And all of a sudden, I landed in Sao Paulo

It’s been a while since I’ve shared stories of my journey through this increasingly complex ride down the river of life. I left you in the thick of the forests in Mysore, India, learning about the complex social world of Indian life. The year has been filled with teaming seeds of growth and difficulty as I forge into the world of image making and storytelling. I’ve had an opportunity to do amazing work from shooting Porsche to photographing Nobel Prize winners - and now I found myself on a Plane going to the great land of the Southern Hemisphere.

 

Sao Paulo is the largest city in the southern hemisphere. Take that in. It has 20,000,000 people in the Metro area. It makes you rethink the entire concept of cities, states and nations. Latin American cities always blow my mind with the sheer veracity of their existence. How much concrete, physical labour and organization did it take to create a network of spaces for 20,000,000 humans to live and die in? All contained within an area roughly 50 miles long and 50 miles wide …

So, here we are - Iza and Aaron, friends from childhood on the ride with me. We get an Uber from airport and begin weaving through the streets. I’ve been to Latin America many times, and I’ll always love the relative chaos of driving through the streets. It’s functionally the same as up here in Toronto, but it’s more like a dance - more spontaneous, and far less self-absorbed. When I go someplace new, where I don’t speak the language -  I always use the first taxi ride to awkwardly but with jolly fun explore the language by asking the driver all sorts of ridiculous questions. My ex-gf, Joni told me this story of super-white ginger kid who did this in Ecuador when she was there, and overtime he learned the language. Definitely a good skill. 


By the time I learned how to say Joao and obrigado, we pulled up to our hostel. Sweet loft. Shoes off. Bunk beds. Let the travel life begin. I’m sitting on the balcony, looking through the unfamiliar vegetation musing about the days to come. At first, I’m psychologically stuck in the remnants of North American life. I try my best to shake it and become a sponge. The sweet, humid air warms my skin - the beautiful people walking by inspire a smile on my face - the unmistakable rhythm of Latin music starts to become the beat of my heart. Slowly my mind slips into a different state of mind, one not mired by existential crisis or lingering anxiety. The fears and triumphs of my existence in Toronto start to become a smaller component of my identity … it’s strange how just being in an unfamiliar place can be the switch. I’ve been trying for many years to synthesize these two realities. No luck yet. Let’s see if we’ll get there this trip.

We all boot up for a walk around town, clueless about anything because we were all too busy to research any aspect of where we’re staying, but who cares - we’re in fucking Brazil. 


As you can see, it wasn’t sunny. This will come into play later. For now, we started wandering down one of the major streets in SP, Paulista avenue. What immediately stood out to me is the amount of pop-up shops - newspaper stands, art stands, bands playing, crazy religious marketing groups. That’s what happens when you have huge sidewalks. Huge sidewalks are prime real estate for esoteric presentations and products of all kinds. 

The night was coming, and we walked through this amazing illuminated mini-forest in the thick of some huge buildings. This was where I got my first glimpse of Brazilian love. Couples, of all genders and orientations littered the dimly lit mini-forest, just holding each other - grazing by each other’s’ faces and whispering sweet nothings into each other’s’ ears. 

The night winds down, and the light from the mini forest swells into us. We’re all feeling good. But it is still cloudy, and we didn’t come here to be under the clouds. 

Stay tuned, because this trip was a wild one, and I have lots more I’d love to share with you - if you’d like to see more of my travel work follow me on Instagram.

www.instagram.com/sociophilo. 


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