Samba in Sao Paulo

Trip Start Aug 12, 2010
1
46
135
Trip End Sep 23, 2011


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Where I stayed
Suci Hostel

Flag of Brazil  , State of Sao Paulo,
Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hi all,

After (regrettably) leaving Paraty we arrived in Sao Paulo for a few days. Sao Paulo is the 7th largest metropolitan city in the world with an estimated 20 million people from many nationalities, making São Paulo the most ethnically diverse city in Brazil; including Italian, German, Portuguese, Spanish, Swiss, Lebanese and Japanese (the largest Japanese community outside of Japan).

Sao Paulo has a few sites that interested us. On our first day we took a walk around the city visiting the large cathedral, Liberdade which is home to Japan Town, and the Municipal Market. All were fairly dull but worth a quick visit. The most interesting site I guess was seeing the prostitutes and their (gangster) pimp hanging outside the cathedral waiting for "business" at 11am.

On our second day we visited the highly rated Football Museum. The museum was fairly interesting especially for a football fan but we were disappointed as hardly any of the displays were in English (very annoying when the internet said all displays were translated into English). The museum covered the history of the World Cups and how football was introduced to the country by a European over a hundred years ago.

Hollie however was more interested in Daslu, Sao Paulo's shopping emporium. Over three floors you can find every fashion designer you could wish for while servants dole out free espressos, biscotti and sparkling water. Daslu even has its own harem, a series of lounges and changing rooms where men are forbidden to set foot in. It is against the rules to arrive by foot and taxi is a second rate mode of transport. The much chicer option is to arrive by helicopter...yep this shopping mall has its own heli-pad. A private chopper is the ultimate Paulistano status symbol and Sao Paulo has the most helicopter traffic in the world, with 300 private jets versus a mere 60 in NYC. This mode of transport is so popular you even have helicopter 'collectives' enabling members to share the cost of purchase, maintenance and pilot. After initially laying out about US$50,000 members only need to pay an annual fee of US$40,000 a year....a bargain when it is only 10 times more than the annual salary of a domestic servant!! For those who cannot afford their own chopper, the area of Jardin and Avenida Paulista is full of gorgeous shops, restaurants and bars that we plan to return to when we are not meagre travellers.

The fortunes of the Paulistanos can also be seen in the local cemetery with gravestones and crypts being unbelievably extravagant with many the size of houses.....no joke!!

On final night our hostel laid on a big party with 250 people and 2 DJs, all you can drink for 15 Reais; a measly £5. To say the least we took advantage of this open bar deal and regretted it when we had to wake up at 7am for our long bus trip to Ilha do Mel. But is was definitely worth it and finally Hollie learnt how to Samba after many drinks of the traditional drinks, Cachaca (sugar cane spirit) and Caipirinha (made from cachaca with citrus fruits or in our case a red chilli).

All our love,

Hollie and Thomas xx





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