Ibirapuera Park …
Huge, scenic and decently maintained. While you do the 3Km walk to the park from the nearest Metro Station, you can note that this is a high-end neighborhood of Sao Paulo. Good roads, clean surroundings, nice houses, middle class and higher class locals Etc. I did not see any homeless folks around. Being a Sunday, there were a lot of families around. Kids playing, joggers (Quite a few very serious ones), pets … It was a sea of activity. There is a 6Km trail, a 3Km one and also a 1.5Km one. Whichever one takes your fancy … Also, there are decently maintained restrooms at various points. There was a pretty good Police presence as well.
Obviously, Brazilians are waaaayyy more active than Indians. I guess that would explain why India is where it is in Sports/Games and Brazil is where it is in Sports/Games. For E.g. I do not recall seeing many Brazilian fans of Indian Football/Soccer India is lucky that Cricket is played by so few Countries … Else, what happened in Hockey will repeat, I feel. We Indians should learn that Sports and Games are inherently physical and that nothing will happen without improving and focusing on that. Talent coupled with pot-bellies will only get you so far. Because training, sweating it out for hours and hours are not our thing … That is no “fun” … Look at Michael Phelps. He had God-given talent. He also slogged 8hr+ in the pool (8hr!!!) every day … He did not just depend on his talent. Would anyone begrudge his 23 (!!!) Olympic Gold medals?
1. Brazil has won Football World Cup, a record 5 times
2. Brazil has had an ATP World No:1 (Guga)
3. Brazil ranked 13th in 2016 Olympics Medal Count (19 medals)
4. Brazil is a superpower in Volleyball
People were playing Basketball, Volleyball, Soccer Etc. I even saw Badminton! There were Yoga classes and Dance classes going on at some places. There were exercise systems (Bars, Steps Etc.) set up at several points. Skateboarders, Rollerbladers and Bicyclists were all around. One can also notice a lot of picnickers and musicians … Oh man, what a snippet of Brazil the Ibirapuera Park was.
I had initially thought of skipping the visit to Ibirapuera Park and instead watch Spain-Russia WC2018 game. But because: (1) Sitting in a Hotel room and being a Couch-Potato while on Travel is not my thing (2) I had zero hope of anything interesting Russia would do against Spain (13:00: During a pit-stop for lunch, Spain-Russia 1-1. What!!?? 13:40: Penalty Shootout. Spain blinks first!), I decided to make the visit. I am glad I did. In many ways, it is a lesson to many countries (I am looking at you, India By the way, there are areas of Sao Paulo with significant trash on the roads. In a way it is even worse than Indian situation because here there are dustbins/wastebaskets everywhere and people still throw trash on the streets?) on how to run Public Parks. Along with the typical “Tourist Attractions”, elements like Cuisine, Culture, How people go about their daily lives Etc. interest me very much … Travel should not all be about Selfies and Beaten-to-death Touristy spots … If I ask all those “take-selfie-the-moment-my-hands-are-free” Tourists at Christ the Redeemer to speak for 20 minutes on Brazil, its history, its peculiarities Etc. How many can? I bet most of them would not even be able to recall who created Christ the Redeemer … When I visited Machu Picchu, I did spent time seeing and photographing all the views and sights, but more importantly (for me), I spent countless hours discussing with Neysar and other Guides about their Families, their Hobbies, how they picked this Career, how they learned English, interesting stories from their Career, Politics in Peru, Sports in Peru Etc. I have ample knowledge of Peru from my self-research, but nothing beats local insight … Well, I guess, I am “different”.