Coffee’s been a big part of my life here in Brazil, especially Starbucks coffee. For those of you just tuning in, there is one Starbucks in the whole country and it is located in Shopping Morumbi, in Sao Paulo, about an hour and a half–upwards of two hours of traveling time from my home in Campinas. Over the past few months, my friend Mandy and I have made several trips to Sao Paulo with Starbucks in mind. It may seem like a ridiculous adventure to some of you, but I have absolutely no shame in spending hours in traveling and up to R$70 in bus, metro, and taxi fares just to have a medium coffee drink with a little whipped cream.
To keep me tied over on the days when I can’t get to Sao Paulo, I have a good supply of Starbucks ground coffee here in my refrigerator that The Buddha and my friend Jake brought down on their trips. And on my two last trips to SP, I bought giant Starbucks mugs. One says “Brasil,” and the other says “Sao Paulo” with a terrible picture of the SP Art Museum on it (MASP.) Both also say “Starbucks,” and make me proud with every sip of the fact that I own them. This morning, while filling up my Brasil Starbucks mug, it occurred to me just how large the mug actually is. First, you should know, Brazilians do not drink large cups of coffee. That is another reason why I love going to Starbucks because it takes twenty minutes to drink a cup of coffee and it’s relaxing. It’s not the little shot of high test espresso that you drink standing up like they have all over the place here. (The coffee is good, but Jesus, is it strong.)
Above is a photo that I took this morning, showing, from left to right, the mugs I have gone through while here. I began with six small mugs (cups, if you will) on the left. Searching high and low for something larger about a week after I arrived, I found the next one. It says “esperanca” on it, which means “hope” in Portuguese. Third is a mug that my friends Jason and Geneva sent me, with the label of a Utah beer called “Polygamy Porter” on it. It was the largest mug I’d seen in the world, until I came upon the Starbucks mugs. Although this last one looks shorter, it is in fact, the size of my own head, and when filled with Starbucks coffee, I am awake for three days straight.
In the distance, you can see a tall grey and white building. It, along with another building that has an Itau Bank digital clock on its top, are the two buildings that let me know I’m home in this city. They work kind of like the Prudential Building did for me when I lived in Boston: I had only to look at the skyline to know where I was in the city.