Sao Paulo, the real concrete jungle!

Trip Start Mar 17, 2013
Trip End Jul 18, 2013

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Where I stayed
Girassol Vila Madalena

Flag of Brazil  , State of Sao Paulo,
Monday, April 1, 2013

I have never felt so small before as when standing on Avenue Paulista with concrete masses towering over me for miles in every direction. This is the largest city in the Southern Hemisphere - a fact that does not surprise me whatsoever. We went to the top of Edifico Italia which is one of the tallest buildings in the city, and clinging to the handrail 46 stories up in the sky, marvelled at the sea of grey beneath us... Sao Paulo is not an attractive city at face value, but when you get a little closer, the many artists that live here are doing their damned best to cover up the grey.

There is grafitti everywhere. But not grafitti as we know it in the UK - tags and slurs about other people, this is amazing art! The colours are incredibly vibrant, the designs so creative. In Vila Madelena, the artists district where we were staying, there is a street called Buco do Batman - Batmans cave. Artists have distinct sections each to play with, and the whole street is decorated - walls, pavements, lampposts and steps. 

Sao Paulo is the ideal destination for culture vultures. Museums and art galleries decorate every street. We went mainstreet and headed to MASP, the renowned modern art gallery. Afterwards, we trekked to the Parque Ibirapuera along the mystical Avenue Cinco de Mayo. On the map this is a straight line, but in reality is a series of yellow signposts guiding you left, right, up, down, round in circles on a magical mystery tour of the city. 

My favourite pitstop was the Instuto Butanta - where they have 85,000 poisonous species which they extract venom from to make vaccines and medecines. You can see a selection of these - giant snakes, tiny snakes, glow in the dark scorpions, irridescent iguanas and huge hairy tarantulas.

We didn´t stay long enough to really get to know the city, but it certainly left an impression. It is incredibly vibrant, with 20 million people living here. Rush hour on the tube with our rucksacks was unforgettable... It was a shock to the system after a week of lounging in beach towns. I think we could have spent weeks there and not run out of things to do, but we were quite ready to leave after a few days of mental metropolitan life.
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Paul Bowens on

Hi both, just catching up with the your travelogues, they make great reading. SP sounds great, if a little frantic. Looking forward to seeing the photos.

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