beautiful, smoggy, familiar São Paulo, in pictures

Here are some long overdue pictures of our week in São Paulo. We had the best time in this huge concrete city, mostly because of lovely Layssa and Lucas who we met in Santa Teresa, Rio (no pictures of Lucas, sorry Lucas!) We stayed close to Paulista Avenue first, which looks like a futuristic version of New York’s Park Avenue, as imagined in 1980. I didn’t take my camera out the entire time staying near here because of the whole “São Paulo is so dangerous” type of thing. And I know people’s experiences are so different, and count for so much of your perception, but I think the negativity we encountered about São Paulo before we got there made me determined to give it a chance. That and my lifelong love of stats and geography meant that I just had to see the biggest city in South America with its drizzle and concrete skyscrapers.

Our time in São Paulo was trouble free and we found everyone remarkably friendly. People stopped and spoke English to us on the Metro if we looked lost, they asked us where we were from in supermarkets. It seems tourists aren’t a normal sight there and possibly the violence and crime we’d heard about, wasn’t targeted at tourists at all.

We were impressed with the efficient Metro system, the city’s giant park (I thought a lot like Central Park in New York), beautiful modern buildings and bustling atmosphere. We also found the best food so far in Brazil; bowls of ramen at Aska in Liberdade (São Paulo’s Japantown), cheapo sushi and incredible coffee in Vila Madalena. We stayed in Vila Madalena too, it was recommended, and it was hilly, peaceful and full of places to eat and drink.

And this is all very well but Layssa and Lucas made our stay perfect. We met up for graduation drinks in a bar that specialised in karaoke and meat on a stick with teriyaki sauce (robata), we practised mangled Portuguese, visited Rua Augusta to watch a guy with a guitar sing in Portuguese as we got steadily drunk on caipirinhas, ate pizza at 3am and marvelled at how it got that late, we had a barbecue with their friends and drove to gated Alphaville, which is how we will all live after a zombie outbreak. It was the best and they are sooooo nice. They speak English so well I was constantly embarrassed that my limited Portuguese could stretch to a beer and a bus ticket.

It makes me wish I’d spent a whole month in São Paulo, pretending to be a Paulista, shunning my flip flops.

Anyway, managed, finally to download Sherlock so see ya.

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2 Comments

  1. It looks a lovely place and sounds like you fell in love with Sao Paulo. I am sorry that you found Buenos Aires a disappointment. We loved some of it but were targeted by thieves there who squirted something like bird poo on us and then pretended to help wipe us down. Fortunately I was on my guard so that they didn’t get any joy with us but it wasn’t nice. However, the tango was amazing and I loved seeing Evita’s balcony, etc. Where are you two going next? You are missing Rain here in the UK so enjoy the warmth. xx

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  2. I meant to reply a while back, sorry. The same thing happened to us in BA, twice on the way to our first hostel. Nothing was stolen but it was horrible and we smelled bad, we were immediately annoyed and more aware of the kind of things that can happen in big cities like BA. We had a lovely time over all, we liked San Telmo and Palermo too, don’t know if you saw them.

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