Scratching the surface of Sao Paulo

Trip Start Feb 06, 2010
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4
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Trip End Aug 01, 2010


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Where I stayed
Olah Hostel

Flag of Brazil  , State of Sao Paulo,
Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sao Paulo is home to 20m paulistas, and the 3rd largest metropolis in the world behind Tokyo and Mexico.  The two days I spent here really did no justice to the city.  Of the few regrets I have, the biggest is not spending more time in Sao Paulo to really come to terms with SP.

SP definitely has a noticeably different feel to that in Rio.  The overall vibe in Rio is more laid back and beach culture reigns supreme.  In SP, there is a buzz and everyone seems to be on the move.  SP is the commercial capital of Brazil and over 50% of the entire country's GDP is produced in its state. 

Many people dismiss SP as not worth a visit. I disagree.  True it doesnt have the setting or the attractions Rio has, but it was refreshing being in a 'normal' city again where I felt like I blended in with the crowd.  It also it isnt difficult as SP has the largest population of Japanese outside of Japan and a large number of other immigrants including Chinese. 

A lot about SP reminds me a lot of New York.  Avenida Paulista reminds me of 5th Ave, it has a Wall Street like district (Rua 5 Novembre?), a Chinatown in Liberdade, and an equivalent to Central Park.  It also has over 250 museums and exibits and boasts to be the cultural capital of Brazil.

The night life in SP is also supposed to be world class but sadly I didnt get to experience it. 

SP also has a reputation as being quite dangerous but I didnt notice this.  In some ways I felt safer in SP than in Rio because I was less conspicous as an tourist.

Next stop is a the Pantanal which I need to take a 15 hour overnight bus ride to Campo Grande, then another 5 hours to the camp where I will be based for 4 days.
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