A "Paulista" sunday

Trip Start Feb 26, 2013
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Brazil  , State of Sao Paulo,
Monday, March 4, 2013

As said in the previous post, Sunday in Sao Paulo is pretty cool : some bicycle lover lobbyists have managed to obtain from the municipality the closure of some streets and bridges downtown so that they are fully dedicated to pedestrians and cyclers. I'm in luck : Paulo has three bikes. That enables us to leave sunday morning and spend the day in downtown Sao Paulo. The city is so huge, that even the real downtown is. Being able to sightsee by bike is awesome.

We got to "Luz" station (one of the oldest if not THE oldest train station of Sao Paulo) at about 11:30. Behind the station lies a huge park and there was a special event that particular day : a show of old cars, motorbikes, bicycles and even trucks. The place was packed with people watching all those remnants from another era, in awe, just like me. I had taken my camera, of course, and just went mad. A beer and half an hour later, off we went to check out downtown.

Paulo had warned me that the real center of Sao Paulo has been overthrown by junkies, all addicted to crack, lying around asleep or going a bit wild. And that's indeed what I got to see : beautiful old buildings - Portuguese colonial style or baroque architecture - simply abandoned, looking terrible, almost crying out of despair. "What have you given up on me", they seemed to be shouting out loud. The site was heartbreaking. Honestly, downtown Sao Paulo could look absolutely awesome would the municipality do something about it. The place looks just like those post-apocalyptic B movies. Should the junkies lying around start to walk funny, I might mistake them for living dead…

The feeling was accentuated when we took a sort of land bridge in the heart of the city. This bridge looks like it is cutting the city in two. Buildings are so close to it that I could see what every person was doing in their own apartment while biking on it. I know this bridge is terribly busy during the week, Paulo told me. I cannot begin to imagine the noise pollution those people living here have to go through. It's worse (for those who live in or know Paris) that the aerial metro around Barbès because buildings here are way way closer to the bridge itself. You would pay me a lot of money to live there that I still wouldn't. And there we were, among pedestrians doing their dominical jog, other bikers, on this bridge, passing small vendors of "Coco Gelado" (Green Coconut), right there, on that bridge. Incredible.

At some point, we went past a big screen called "Impostometro" which shows how much income tax has been paid to the government so far this year. See the picture. The amount of money makes you dizzy and even more when you look around you and see a lot of desolation in what could be a beautiful city.

After a very nice meal on a terrace, we spent the afternoon in parks, exhibitions, always biking around. There are some really cool spots such as this former plant changed into a cultural and entertainment area : exhibitions and concerts take place there on a daily basis and you can also chill out, get some sun at a spot which sprays water mist at you so that you don't get too hot. Cool spot.

The way back to the train station where we wanted to catch a train and metro back home led us through what probably used to be the old Sao Paulo : very cute little houses with gardens. When I told Paulo I could easily live here (for once, no skyscrapers !), he replied the area wasn't safe at all and that I would live in constant fear of being bur glared or assaulted right in my home. Sigh.

This is why Brazilians in Sao Paulo mostly live in those "Condominio" providing first 24h security and closed gates but also all the necessary amenities so that you don't need to go to multiple places to achieve what you want : gym, kindergarten, swimming pool, tennis court, everything's right there, in your condominio. That enables you to leave only when you need to go party, buy food or work…

We got home at around 6:30 pm. It left me just enough time to chill a bit, shower and get ready : a friend of Ludo's (my bro), to whom I was introduced by Ludo in San Diego, had invited me for the evening to do an apparently very typical Paulista sunday night stuff : pizza :) It was probably the most expensive pizza I ever had. Thank God I was invited ! Yes. Sao Paulo is the most unequal city in Brazil, which is the most unequal country in the world. I think that, with what my friend paid that night for me and his 5 other friends, a poor family could live on this for at least a week if not two. It gives me the chills. But that's the world we live in.
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supet-toutounet on

You are going to say that I am biased (and a bit obsessed), but I do not think that Brazil is the worst in terms of inequality income. In South America alone, Colombia (what a surprise...) and Bolivia are worst. And if you want to have a little look to Africa, you have some quite interesting examples : South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, etc...

mom on

waouh!!! moi pas vouloir vivre dans ce genre d endroit ,mais en france est ce mieux? Ou trouver encore en ce monde ,un havre de paix? ou tout au moins un semblant?
secret de l évolution !!!
adaptons nous . Ton intelligence est là ...; l adaptation .
bravo ma pucinette .

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