It's Pretty Big !
Trip Start Aug 17, 2010
83Trip End Sep 16, 2011
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Since this is going to become a city of such importance AND it was about the limit of how long Jim and I wanted to sit on a bus – about 18 hours from Florip. We decided to spend a few days here.
Well the first thing we were told was correct. Sao Paulo is big. It took us over 2 hours to drive into the centre of town to the bus station. Not because there was traffic but because it is just that big. When we later climbed the tallest building Jim said it reminded him of Tokyo but with less skyscrapers.
We were heading into a 4 day long weekend so accommodation was a bit tight for Brasil, but our Hostel in Florip pulled in some favours and helped book us into a hostel some friends ran. We realized how lucky were when we checked in as we had the last room. Which was in fact double booked and we beat the other couple by 20 mins. They had to stay in the dorms.
While we were tired, as neither of us sleep well on the buses, the day was beautiful and it seemed a shame to just crash, so we decided instead to head to the big central park and get some lunch.
The park was lovely with lots of people enjoying the public space. People running, skating and walking. Everyone is Sao Paulo looked very active and healthy and we felt our 3 months of lethargy. The galleries and museums are also located in this park and after a very leisurely lunch in the sun we decide to check them out – we had sandwiches and juice in honor of the active people constantly passing by.
Sao Paulo hosts the largest invitation only arts fair in the world - The Sao Paulo Biennial – It just so happened that this was also showing in the park. Jim indulges my love of art galleries but I realize that I can’t see them all so I do time my picks. We had seen a lot through Peru and Chile, but not so many in Argentina, so I felt that I could call in for Sao Paulo.
We skipped the well respected Modern Art Gallery, walked straight past the famous National Gallery and headed for the Biennial. Wow what a decision.
The Biennial has different themes for each showing – this year – installation art !!!!
What took place for the next 2 hours was Jim asking me how most of this crap could be considered art and me not having an answer as I thought the same. We have included our favourite artwork – Yes this was a serious piece. I’m not sure when I will be able to take Jim into an art gallery again.
Leaving the Biennial we headed back to the hostel to get a nap in before we headed out to dinner.
We had been told that you could get ANY food you wanted in Sao Paulo and that it would be authentic and fantastic so after our nap we asked reception to recommend a good Indian as Jim and I both had a hankering for a curry….. sorry what’s that? The only Indian near-by only does lunches….. OK no problem, How’s about a good Thai curry. Oh they don’t really have Thai restaurants in Sao Paulo…..hmmmm. Perhaps Sao Paulo needs to reassess this boast of every cuisine.
No matter we head out for some local Brazilian food – All you can eat meat on skewers with another guy staying in our Hostel. We had a nice night and ate our fill before heading back to the hostel to collapse.
Our next day we head out to check out the city, we move into the centre of town and the place is packed with people. The jostle and bustle of the city is a little crowded even for city dwellers like us!
For lunch we head to the large fresh food market where we are told you can get fantastic 'Bauru’ - a ham, mozzarella and tomato sandwich - which is the traditional lunchtime dish of Sao Paulo. It’s kind of like a cross between a toasted bagette and a calzone. The food market was amazing and for me the highlight of our stay. The place had everything you could imagine to buy and the produce was so fresh and beautifully presented….. Victoria Markets in Melbourne seriously has to lift its game to come even close. We settled into an eatery in the middle of the market and people watched while we hoed into our Bauru’s. They were nice but I’m not sure that I could eat one every day, and given how everyone looks so trim and fit here I’m not sure that the locals do either.
After walking around the city some more we head to one of the tallest buildings to have an afternoon cocktail and see the city from up high. I think the photos speak for themselves.
Our last night in town and we are advised that Sao Paulo does really good sushi, so with a place just round the corner from our hostel recommend we head out. We made a discovery. ALL YOU CAN EAT SUSHI. Not stuff that had been sitting round the back of the shop, not nori rolls. But freshly sliced in front of you by a sushi chef proper sushi. The Australian love of sushi is well known and this is not a concept that would ever work in Australia as Australians would put the place out of business in about 10 seconds. As there were only two of us we didn’t quite do that but they were sorry that Jim and Lauren darkened their door. If they no longer offer All You Can Eat Sushi when you visit Sao Paulo… well you know who to blame.
The next day Jim and I head off to catch our second last bus !!! To Paraty, a 16th Century Portuguese port with most of the original old town still intact. We will be spending a few days here relaxing before we finally hit Rio De Janiero….. reputed to be the world’s biggest party town.