Days spent: 1 + 1/2
Days recommended: it depends on what you fancy. If you are a museum fanatic, probably 3 days are better.
Where we slept: our friend Talita hosted us in trendy Bela Vista. She lowered our expectations by saying that the flat was nothing special, when it turned out it was great and had a stellar skyline view.
What we ate: Japanese food (honouring São Paulo’s Japanese heritage), goiabada (guava jelly) with Minas cheese (also known as Romeo and Juliet) for breakfast, vaca atolada (Brazilian beef rib and cassava casserole, try it @ Piñeros), Brazilian pastel.
What we drank: a lot of ice cold beer (Talita made sure we tried all the Brazilian brands), fruit shakes, coconut water, caldo de cana/garapa (sugar cane juice).
How we travelled: we reached São Paulo from Paraty by bus (6 hours ride with a company called Reonidas). In the metropolis we took the underground but mostly moved around with Uber. Of course we walked a lot.
How many km we walked: 25 km.
How São Paulo affected our wallets: hard to tell when you’re hosted by a friend.
Issues we encountered: this is a tough one. Let’s say that we didn’t encounter any because Talita, who lives and works in São Paulo, took a day off to show us around and we just followed. We noticed though, that her eyes were wide open throughout the day. Safety is an issue in this city: you need to pay attention in many neighbourhoods and definitely don’t walk alone when it gets dark. Crack addicts are around every corner if not directly up in your face, and, as much as they are in their zombie status during the day, they get dangerous and violent at night. If Talita had not been with us we would have definitely felt quite unsafe. I wouldn’t recommend to visit this city as a solo traveller.
Would we recommend it? Yes. After all, with its 22 million inhabitants, impressive skyline, urban culture and social contradictions, São Paulo deserves a spot in your Brazilian “must do” list.
Analogue tips: make the most of São Paulo’s architecture and street art. I regret not having taken any black and white shots of the urban silhouettes and patterns or not owning a wide angle lens.
What to do:
- Bump into businessmen and shopaholics while strolling around Paulista, São Paulo’s rendition of Manhattan.
- Pick a Japanese restaurant in Japanese town, grab your chopsticks and give in to the best sushi you can get in Brazil.
- Find yourself a “Feira do produtor” (farmers market), chat with the genuinely nice vendors and discover how fruit should really taste. Even better when your girlfriend’s blue eyes are drawing the attention of the farmers and they insist on you trying the goods they’re selling!
- Pick a bar, ask for a chopp (ice cold draft beer) and cool off before going back to your sightseeing duties in the city centre
- Enjoy one of the best panoramic views of São Paulo from the top of Banespa building.
- Play your best hipster while walking the artsy streets of Vila Madalena neighbourhood and stop by Beco do Batman, aka graffiti paradise, for a quick photoshoot.
Things we missed:
- the museums. The weather was too good and sunny to lock ourselves indoors so we just opted for some outdoors activities.
- Edificio Copan (home to 5000 people and a very famous piece of architecture). Unfortunately some maintenance works were on and the whole facade was covered.
Who deserves a big thank you: Talita for making us feel like home and for taking such an outstanding care of us.
LIVING LIKE A LOCAL: MARINGA’
Maringá, Talita’s hometown, served as our getaway from São Paulo.
Spoilt rotten isn’t enough to describe the treatment me and Isa got from Talita and her welcoming and generous family. Plenty of Brazilian typical homemade meals, gentlemen and ladies grooming sessions, chilled out times by the pool, Brazilian BBQ based on picaña, linguiça and garlic cheesy bread with a bunch of easy going locals… 3 days in Talita’s country house were the perfect way to experience on our skin how it feels like to live like a Brazilian.
Olympus OM-1, Kodak Portra 160 (35)/ Fuji Velvia 100 (35)
Olympus OM-1, Afga CT Precisa 100 (35)
Pentax (Talita’a father camera), Kodak Gold 200 (35)
5-6-7-8-9/02/2016, São Paulo + Maringá (Brazil)