Last Wednesday afternoon, I was walking down street Oscar Freire, Sao Paulo’s Champs Elysee, when I saw 2 police cars and 6 body guards in front of Nike Store. I couldn’t stop my curious mind, I had to find out what was going on. My first guess was that the place had been robbed. The waitress from a nearby coffee shop explained me « A primeira ministra da Dinamarca esta visitando a loja. » Translating : the female Danish prime minister is visiting the store.
Although that explanation put my heart at easy, it intrigued me even further. Could a prime minister be at Nike store on a Wednesday afternoon at 3 pm ? Nooo! I would expect something of this sort from Cristina Kirchner but not from the Danish head of state. In fact, as far as I knew the Danish prime minister was a man, Lars Løkke Rasmussen. However, this afternoon was very surreal ( a friend had just paid R$ 140 for a hair cut) and I was expecting bizarre events. I speculated: Brazil is a main destination for plastic surgery and maybe he is on vacation and he came here to get a Roberta Close operation and do some shopping. So I went inside of the store and did not see a new version of the prime minister but, Danish minister of foreign affairs.
Lene Espersen was not on vacation. She was in Sao Paulo for the executive meeting Brazil – Denmark organized by Fiesp (Federation of Industries of the State of Sao Paulo). She explained to me that Brazil has lots of infrastructure projects and it will need the help of worldwide leaders, like Danish companies, to reach the best and more sustainable (yes ! the word of the moment is present in any speech of any public figure) results in the shortest amount of time. She said that « the world has finally found out what for Denmark is not a secret, sustainable solutions are good business. » Basically, she came to Brazil to promote sustainability backed by Danish expertise in Brazil’s near future (and also to do some shopping at Nike’s store).
According to the Brazilian department of commercial and industrial development, In 2010, commercial trade between Brazil and Denmark was US$ 911 Mi and Brazil held a deficit of US$ 175 Mi.
I have always felt as if Brazilians are monthly rapped by the government because of the outrageous taxes Brazilians pay (35% of the GDP). In Denmark, the population pays even more, 48% of the GDP. Nonetheless, over there all that money is spent in a more intelligent manner, there are excellent health care, public education, transport, retirement program. What must be the same is what commissions of ministers and ambassadors do when they go abroad for seminars or any kind of visit.
After this episode, I couldn’t stop thinking about Hamlet :
« Something Is Rotten in the State of Denmark »
By the way, I hate shopping. I was in Oscar Freire to have lunch at restaurant Bargaca, taking advantage of Sao Paulo’s restaurant week basically during a week (which, unfortunately finished yesterday) a meal in the best restaurants of the city costs 29,90 R$ during lunch time and R$39,90 for dinner. The regular price in these high class places is around R$ 100 for the same meal.