Sao Paulo...Where The Cultures At
Sao Paulo Travel Blog› entry 8 of 45 › view all entries
April 27th, 2010 – by: debsadams1979
The hostel I went to was booked through my place in Paraty and wasn't in my guidebook, no matter as it turned out to be one of the best hostels I've stayed in in Brazil, god bless you Limetime! I loved all of it except for Gringo the little vicious git of a dog who bit me, apparently he has short-man complex, after threats of violence against him ala the dog in Something About Mary, he seemed to leave me alone (I really do love animals honest!).
After the beautiful weather in Paraty Sao Paulo was a little bit chilly to say the least, the mountains that ring it in stop temperatures from being stifling in summer, unlike Rio, but that also means it gets a little chillier in winter. Sao Paulo doesn't have Rio's beauty but it certaintly has a cultured, classy feel to it, for me Sampa is the Melbourne to Rio's Sydney. Paulistas are a well healed bunch who know how to do great food (they
have amazing Sushi and Italian due to the large immigrant population and have the largest Japanese poulation outside of Japan), nightlife,
high-end shopping, museums and galleries...my kinda town!
I had originally only intended to pass through Sampa to head South as I'd received mixed reviews about the place but as I'd got time to explore I'd make the most of it and get to know it better.
I spent day one exploring Sampa's historic centre, the highlight of which were Neimeyer's Edificio Coban and the huge cathedral (it holds
around 8000 reportedly) in Praca de Se with it's huge and highly decorative stained glass windows. I didn't make it top of the BANESPA building, which is reknowned for it's impressive panaromic views over SP, as I didn't know which one it was exactley and hadn't realised it was getting close to 3pm which is when they stop letting people up.
After a well deserved rest I was feeling heaps better and felt it was time to sample what Sampa had to offer in terms of Sushi. Wanting to explore one Sampa's more exclusive neighbourhoods Jardins I picked a reasonably priced offering from the Bible, jumped on the metro and off I went. It was a bit of a mission from the metro station but I didn't mind as it meant I got to window shop in all of the upmarket shops the area had to offer, 20 mins later I got to the address only to find the damn place closed for rennovation - has there been a decision in the national psyche here to start refurbishment projects this year? Who knows.
luck would have it that I stumbled over another Sushi joint about 3 streets away from the metro, result. I pretty much had the place to myself other than one other customer, not always a good sign but the Sushi was amazing but in true Brazilian fashion the portion size was HUGE, the sushi chefs must have understood what I said when the final plate came out and I exclaimed "holy shit!" as they started laughing, to make it worse they wouldn't let me take a doggie bag so I had to force myself to eat as much as I could before I felt sick! Home Jeeves for a sleep after that lot.
Day two a group of us decided to check out Park Ibirapuera as there were a group of museums situated there that were supposed to be impressive both for their architecture (Neimeyer again) and the exhibits themselves. Everyone else went to see the exhibits at the Afro-Brasilian museum while I wandered off to Neimeyer myself out. In an hour i managed to get around the outside of all the buildings and the inside of a few and get moaned at three times in the process; once for taking pictures inside a gallery, this I never understand why staff in galleries have an issue with providing you aren't directly photographing the art, secondly I got moaned at by a security guard outside the Auditorio for wait for it 'leaning' on the building, something which I found both irritating and ironic given that Brazilians seem happy to pollute their country but leaning on a building isn't ok, daft if you ask me.
over the velvet rope in the Auditorio to take a quick photo, to which I got a rather abrupt 'no', so I made the point of standing as close to the rope as possible and leaning over it as far as I could, what a rebel eh? The Auditorio is the newest building in the park and was easily my favourite, the entrance to this wedge shaped little number was define by a bright red metal canopy that looked like a dragons tongue flicking out, there was also an Anish Kapoor-esque sculpture inside that reflected off the polished concrete floor giving the whole entrance space a comforting red glow.
The plan after the park was to head back to the hostel then up the BANESPA building but again by the time we got back to the hostel we were pushing it for time so some of the group stayed at the hostel while Hannah and I went to check out the Latin America Memorial.
So I'd managed to sample the culture, architecture, food and ambience of this great city but no joy with the nightlife as I'd missed a big party night the night I arrived and people were still recovering, plenty of time left on the trip yet so I wasn't too disappointed. I maybe timing the weather right but I'm certainly not hitting the cities/ party places at the weekends since heading South and right on cue my next stop is Curitiba for the weekend, doh!
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