Amazing Sao Paulo

Trip Start Feb 18, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Friday, February 23, 2007

Sao Paulo is so amazing!! I arrived into the airport on the outside of the city, and I was immediately greeted by a woman in Carnaval attire who was handing out condoms... I took a long bus to a metro station that would eventually take me to my hostel, which was out of the way, but in a safe neighborhood around praša de arvore. I was helped out by some nice brasileiros named Mano and Geisa, both very cool.
later that first afternoon I took the metro to Liberdade (pronounced Liberdaj) and found a cool outdoor market that was selling lots of fried Japanese food. After walking around I found that all of Liberdade was a Japanese/Chinese district of Sao Paulo, with the emphasis on Japan. Apparently Sao Paulo has the largest concentration of Japanese outside of Japan, which I never knew about.
The next day I went to the Sao Bento area, which is basically one large crowded market. There are small indoor malls, and lots of stores, and even more street vendors selling everything from food to clothes to pirated DVDs. I found a Lebanese restaurant where I tried to use my shitty arabic- but they didn┤t actually speak arabic. I walked around so much I got lost for a while and had to start retrcing my steps to find where I had started. My favorite thing I found that day was a street vendor who sold cocnuts. He cut it open with a machete, put a straw in it, and sold it for 1real, about 50 cents American. These coconut stands are all over the place as I have now learned.
Day 3 I explored the Avenida Paulista with my friend Yendy, an American who was starting her semester studying abroad in Sao Paulo. We find this place called Parque Trianon, which is this awesome thick rainforest in the middle of the city. It is so thick that you can only see the surrounding city in a few places.
Day 4 I went to Parque IbirraPuera with Yendy, and it was so huge! I guess it is Sao Paulo┤s version of Central Park, and it is very cool. We tried to go the Afro_Brazilian musuem which is inside the park, but it was closed because of Carnaval, something we found the day before on Paulista. I went out that night with my friends Vivan (UK, orginally India) Gerhard (South Africa), Melissa (USA) and Ali (Scotland) who I had met at the Hostel. Gerhard and Vivan have both been in Sao Paulo about 3 months and 1.5 months respectively, so they knew where to take us. Sadly, Gerhard┤s favorite club called The Edge was close because of Ash Wednesday, something he swore hasn┤t happened in his 3 months there. We ended up wandering around this area off Paulista and we went to Omalley┤s, an Irish Pub. They have a weird system- upon entrance they give you a card with a 4 digit #. Every time you order a drink, you show the bartender the card, and he logs your purchase. When you leave, you pay your tab, and they give you a small receipt you hand to the door man to show him you paid, and thus he lets you leave. Overall my time in Sao Paulo was awesome, I wanted to stay much longer, the city is so large and I saw such a tiny fraction of it. I cannot wait to go back!!
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