Live from the Gay Redlight District in Sao Paulo

Trip Start Apr 25, 2006
Trip End May 31, 2006

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Flag of Brazil  ,
Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Thatīs Right, I am writing you from the gay redlight district in Sao Paulo. Why am I there you ask, well that is where our hotel is located and needless to say much time has been spent here in the hotel. We arrived in Sao Paulo last night after a 6 hour bus ride from Curitiba though some very mountainous country side full of jungle and banana farms. The when we arrived last night, the whole street where our hotel is located was packed full of the boys and girls in drag going to the nearby night clubs. It was quite a shock to our group and did not give a good first impression of the city right off the start. I went out with a few of the others in our group and our tour leader to one of the nearby bars and it was like nothing I have ever seen before. One bar was enough for me but others continued on to others and the stories I got this morning were out of this world. There is about 8 gay bars on the street where our hotel is located and around the corner there is another 2 blocks of 24 hour sex shows. Needless to say there is very little to do around here for most of our group. We organized a city tour today and drove around for 3 hours seeing the sites in the city. It is a very business oriented city and for having 19 million people, has very little to see. The highlight of the tour was going to the main soccer stadium with a capacity of 100,000 (not the one with the riots). They let us go right out onto the field (but not on the grass). Surprisingly though, for such a large capacity, it is much smaller than Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton. After our tour today, Gina and I went walking as I wanted to try and find some shops and get a feel for the city outside the redlight district. Though I donīt think we ever completely cleared the redlight district, we did manage to find some pedestrian streets full of shops which were closing by the time we arrived. I did manage to find and buy a soccer jersey of the local club Sao Paulo FC. It has been my biggest and one of my only purchases so far. Sao Paulo is very different from any of the places we have been so far, there is about ten times more people in the street than any where else and it is the first time where you get an uneasy feeling walking around. We have seen some very sketchy characters around most likely due to the location of our hotel. Our valuables stay locked in the safe in the hotel and I walk around with a photocopy of my passport and $50 Real ($20 US) in my pocket at most. The hotel is very safe and I am really not too concerned walking around but you must always be aware of your surroundings. We leave tomorrow for Parati, a beach resort on the coast. It is supposed to be a nice place to relax and do some snorkeling.

We have really enjoyed the e-mails from you all, keep them coming.

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