03 March 2010

Sao Paulo

I can safely say that I knew nothing about Sao Paulo before going there. I've never seen a picture of it, I don't anybody who has traveled there, and I didn't know what it had to offer. Due to our excellent hosts, I was incredibly impressed with this mega-opolis.

First, you must understand how BIG Sao Paulo is. It is the third, or seventh, largest city in the world, depending on how you count. Seventeen million people call "Sampa" home, with over 250 movie theaters, 100 performance theaters, and 90 museums. Sao Paulo is the leader in South America in almost any aspect: largest hospital complex, largest shopping mall, most air passengers, most billionaires and so on. It is the 10th richest city, has the 3rd most buildings and has the most helicopters of any city in the world. Yes, it's about as big as they come.

Honestly, nothing made me think that we would like Sao Paulo, but we felt that we should see it anyways as part of our education.

Luckily, out of the 17 million people, we stayed with the two guys who were the most amazing hosts. Paulo and Thiago, kids of my mom's colleague, introduced us to everything great about Sao Paulo. Through their eyes, we gained a greater appreciation of this gigantic city. Paulo took us on a running tour, Thiago took us to a free concert. They both took us out for beers and a traditional dish of the poor people. Together we explored a bazaar/fair/flea market, listened to records, watched the Hurt Locker, went to a birthday party, and walked half way across the city in search of toilet paper at three in the morning.

Thank you Paulo and Thiago and all of your friends for showing us the city that you love.

Soooo many skyscrapers and it seems like they are all adorned with massive towers on top. This is a few blocks from where we stayed.

Down the road is this monstrosity. The architecture reminds me of the horrors of Soviet buildings. This is an art museum and is free on Tuesdays. Guess when we went?

A few blocks in the other direction leads us to the 9th richest street in the world. This is where wealthy people shop for shoes.

Thiago is a musician and knows where all of the free concerts are. Every Tuesday there is a free performance at this culture house. The night we attended, we were amazed by an instrumental acoustic band playing a combination of modern jazz and Brazilian music.

Paulo traveled to Russia earlier this year and brought back several souvenirs. On our last night there, I taught them the proper way to take vodka shots and we finished off the bottles.

I still regret the yellowness.

Thiago took us to a $8 vegetarian buffet. We went two days in a row. Then he told us about this vegan buffet, also only $8, and we asked why he was holding out.

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