In Search of the New York like Club Scene
Thanks to some frequent flyer points we decided to fly directly to Sao Paulo from Lima instead of bussing it. We arrived here at Sao Paulo on the 7th April in the early evening. As we did not really pu much planning into this we had to organsise accomodation on the fly. So after a quick bite at the Sao paulo airport we took the executive bus into Praca de Republico which is in the City Centre. Luckily we had the lonely planet on hand to aid us in finding a hotel. Hotel joamar was the spot we decided on. So we started the walk from the bus stop to the Hotel armed with Backpacks and the increasing number of accessory bags Harsh has managed to accumulate ove time. The Hotel seemed clean and hospitable but the area around it was a little bit nervy. Well we had been i tourist friendly Cusco and Mirafores in the last few weeks and the initial view in sao paulo was that we seemed the only tourists in the city centre.
Later that night we took a walk around our surrounding streets to get a quick bite to eat. Despite being a weeknight the street we were on seemed to have a party vibe with little after work Sandwhich bars housing samba musicians and street vendors armed with big boom boxes. We decided to sit at one of the more crowed cafes at the end our street and were delighted when the musician started to play and acustic version of our favourite song of the trip "Minha mia" I think thats what its called. By the tm we had dinner it was a around 10.30ish and the busy street we had walked up to get the cafe had by now began to get a lot less crowded and far more dodgey. In fact it was a pedestrian only street so you could not even get a cab if you wanted. So we rushed back to the hotel hoping not to encounter any dramas. Luckily no issues.
The next few days in sao paulo we spent exploring this vast city with the help of the friendly tourist information guys and the massive city map we had in hand. By day Sao Paulo city was a lot less scary. The Metro train system was amazingly effecient. The longest we ever had to wait for connection was 3minutes and that was on a public holiday. The only real difficulty we had with the metro was buying tickets on the first day and that was mainly due to our poor portuguese.
The first area we visited was the extremely clean and wonderfully diverse Fruit Market and Veg Market. This place was reknowned for being the best in Brazil. I think you would be hard pressed to beat it. Every thing frm Rumbutangs and Mango Steens to Unheard of Amazonian fruits. The best thing about it was each vendor would insists on you trying the produce. I think I speak fo both Harsh and myself when Saying we tasted the best Mango we had ever had here and probably the biggest. The size of a grideon I reckon. Once again my lack of Portuguese got us into problems when eating lunch here. I saw this fantastic photo of a ricota filled pastry which I thought I ordered with the help of the waitress but much to my dismay I got this monsterouse ham sandwhich instead which the locals were starring at and even a begger refused to take off me when I could not finish it.
In the progressive days we explored Jardims Paulista an wealthy area, bellavista an italian area and liberdade the Asian area of Sao Paulo. It was amazing to see how diverse the respective neighbourhoods were. Jardims Paulista was extremely safe and well lit Infact walking around at night was not an Issue. We had Dinner one night here at a beautifuly atmospheric restauran filled with a glamurous young crowd, Innovative cocktails and the most decitent Chocolate mouse. Ohh i forgot to mention it came at an equall exorbertant price bu hey it was well worth it. We also visited a fantastic Art Museom here, where we viewed a few picasso´s, rembraints, van goff´s and Renoir´s to name a few along with a lovely exibit of Brazillian photography.
Bellavista, the italian eighborhood which was only a stones throw away from the city had a completely different air about it from the houses to the people. The Restaurents were Uniquel italian too from th Pasta´s and vines right down to the Old men seating out the front, Capiche, forget about it!
Liberdade, the asian area was also a five minut stroll from the city center. We had a very filling oreintle per kilo buffet there and ejoyed walkin through the tows main street which even had the oriental lantons for street lights and a string of chinese shops. I must say i was more orderly than most asian areas I have visited.
Our nights in Sao Paulo was mainly spent persuing the city´s club scene which we had read rivalved New yorks. We spent many minutes riding the subways and many dollars in cab fares venturing into many neighbourhoods such as vila olympia and vila madelana and Jardms Paulista. However struck out most times. I think i would have been better if we went with local knowledge. It was hard to find places we liked as the nightlife was wide spread. We eventually went to one club named vegas where we spent about $20 for entry but i was all trance music. The only thing excitng was a 70+ Man dancing around trying to be 25 I think he was Brazil´s equavilan to "the Legend". The other stand out of the night was a guy who I thought was chatting up Harsh but it turned out in their conversation he mentioned to her " Your boyfriend is beautiful twice". Hey What Can I say, maybe next time Harshu.
As mentioned before we were staying on a pedestrian only street, it seemed the street and Sao Paulo City in general had an abundance of sex shops and adult cinemas(good choice of hotel Harsh), each time we came back home we had a scary stretch of about 250 meters to our hostel. Many a night we found ourselves evading drunks and druggies to get back to the safety of our hotel. I think the city center of sao paulo has been the most nervous we have been on the trip to date. One night there was a dodgey Druggie who approached yelling what sounded like Heeyyy heey heeyy in a deep voice. It seemed like he was running to us from a distance but when he came close it was like he was running in super slow motion,never the less it was scary, I wish I had my heartrate monitor on as I think it would have been higher than when we did the Inca trail. Normally Harsh complains about my lack of speed when walking, but we both discovered I walk quite fast when shit scared. Luckily we simply walked away unscaved as we were only 50 meters away from the hotel thank god or else Harsh was ready to assault him with her heels(Definition of Assualt-throw them at him and run away). I think if we had our time in sao paulo again we would have stayed in the prettier suburb of Jardims Paulista.
Well we are off to Rio next by bus, a 6 hour ride. No plan on accomodation yet but we will work that out on arrival. We are looking forward to seeing Rio away from the crowd of Carnaval and spending Easter in the City of God.