A brief city tour

Trip Start Nov 20, 2006
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Trip End Jun 27, 2007


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Flag of Brazil  ,
Friday, April 27, 2007

Sao Paulo is Brazil's most populous city (22m) and the 3rd most populous in the world. It is also the world's fastest growing city as thousands flock here hoping to better themselves. Evidently some make it, as business thrives here. By the same token, this also goes some way to explaining the poverty and the homelessness, which is rife.

When we arrived here Lou was feeling very ill and drained after a 6 hour bus journey. So much so that our first port of call was the hospital. We were seen very quickly by a lovely Brazilian doctor who ran tests, diagnosed the problem and prescribed drugs all within 2 hours of walking in there. He also apologised for his poor English (which of course was anything but), which we forgave him for given that our Portuguese vocabulary runs to 11 words, 3 of which are probably Spanish. The drugs were good too, Lou making a full recovery and suffering no obvious side effects.

As you know, we seem to have picked up a habit of staying at places slap bang in the middle of the red light district. Well, in Sao Paulo we managed to land ourselves in the middle of the pink district. I had never heard of a pink district before but, now that I'm in the know, I can safely say I prefer red ones. To be honest, if we go the rest of our journey avoiding any colour-associated district, I'll be happy. I haven't got any photos to show you, but that's for the best, believe me.

The food in Brazil is pretty good (although vegetarians might not agree, as it is pretty much meat based). They salt all their meat over here which makes it very unhealthy and very tasty. Unlike other countries, their sausages are actually made of meat too. We have been enjoying sucos which are fruit smoothies and eating Misto Quentes by the bucketload - they sound exotic but are basically ham and cheese toasties. Their restaurants are often pay by weight buffets which is a cheap and easy way to grab some nosebag. Bizarrely it includes the weight of he plate so the more you eat, the cheaper it is (relatively speaking). Look, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

We did a city tour with our guide who took us to see some of the sights. As it was a walking tour and the city has 22m people, the scope was somewhat limited but we had a taste of what goes on and walked through areas of differing affluence. Two places were noteworthy - the Italian tower which is 43 storeys and gives you a fair idea of just how big the place is. The second was a plaza where street performers entertain the masses. One act we saw was a guy juggling balls of various sizes with typical Brazilian trickery. Fairly standard stuff in the main, but it was amazing to see it done with a ball bearing the size of a petit pois - he even caught it on the back of his neck. We have added a movie of him taking his shirt off whilst balancing a ball on his head. The camera shake at the end is me clapping having forgotten I was taking a video.
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