Thursday, June 18, 2015

Day Ten – Football Museum at Pacaembu and Pinheiros Club

Our tour guide, Paulo, led us to the Football Museum at Pacaembu Stadium.  This museum was extremely well put together and set under the stadium that fits about 40,000 fans.  We each were given an English speaking headset/tour guide that walked us through what was occurring in each room as we entered the room number.  I bought a small gift in the gift shop for my dad (he’s a soccer referee in the US) before exiting the building.  Once everyone was done with their tour, we headed into the little market that was across the street from the museum.  There we had a chance to try sugar can juice.  I was a little unsure at first, but mixing the sugar cane juice with fresh strawberries came out with the most delicious concoction!  It was amazing…I’m so glad I tried it!  It was even more fun seeing the vendor make the juice right in front of us, feeding the sugar cane into the machine and seeing the juice come out of the front of it.

After everyone (who wanted one) had gotten a drink, we headed back up to the museum.  We were a little short on time, so we decided to each lunch at the restaurant attached to the museum that had a buffet available.  Lunch was mediocre, but at least it perked us up a little bit!
After lunch we headed over to meet Dr. Valdir at Pinheiros Club.  He’s a member of the Club and had arranged to give us a tour of the club.  I hadn’t expected it to be as immensely big as it was; I feel like you need a map on every corner to find your way around!  Pinheiros is literally in the middle of Sao Paulo, surrounded by skyscrapers and some heavily-trafficked streets.  However, once you’re inside, you feel like you’re in a separate world.  Dr. Valdir took us through the different sports arenas that are available to the ~38,000 club members including (but not limited to) track and field, swimming, basketball, volleyball, handball, water polo, gymnastics, and tennis.  The club also features quite a few restaurants and social centers.  Surprisingly, the cost is only $100/month/member, but that usually doesn’t include the cost to play sports such as tennis, which he said he pays an additional $15/month for, which includes the fee for a locker and tennis balls.  Before we left, Dr. Valdir took us through the museum within the club which features Olympic/Pan-American accomplishments of its members, including a touch screen of Valdir’s winnings in his multiple Pan-American games.  This club was a true representation of how much Brazilians have melded sport and exercise in their culture; it made me wonder what the US would be like if we did the same. 


We were dropped back off at the hotel later that evening (around 7pm) and Jamie, Matt, and I decided to go out and find some local food for our last night in Sao Paulo.  Matt did some searching on TripAdvisor and found a new and very popular restaurant called Sancho Bar and Tapas.  We hailed a cab, and 20 minutes later (including some English/Spanish confusion with the taxi driver), arrived at the restaurant.  It was around 9p, so the restaurant was packed, but we were lucky and they were able to seat the three of us in about 20 minutes.  Now…when we Americans think Tapas, we think small plates, so Matt ordered six plates for the three of us to share.  Apparently Brazilians don’t have the same take, as we ended up with WAY too much food, but BOY was it delicious!  We had a “mix de croquetas”, which was croquettes with varying fillings including spinach, cheese, and chicken.  After that, we were delivered the “tortilla patatas com espinica”, which was a circular egg quiche filled with spinach (I think this one was our least favorite).  We also ordered the “Del Mar Paella” which was paella mixed with shrimp, mussels, and a bunch of other seafood.  I was happy when it arrived that it wasn’t overly spicy (hot), but still extremely flavorful.  We ended the meal with a few other dishes (we were out of table space at this point), that weren’t really worth remembering.  However, the drinks and the food were both very good!
The three of us headed back to the hotel after dinner and headed to bed, looking forward to our trip to Rio the following afternoon.

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