Sao Paulo Travel Blog› entry 11 of 22 › view all entries
We arrivced in Saa Paulo early in the morning and decided to wait at the airport for sunrise before making our way to our accommodation. We had previously contacted the hotel to find the best and cheapest way from the airport and found we could easily get a public bus and then metro to our Hostel/Pousada. Waiting in the airport we were uttlerly shocked to see the locals wrapped in scarves & heavy winter coats. Wer knew it was their winter but had been expecting a british summertime of 20o or so.
Exiting the aiport we soon found out why, dressed in cropped trousers, and light jumpers we looked rediculous (&felt freezing!) finding our bus. (For any one doing it as at the tourist information for the cheap bus - around R$3.60 don´t use the executive bus, this public bus is perfectly safe & drops you at a great Metro stop - total cost¨R$6)
We got lucky with our pousada, staying on the edge of the best neighbourhood in central Sao Paulo - The Jardins. It wasn´t till the 2nd or 3rd day we realised how lucky as we were searching for a bookstore and found Armani!
After the Amazon we had alot of catching up to do - washing, booking of our travels so most of the first few days were quite uneventful, cooking in the hostel and socialising with the many nationalities there.
When we did venture out it was wrapped in as many clothes as possible, Emma actually bought a woolly hat (from a Peruvian lady) which will be great for skiing!!! The last few days it did improve hitting 18o making sightseeing more bearable.
We really enjoyed the city, locals explained that Sao Paulo isn´t seen as a tourist destination so few people in bars & resturants speak any english. But the tourist information and sights were some the the best we have seen and the people were incredibly helpful. Poverty in the city is quite obvious around the centro and main commercial district, but the police seem to be tough on crime. Unlike Rio the homeless were of all ages and included women, groups of 6 people would be sleeping in door ways rather than just ones and twos. Considering how much poverty there was the city still remained clean. It is evident that Sao Paulo holds the heart of Brazils economy. On a clear day we went to the top of Sao´s tallest building one of the banks and looked over the city. Most of the skyscrappers had Helipads and we were informed that in the 90´s this was the only way business men travelled for fear of the streets. Now the commerical district has poverty but homeless are moved on and the streerts were imaculate. The building were really grand with very ornate doorways reaching 4 meters in hight - not unlike some builds found in Londons 'City'.
On the weekend we also went to a market in one of the largest plazas, the market was fantatsic selling leather goods, many semi precious stones and typical Bahian goods. The most impressive part was the food area and also the centre of the Plaza which was dominated by artists painting and selling their work. We ate freshly cooked chinese in the Plaza and happliy wondered round the art looking at the different influences. The value was incredible - many times in Sao we both said that we wished we were flying home from this city. Becuase they don´t have tourists prices are fare and the pound goes so far.
In terms of Museums we had left a Monday for this - this proved a deffinate mistake and we had forgot that Brazil closes on Mondays! We unfortunately trekked to the other side of town to go to the Musem of Brazilian Culture that had come highly reccommended to find it closed, we had also planned to visit another Musem close by but also found this closed. :( sooooo we went shopping! Bough the new Harry Potter book, which kept Andy entertained for all of 3 days!
All in all we loved Sao Paulo - thogh we do appreciate that we were fortunate to find such good accomodation (booked through Hostel World.com) so cheap and in a great location. We found the city full of so much culture, the people charming and friendly and overall,a city we felt very comfortable in.