover charge tonight, but I bleed Scarlet and Grey, so win or lose, I'm a Buckeye.

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