Mercado Municipal

It’s been almost two weeks since I left the United States to come to Sao Paulo, Brazil and I am already feeling like this is my home. But to be completely honest I think anywhere my husband is, is my home.

Arriving here last week I was not feeling well and it took me a good three days to shake this cold or jet lag or both. My husband spent the majority of those days working, while I was at home sleeping. And it wasn’t until the weekend that I had my first taste of São Paulo.

On Saturday my husband and I got up early to go meet a couple of friends of ours from Yale who are visiting São Paulo. We drove to the Mercado Municipal de São Paulo (Municipal Market of Sao Paulo), it is an indoor market full of vendors selling everything from fruit and cheeses, to meats and fish. It was Built in the 1930s, and it is a beautiful old building with skylights and stained-glass windows.  It is located in a part of town called 25 de Março (March 25th) which is named after one of the streets. This area is where you can buy anything you can think of for wholesale and in bulk.

As we reached the Mercado Municipal, after many wrong turns, there were swarms of people gathering. Unfortunately, this is not the nicest part of São Paulo so we also saw many homeless there as well. Walking up to the Mercado Municipal my husband explained that this was what Brazilians use to use as their central grocery at the turn of the century because there were not grocery stores, and today it continues to be the city’s largest food and produce market. As we walked around the market my senses were filled with the vast cornucopia of foods, the produce was fresh and the variety was astounding. The place was packed and it was difficult to walk around but looking around you could telling that people were enjoying themselves. I didn’t buy any fruit or meat because we were planning on visiting for a while and I wasn’t sure if it would keep but I did find some chipotle sauce as well as some tahine sauce to make some homemade Hummus.

For lunch we ate sanduiche de mortadela which was a sandwich overflowing with a salami, covered in cheese and smothered in mustard. Delicious! The sandwiches were so large when we were getting ready to leave a homeless man confessed to us that he drank his breakfast and was hungry so we gave him our leftovers. All in all it was a lovely day.

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8 thoughts on “Mercado Municipal

  1. Terea this is great. I think you should leave a word/phrase of the day to help us Northerners learn Portuguese so when we visit we will blend a little better. I am glad you found Tahine sauce I remember you looking at Wegmans before you left. Did you guys see hunger games yet? HB is almost done reading book one I am trying to decide if he would be ok watching the movie. I think he is doing a good ob keeping in a fantasy view point where I was torn up at most of the book. But seeing young people kill each other on screen might have a different effect. I hope you have a good day.
    Martha

    • I think thats a great idea! I will see what I can do;) As for Hunger games, yes we already saw it and I think it’s okay, the fighting scenes were not that graphic but again the concept is twisted. Hope you have a good day as well!
      T

  2. Ola Terea. Voce vai gostar muito de São Paulo. No inicio e dificil mas os brasileiros são abertos e convidativos. Uma nova vida familiar esta começando e as alegrias chegarão. Espere e vera!!!! felicidades bjs

  3. Terea, thanks for sharing your living experience. It has been great and interesting reading your blog. My husband got asked to go to SP for an assignment, after my last talk to a close friend and expat who lived in SP for 4 year from 2007-2010, I was quite discouraged. The main reason is safety. She had to drive a bullet proof car and live in a secured community and never take public transport or walk alone on the street. There were so many stories from friends of friends who got robbed and held at gun point etc.. I don’t know how I am going to live in a golden prison if all day I have to stay inside the gated community and not be able to walk freely with my small kids on the streets and enjoy the local vibes. I have lived in many countries and travelled to many countries but mainly North America, Europe and Asia and I can speak 5 languages , but not Portuguese. Your posting gave me a tinge of hope. It seems to me you are living and enjoying your life like a normal person in a normal city doing your daily a outs, such as walking to local markets, enjoying a walk in the park etc.. Would you be kind enough to give me an honest assessment on how an expat who doesn’t speak the language can live in SP ( such as taking kids to an international school, shopping, finding a helper, living with a helper, and going to a language school, or just walking around and exploring the city on your own if you do that at all, taking public transport, local taxis , fearing safety issues and current water shortage, going to a doc and getting away on the weekends ). Thanks a lot for your help!!!

    • Let me begin by saying that this is not the first time that these questions have been ask of me. I promise to answer them as honestly as I can but keep in mind that everyone’s experience here is SP is unique. First let me say that statistically Brazil is a very violent country with many crimes including robbery. I have had friends who had their car stolen at gun point, but no one got hurt. With that said I generally don’t walk around the city in a constant state of fear because of two reasons: 1) Because my husband is Brazilian he has a sense of what areas of the city are dangerous and which situations are potentially dangerous, for example, we went to Walmart this weekend and there were armed guards standing post while they refilled the ATM machines, he quickly ushered me into the store because these people often times get robbed and you don’t want to be standing around when they do. Therefore, if you are a foreigner with no references of what is dangerous and what is not, you can unknowingly put yourself in situations that are dangerous. 2). I don’t walk around flaunting wealth. Even though we am considered middle class in the US, we are considered wealthy here in Brazil. The richer you are in SP the more of target you make yourself. I have never heard of anyone having to drive around in a bullet proof car here in SP, the only reason you would need to is if you are driving a luxury car, and keep in mind a luxury car here is a Honda civic. When I walk around the city, I have my phone put away, my purse tucked in and I dress like in normal clothes, nothing designer. I am not saying that these things make me immune to the violence around but it definitely decreases my chances. After living here for three years I have been frightened by a couple of situations but they turned out to be benign, other than that I have had no problems and I go to the park with my son at least a couple of times a week. Hope with helps.

      • Thanks for your reply. I have a few more questions for you and would appreciate your opinion. How is the water situation in the city these days? Do all areas of SP get affected? How bad is water rationing affecting the central area?
        How do you send your kid to school(I assume he goes to a private one)? By school bus, drive them yourself or use a private driver you know?
        What’s your opinion on colegio Visconti Porto seguro? They seem to have top facility. But my kid(English and German) doesn’t speak Portuguese and we don’t want to burden him with learning since we only plan on staying 1-1.5 year. Do your still think it is worthwhile to go there or better Graded American school? Thanks a lot!!!

      • The water situation in SP has greatly improved in the last month, it has rained almost everyday this month so a lot of the reservoirs have recovered enough and they are also diverting water from other areas. Because SP is so big different areas are connected to different reservoirs which makes rationing inconsistent. As of now there is no official water rationing schedule, most places like ours (we live in a condo in the west zone) ration water at least once a week but because we have a 1000L water box in our attic we have never run out of water. My sister-in-laws building never rations water. But if it continues to rain like this there will be no problems.
        My son is only two and we just sent him to school this past month (private of course, there is no other real option in SP), we sent him to a Brazilian school because he speaks way more English than Portuguese and we want him to be bilingual. We drive him to school ourselves because the school is right around the corner from us. I think that if you don’t want to burden your kids with Portuguese then definitely send them to an English school. Graded is the best international school in SP but there are other very good English schools as well. Something that is really important is how close you are going to live to school and where your job is, the traffic here is terrible, it is worse than you can imagine, so in order to make your daily life pleasant you should live close to your kids school and your job. Especially in the south zone because there is not a ton of public transportation. We live, work, and go to school in the same neighborhood and it is lovely and then on the weekends when traffic is lighter we explore the rest of the city.

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