I am here in São Paulo, the largest city of South America, safely installed yesterday evening in the charming hotel I stayed in last time I was here, the Tryp, in the unpromisingly named but delightful neighbourhood of Higienópolis!
Its a horrible long flight from London - over 11 hours for the 6 thousand miles. But British Airways were efficient, on time, and comfortable, and the theatre kindly sent a car to take me to the hotel. Perfect under the circumstances!
My auditions are tomorrow afternoon, and then there is the treat of Thais at the opera. I have not seen the piece since Nice in 1997.
I spent my morning off today going no further than the immediate area around here - it was a glorious day, 25 degrees and not a cloud. And this part of town is leafy and really pretty with some interesting buildings, largely residential. But there is an excellent shopping centre where I found Ráscal when I was here before. I had a good lunch there and will return for supper this evening.
São Paulo gives the impression of being a huge modern prosperous city with an enormous comfortable middle class of the kind that is disappearing from the US and the UK. Of course there is more to Brazil than meets the eye in Higienópolis - the name tells it all!
The Buenos Aires Park is near by - full of young families at play, and old men sitting with shirts off sunning themselves on what must presumably be early spring here in the southern hemisphere. I was glad to see that tree hugging is also a Brazilian thing!
I am off to supper now and if I can get a good night's sleep and defeat the comparatively modest time change of only four hours I hope to go further afield tomorrow before the auditions.