The Key To Feeling At Home In Sao Paulo

It’s been 11 months of travel, we land in the 11th country on our year long adventure around the world. It’s our first time visiting this metropolis, the largest city in South America and one of the largest in the world. The journey from Iguazu was exhausting and all we want is food, an açaí bowl or pão de queijo, and to crash into our hostel bunks.

IMG_5867Seeking refuge from the mosquitos in our 11 person hostel dorm room

The streets of São Paulo are tame, a ghost town compared to what it will feel like in a few weeks for Carnival. Alas, it’s Christmas Day so our chances of finding an open supermarket or even a restaurant to splurge on are slim. As we roam the graffiti lined streets of Vila Madalena our hopes get dimmer and dimmer.

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We see a couple, a rare site on this quiet day, and smile politely. We continue exploring as my hanger builds.

The streets of this hipster neighborhood must be intertwined because a few minutes later we cross paths with the same couple. This time we stop them midway to beg, “food please?”

Together, like a pack of wolves, the 4 of us continue the hunt. Finally, we find an open place! The food is good, the company even better.

IMG_5268All smiles after a delicious lunch with new friends

We hit it off with these welcoming Brazilians and neither of us want our impromptu lunch date to end. They invite us, strangers turned sudden friends, to their apartment for tea and tunes. Talented musicians, they serenade us with guitars and folkloric forró.

They dream of leaving Brazil to travel the world and our chance encounter feels like a setup by the Candomblé gods.

IMG_6236Andres drums along to their beautiful singing and guitar strumming

We are in São Paulo for a week but tomorrow they will venture to north Brazil. Now the time has come to say goodbye. The realization sets in that we may never see our new friends again. Unexpectedly, they grab my hand and slip something through my fingers.

It’s the keys to their apartment.

“Stay here this week,” they say. “Feel at home in our home.”

Suddenly this gloomy day has transformed into a moment that not even an Instagram post can capture. From strangers to lunch dates to musical accomplices to handing over the keys of your apartment to someone you’ve only known a few hours…

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As we return home after 365 days on the road and people ask the much anticipated “what was your favorite thing on the trip?” of course we remember the breathtaking Himalayas in Nepal and the lush green rice fields in Bali. But at the core of our journey, the memories that will live within us forever are the local connections we made, like this special Brazilian duo that let us share a part of their world.

*After Christmas day we got to do a little more exploring of the city*

IMG_6296I finally got my delicious açaí bowl topped with banana and granola

IMG_6240Strange fruits for sale on the streets of Sao Paulo

IMG_6283I finally found a shower!

IMG_5291With Misha and his family. A friend of Andres’ from when he lived in Israel 10 years ago!

FullSizeRender 12With Misha and his family. A friend of Andres’ from when he lived in Israel 10 years ago!

IMG_5942Lunch at a government funded eatery, costing 5 reals per meal

IMG_5862Spotted: Mr. Miyagi on the Sao Paulo subaway

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