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4 Weeks on the Road and Another Painful Goodbye in São Paulo

You’ll find me smiling and laughing in São Paulo but you’ll find me crying as well.

It depends.

São Paulo is usually our gateway to Brazil, the city where summer and the adventure start. I love São Paulo. It’s a fascinating humongous maze to explore with an open mind—you will always end up finding things you didn’t even know you wanted to see or experience.

But I also cry a lot in São Paulo because this is where the adventure eventually ends.

Feng and Mark boarded their flight to Canada an hour ago. I didn’t join them, which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who has been reading this blog for a little while or checking the weather forecast in Ottawa.

I love Mark and Feng. I don’t particularly want to be or travel alone. However, I don’t want to be in Ottawa for many, many reasons including winter, being stuck at home without much purpose and the cost of living. Mark has to go to school and Feng can’t travel as long for various reasons. There’s no perfect place or solution for the three of us. Trust me, we’ve tried to solve this one. This is what happens when China meets France and they raise a dragon in Canada.

We flew from Florianópolis to São Paulo on Friday. On the last night, we gave the three pillows to people sleeping in the street and we abandoned Mark’s bodyboard and football in a park. Not only we were sad to leave our happy place in Brazil but we were also fully aware that we only had two full days left together. We packed, we didn’t sleep enough and we were all moody for obvious reasons.

It was dark and rainy when we landed in São Paulo at 3:35 p.m. We were confident this was just one of these São Paulo thunderstorms and that it would eventually clear up but it didn’t—it poured all afternoon, all evening and all night. This is the worst version of São Paulo you can ever have. Streets are flooded and dirty, Paulistas are in a bad mood and you can’t go anywhere without getting hopelessly soaked.

I got a haircut because my favourite hair salon in São Paulo was on the same street as our Airbnb. We went grocery shopping, then I discovered I would have to cook eggs in a pot because our Airbnb didn’t have a frying pan. We couldn’t figure out how to master the washing machine either. Yeah, not the best day.

It was cloudy and cool on Saturday but at least it wasn’t raining. We went for a long, long walk through Centro and Little Tokyo and we came back with two small statues (for Feng’s parents), a green-and-yellow beaded crocodile keychain (I tied it to Mark’s hoodie zipper and he pretended it was a unique Lacoste), a pair of shoes for Mark, a pack of Pokémon cards, pão de queijo and two carolinas (choux pastries filled with chocolate or whatever), bananas and a slice of watermelon—in other words, a typical walk through a couple of São Paulo neighbourhoods.

Then we packed. Kind of. Feng offered what he didn’t feel like bringing back to Canada so feel free to reach out to me if you need bandages, Purell or Advil, I have plenty.

Then we slept. Kind of.

And then next thing you know it was Sunday and we only had hours left together. The guys took the usual 9:20 p.m. Air Canada flight to Toronto and again, as usual, we headed to Paulista Avenue to kill a few hours. Paulista is fun on Sunday. It was hot again, 32°C, and for three hours we pretended it was just another typical São Paulo Sunday. I mean, it was for everyone except for us.

I watched them pack while cooking my dinner—fried eggs in a pot again, I’m getting good at this!

We barely had time to say goodbye because I called an Uber and it arrived quickly. It’s probably better this way, the three of us suck at saying goodbye. Being suddenly alone in São Paulo is painful—I see Mark and Feng everywhere. Damn. I’m paying back all the times I’m the one who leaves. Staying behind hurt.

They called me from the airport, just before boarding. Apparently I bought “good” Pokémon cards and the waiting area at the gate was very quiet.

I have to pack, I’m leaving tomorrow morning.

I have a plan. Kind of.

I hope I’m strong enough to travel alone.

GOL G3 1204 Florianópolis (FLN) to São Paulo
GOL G3 1204 Florianópolis (FLN) to São Paulo
GOL G3 1204 Florianópolis (FLN) to São Paulo
GOL G3 1204 Florianópolis (FLN) to São Paulo
GOL G3 1204 Florianópolis (FLN) to São Paulo
GOL G3 1204 Florianópolis (FLN) to São Paulo
Aeroporto Internacional de Guarulhos (GRU)
Aeroporto Internacional de Guarulhos (GRU)
Last selfie on Avenida Paulista a couple of hours before the guy's flight to Canada
Last selfie on Avenida Paulista a couple of hours before the guy’s flight to Canada
Packing in the first Florianópolis Airbnb
Packing in the first Florianópolis Airbnb
Packing in the second Florianópolis Airbnb
Packing in the second Florianópolis Airbnb
Packing in the third Florianópolis Airbnb
Packing in the third Florianópolis Airbnb
Packing in the Pôrto Belo Airbnb
Packing in the Pôrto Belo Airbnb
Packing in the Bombinhas Airbnb
Packing in the Bombinhas Airbnb
Packing in the last Florianópolis Airbnb
Packing in the last Florianópolis Airbnb
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Zhu

French woman in English Canada.

Exploring the world with my camera since 1999, translating sentences for a living, writing stories that may or may not get attention.

Firm believer that nobody is normal... and it’s better this way.

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