We made it safely to São Paulo, arriving early in the morning. After grabbing our luggage and getting past customs, we herded ourselves onto our coach and headed to our hotel.
Our guide for our stay is Edith, a São Paulo native (Paulista) of Romanian descent. She gave us a run down of the history of the city, as we passed through the centre of town. For a morning run, the traffic wasn't as bad as we had expected. Soon we were at our hotel, looking out over the hundreds of towers that define the skyline.
I was desperate for coffee and to get my bearings I headed on a brief walk around the block and found a tiny café that served espresso (cafezinho), which is an integral part of Brazilian culture. The local custom is to drink it with sugar, which softens the hit of the caffeine. It's very good stuff.
The day was scheduled as a rest day, but we had plans to get as much Paulista culture in as possible. A group of us then organised an afternoon trip to the art gallery, which to our amazement housed an incredible collection of European masters (Including 4 Van Goghs, a Rubens and a Titian), along with works from Brazilian artists from throughout the country's history.
After a long walk through the residential and shopping area of Jardin Americas, we headed back to the hotel and got ready for dinner, a Churrasco restaurant, where seemingly endless amounts of meat were brought to us until we could eat no more.
But there was no time for food comas, as we had a game to catch. São Paulo FC had a Copa do Brasil game at the nearby Pacaembu stadium, and what's a trip to Brazil without seeing the beautiful game of football? It was incredible, the atmosphere of the crowd and the quality of the teams. The best part was, São Paulo beat CRB 3-0 to advance to the next round.
We finally got back to the hotel after midnight and collapsed into bed. It's a 6am start today for company visits, but we're energised and ready. This is how we SMU MBAs "rest".