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Published: September 1st 2010
We arrived in Brazil and our luck was up and down for the first night after getting off the plane, the first thing we saw was McDonald's, bonus McChicken meal thankyou very much. As we had got a plane at last minute I still had 145 Bolivianos left in my pocket and soon realised when nowhere in the airport would change them that I had a problem. Anyway I was sure somewhere in Sao Paulo would change them so I forgot about that problem, got a map from tourist information and headed on the airport dropoff bus to Sao Paulo (best way to get to and from the airport from central Sao Paulo). The woman at tourist information had told us to ignore Lonely Planet and keep clear of Republica, it was rough, so we took her advice and headed to Paulista where she had said all the hotels were. She was wrong we walked round for 2 hours looking for hotels/hostels and found 3 luxury hotels that were R$ 160 a night (58 quid) which is definitely not something you can afford traveling.
After basically begging the receptionist at Ibis hotel (which was fully booked) to use their internet we
found a hostel just round the corner cheap as chips. We got to Okupe and it was very nice, it was cheap because it was in the process of being finished but the staff were friendly, very helpful and you got a free Caiprinha every night you stayed (only for the first week, while they finished off). We paid a bit more for a double room dropped our bags and headed to the bar, we got chatting with a Kiwi called Rafael and the barman Gabriel who lived nearby. We had our free Caiprinhas and a few more then headed to bed because both of them had told us about the amount of stuff we needed to see in Sao Paulo.
We woke up and found that breakfast in Brazil was completely different to the rest of South America they basically had ham and cheese sandwiches/toasties, fruit and cakes which was a welcome surprise compared to the bread and jam you get everywhere else. The first thing on the agenda was the football museum (obviously) which was built within the Pacaembu stadium the home of Corinthians and only 15 minutes walk from our hostel. It was
really interesting to see how Brazilian football has matured and the legends that have been formed along the way. I'm sure the museum would have been 10 times better if you spoke Portuguese as only parts were in English but for R$3 (just over a quid) I couldn't complain.
After the football museum we nipped in the supermarket to grab lunch and had arranged to meet Gabriel at 3pm, he was gunna take us to a Samba practice band session, so we quickly made pasta and headed there. It took about 30 minutes to get to the school and we stayed nearly 2 hours watching different drums, maracas and dances, it was the closest thing we were gunna get to carnival but I was happy to experience even a little bit.
After Samba we decided it was too late to catch sunset at a high rise bar so we grabbed some Brahma from the supermarket and headed back to our hostel. We quickly got showered and changed made tea and headed to Finnigans an Irish bar nearby. We stayed there for 2 drinks while we were talking to an Italian woman about the English language then returned to Okupe to
drink cheap. We drank our cans and a few Caiprinhas, played Mammoth with Rafael and a strange American guy, ate free pizza bought by the hostel owner then headed out with Gabriel to a club.
The first club we went to was one in one out so we sacked that place off and headed to another 10 minutes walk away. We got straight in and came across a weird but good system that is common in Brazil. Basically you could either pay R$15 to get in or pay R$40 and get given a card and if you spent R$40 or more on the card on drinks entry was free. This is definitely something the UK should adopt. Another strange thing about this club, we walked downstairs and there was a Chinese guy in an Emo style band singing Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, I would love to say surprisingly he was good but he wasn't he was crap and and we exited that room quickly. After a few hours in the club we left but not without one prick trying to start a fight, Gabriel told me as we were walking home that he was accusing me of calling his
girlfriend something offensive, seen as though the only Portuguese I know is 'Por Favor'(please) and ´Obrigado´ (thankyou) I assume he was just wanting a fight. Anyway we walked away and back to the hostel as it wasn't worth the trouble in a foreign country.
Me and Hollie were quite annoyed with ourselves because we didn't get in from the club till nearly 6am therefore we didn't wake up till 1pm. We originally wanted to spend the whole day in Parque Ibirapuera so we got a mooch on detouring to Mccys for hangover food and were in the park in about an hour.
Parque Ibirapuera was lovely and reminded me of Central Park (NY) the way you step out a city with high rise buildings and into a mass of green with nice lakes. It was the first time in South America we have seen outdoor gyms with a chest press machine, chin up bars and cross trainers. I obviously had a ganders and can definitely tell already that I haven't seen a gym in nearly 3 months, definitely going to have to get back on it in Oz.
After the park we got a bit lost
in between the underpasses and overpasses then caught a bus to the ´Centro.´ I think the reason that Sao Paulo has got a bad name for itself safety wise is because of the centro. Everywhere you looked there was homeless people and beggars it makes you feel unsafe because they have nothing to lose, although at every corner there was a police car and it was a Sunday so they look like they are trying to sort it out.
After wondering round the centro for an hour trying to find somewhere to watch the sunset we were unsuccessful, beware everything is closed on a Sunday in central Sao Paulo. So we got the underground (definitely the best way to get around in Sao Paulo, R$2.80 it is cheap and very safe) to the bottom of Paulista and walked to the top stopping at a book store to finally buy Marching Powder and the Kite Runner another book recommended to me. We didn't feel unsafe at all walking for 50 minutes up Paulista at 7.45 at night and still didn't feel that unsafe walking past the homeless near our hostel with shopping for tea.
Day 4 (Leaving Sao Paulo for
We woke up and took full advantage of the cheese and ham toasties at breakfast, settled the bill and headed to the nearest underground (15 minutes walk). The underground is really good because you can pay R$2.80 and that's all, even if you are changing lines so we got from southwest Sao Paulo to northeast and got off at the International bus station (Portuguese-Tiete tube station) all for only R$2.80 a bargain and saved us about 6 hours in traffic (one negative about Sao Paulo). We then paid R$60 to get the next possible bus to Rio. I was excited about Rio but really, really enjoyed my time in Sao Paulo!
Very, very excited about Rio even if it has got a reputation for robberies and crime. Rule 1 of traveling don't listen to all the bullshit!
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