All of the sugar packets have pithy quotes on them
After battling bugs in the wilderness, a big shower, air-conditioning, and a bed free from creepy crawlies was a welcome relief. We spent most of our time in Sao Paulo simply walking around the Jardins area, a really nice part of the city with lots of cafes, boutique shops, and excellent restaurants. Lisa did some "retail therapy" while I caught up on reading at various cafes.
Most guidebooks we read had us believe that Sao Paulo was not worth seeing - a big, ugly and unsafe metropolis with too many cars and people. Perhaps because we were just in the Amazon, or perhaps because we are both from Los Angeles (also sometimes known as ugly, big and unsafe), we didn't notice this at all.
Bustling mall food court across from the hotel
In fact, we found that the people here were the friendliest of all people we had met in Brazil, which was paradoxical since our hotel was right near a business district, and you'd assume everyone would just be running to and from work.
Almost everyone, from complete strangers on the street to overworked employees at various stores, smiled at us as we walked by. During our first night here, our waiter at the restaurant (a young guy our age who spoke English from a year of studying abroad in Ireland), offered to show us around the area the next day, and followed through on his offer. While eating breakfast at a small cafe, a woman sitting next to us heard us wondering what tourist sites we should see next, and engaged in excited chatter with the waitress about what places they thought were nearby and interesting, writing down a list of suggestions on a napkin. The receptionists at the hotel happily made us reservations for dinner and made sure the taxi drivers knew where to take us. Even the taxi drivers would cheerfully give us Portuguese lessons. Coming from another big city (LA), where strangers are more flashy than friendly, this was a welcome surprise.
Oh yea, and the food in Sao Paulo was amazing. Definitely the best we had in Brazil, and some of the restaurants as good as any restaurant we've been to in Los Angeles, New York or San Francisco.