Tuesday, November 5, 2013

São Paulo (October 4th - 6th, 2013)

Although we had seen some beautiful landscapes in Peru, I hadn't realized how I had missed seeing more greenery until we flew over and landed in São Paulo. From the air, the city and its surroundings seemed really beautiful and green. During our first metro ride there, I experienced another pleasant surprise: many people were reading books. Before that, I hadn't seen a person reading in public in what had seemed as several months.

We spent our first afternoon in São Paulo at the market and around the Cathedral. The market was really colorful and everything looked appetizing. We settled down at a small diner and had a mortadela sandwich, said to be typical of the area. Eating it was certainly worth it, but also a bit of a challenge: the sandwich contained four times more mortadela sausage than bread. Our hunger satisfied, we headed towards the Cathedral and the adjacent square (Praça da Sé). The São Paulo Cathedral is considered one of the largest neo-gothic cathedrals in the world, and indeed, it was very impressive. On the nearby square, however, there were many homeless people, and we even saw a food handout.

The cathedral 

We spent the next morning walking along Avenida Paulista and admiring its skyscrapers and the most expensive real estate in South America. Thereafter we joined an excellent walking tour in downtown São Paulo, and learned much about the history and current state of the city and of the whole country. During the tour, we also discovered buffet lunches. These are good and cheap, and they immediately became our favorite way of eating in Brazil.

This is the amount of taxes in Reais the Brazilians paid from January 1st - October 5th 2013.  What happens to the money afterwards is a source for frequent protests. 

São Paulo has numerous ethnic communities, including many people of Asian descent. Being in the mood for Japanese food, we went for a stroll in the Asian district. We found some maki, wasabi and soy sauce in a shop and ate it just outside on a small square.

On the following day, we got an excellent view of the city center from the top of the oldest skyscraper in the city - the Martinelli building. During its construction, Martinelli planned to make a 30-story building, but only received a licence to build one with 25 stories. To get around this, he built another house - a five story mansion - on top of it. This was where Martinelli and his family used to live, and apparently, it was the place for the best parties in town at the time.

The Martinelli building (middle), with a five-story mansion on top

We had a very nice visit to the top of the Martinelli building

Afterwards we wanted to go to the Ibirapuera park. This should have involved taking a metro and later a bus. Unfortunately, after waiting about 30 minutes for the bus, we saw a note saying that the bus route had been changed one day before and that the buses go from a different location now. We were a bit overwhelmed with the Portuguese language and didn't figure out where we were supposed to go. Thus, we returned to the hostel for our things and headed for Rio de Janeiro.

You're very welcome to have a look at our other photos of São Paulo.

No comments:

Post a Comment