The Concrete Jungle that is Sao Paulo

Trip Start Sep 18, 2012
Trip End Mar 25, 2013

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Flag of Brazil  , State of Sao Paulo,
Friday, January 18, 2013

So we caught our flight to Sao Paulo which all went swimmingly until we got out the airport.  We arrived in SP at 1am in the morning so booked a hotel near the airport instead of paying for an expensive taxi into the centre.  The hotel had a free shuttle so we decided it would be worth waiting 40minutes until the next shuttle was due.  But, it never arrived so we were still standing outside the airport at 2.30am!  Thankfully there was another family also waiting who called the hotel to be told there wouldnt be a shuttle bus and we had to get a taxi.  By this time there weren´t many taxis around so we waited another 5minutes for that and eventually got to our hotel just after 3am.  We then tried to check in and the guy told us we didnt have a booking and the hotel was full - couldnt believe it, we showed him our confirmation and he basically just said no and shook his head at us!  Another guy appeared and after 20minutes or so he eventually said ´its ok sir` - and that was it, not apology or anything but they gave us our room key and it was a really nice room and comfy bed so thats all we needed.

The next day we took a bus and subway into the centre of the city to find our hostel.  After going the wrong direction we finally found it.  We received a really warm welcome from the owner who actually was a bit eccentric but really nice.  Our check in took 30minutes as he pointed every single thing out!

We didn´t have much expectations for Sao Paulo as most people said its just a big city, which it is, however there is a lot of culture and art around that makes it quite an intersting place.  It was a lot more modern and wealthier than we expected with a famous street full of designer shops.  Nearby there was the second biggest ferrari dealership in the world - tried to take a pic but the security guard soon escorted us away!  People say Sao Paulo is the working city of Brasil and Rio is the partying and relaxing place.  We didnt venture too far and stayed around the area of our hostel which is known to be a nice area.

After a whole day with no food we ventured out to a local cafe we passed on the way to our hostel.  We opened the menu and didnt have a clue what anything was!  We thought Portugese would be more similar to Spanish but its not!  Ryan had spotted the coconuts outside the cafe and tried to order one to drink, the waiter did ask something in Portuguese, we werent quite sure what and just said si, but when he came back he brought a big bowl of yogurt with banana and some granola!!  Not quite the coconut water that we thought we ordered!  There is quite a big beer culture in Sao Paulo and we passed a few bars that stocked Brewdog and Schiehallion Scottish beers!

So Sao Paulo is known for the many art galleries and famous art museums and where did we go first...the football museum!!  It was in fact a really good museum and we got in free as we visited on a thursday which was a bonus.  We also got to see the stadium which is used by the 4 main teams in Sao Paulo.  Afterwards we walked around the main area near our hostel which was full of fancy boutiques and shops.  We stopped passed the havaianas flip flop store which was huge and had every kind of flip flop you can imagine, you could even create your own!  We also went into a shop called Melissa which had a christmas tree made of lego outside it.  The shop sells plastic shoes which sounds horrible but some of them actually looked really nice.


At night we went to an area near our hostel which has over 300 bars!  It was a Thursday night but the bars were packed, Ryan thought it reminded him of Magaluf but with rich people!  Our hostel owner had given us a recommendation so we had carne seca which is dried meat with pumpkin.

The next day we were going to go downtown and go to one of the tallest buildings in Sao Paulo to see the view over the city but you had to take your original passport and since its not very safe downtown we decided against it and made our way to the Museum of Art.  We´ve never been big fans of art galleries but we were really glad we went as there were explanations of the paintings and what you should look for and it opened our eyes to the world of art!  It was incredible and had paintings displayed by many famous artists, its probably the first time we have seen original paintings by the likes of Van Gogh and Monet.  There was also a special exhibition of a painting by Vermeer which was recently restored and was doing an unusual trip of visiting Shanghai, Sao Paulo, Los Angeles before returning to a museum in Amsterdam.

At night we met a couple, Andre and Leticia, who we met in Valparaiso (Chile) for a drink.  They took us to a bar close to our hostel which served brewdog so Ryan gave in and had one.  We tried to get into another bar but it was too busy so we headed to a late night bakery which served beer and pizza!  We had a good night with them and they invited us to a family lunch they were having the next day.  So the next day we checked out our hostel and took the subway to where they lived.  Andre picked us up from the subway and took us to his house.  We met his mother and brother and Leticias parents and 2 sisters and their husbands (thankfully the husbands who were Russian and Portugese spoke good English so acted as a translator).  They prepared a lovely spread of traditional food including carne seca, beans and rice and smashed pumpkin - it was delicious and washed down by more beer.

We hadnt booked a bus to Rio so Andre took us to the bus station and we got a bus at 16.30 which arrived in Rio at 22.30.
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