Arriving in Sau Paulo was a complete change of scenery. I've never seen a city skyline quite like it. I really shouldn't even call it a skyline. It was more like a city horizon. It stretched on in either direction with endless skyscrapers. No center. No taller or more clustered looking area; just an endless horizon of buildings. Once into the city it only got more congested. Streets curve, go up, down; cars zoom in and out of lanes and finding anything green seemed nearly impossible. I admit, it was a bit saddening for this country girl. How can you have such a beautiful country--all that I had seen only hours before--and then surround yourself in such a concrete jungle? (as someone in Rio had referred to it.) I suppose, as said plenty of times before, it's just the country girl coming out in me.
Gui was already gone to his night event when we arrived at the Santo Andre bus station, so his kind, kind mother was picking us up who knows very little English. That did not matter, though, as she greeted us with open arms and a smile that no one could mistake for the smile she passed on to her son. She had the house all ready for us--each with a bed and a towel waiting and some food snacks--bread, bread bread! One thing they love here in Brazil. (not to mention the cheese...)
Tonight, as tired as we were, we attended the awards ceremony Gui was hosting/working. It was the "NBB" (Brazil's NBA) championship awards ceremony. The final games were the reason Gui was not able to spend more time with us in Rio--as the Media Relations manager for the NBB he had a lot going on. It was interesting to watch the awards being given out--keep in mind that soccer rules all in Brazil, so basketball isn't quite the hot commodity that it is in the U.S. so you don't have to blow this party out of proportion in your mind. It was also cool to see Gui the "working man". It's pretty incredible to be here visiting him in his regular real life seven years after he came to Casey County as a simple high school student. I see this life that he lives in a go-go-go, cram-packed city and I can't help but ask myself, "What in the world did he think when he arrived in Casey County and how did he come to love a lifestyle and a people so different from the one of his own?" I suppose it goes to show that there is something priceless about the love of a small town and the bonded community that makes it up.