Saturday, September 28, 2013

Creepy Crawlies - São Paulo

On Thursday the kids had no school because of parent-teacher conferences. I asked them what they wanted to do with their free day and the answers came back, simultaneously: Butantan! Then one amended and said "can we get seaweed and then go to Butantan?" Yes, seaweed. Apparently this is the snack of choice among second graders.

I forgot my camera for the Asian store so I'm going to hold off on my comments on that until I can show some photos to go along. I love it there. I have no idea what half of the stuff is because I don't read Japanese/Chinese/Korean, and the Brazilian translations don't help. We did find the seaweed. My kid started munching it on the street. 

Off to Instituto Butantan. Yes, it is my favorite museum in São Paulo (see prior blog post here). Not because it's chic but because it is the opposite. It is dark, empty, seemingly abandoned and for real fun,  the translations are atrocious (if they exist at all). And they also have the most beautiful collection of snake, spider, scorpion and lizard that they can think of.  Yeah okay truthfully spiders give me the creeps and scorpions are not my favorite, but the colorful venomous and non-venomous snakes are truly amazing. I have been there maybe 20 times and I seem to always see a new snake. 


After naming all the snakes for the 20th time and choosing our favorite, the kids and I went off to visit the monkeys. The monkeys are used to research viruses, and were critical in developing a yellow fever vaccine. Honestly, you don't want to think about these test animals. Or where they live. It's not pretty. 
Monkey cages
Then a look at the mosaics and a race down the avenue to the lanchonete where we can eat salty snacks and the kids can run around the park (actually the helicopter landing area for critical bite cases). After lunch we go to the microbiology museum where we watch the screen of a microscope showing a drop of water from the local river. Looooooootttts of paramecium and amoeba in there. Again probably don't want to think about that too much. 

My favorite way to spend two hours with my kids. Instituto Butantan. If you live here, you must go for a visit!

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