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Final Farewells in Sampa

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As I was only going to be staying in Sao Paulo a few days, I wanted to be right in the epicentre of all the action, Avenida Paulista.

I found an awesome pousada in Jardims that had a really charming feel to it, all while a stonesthrow (with a slingshot perhaps) away from my favourite places.

Livararia Cultura – a bookshop to beat the pants off any I’ve seen… (see picture above for just one of the many areas within this megaplex of literacy) I love the giant dragon in the middle!

Frans Cafe – even with the irregular table service, you come back to have the great coffees, cakes and of course, to be seen.

MASP & Parque Triannon – both opposite each other on Avenida Paulista, these places are both great spots for the eyes to take a deserving break from the monotony of Sao Paulo’s endless cement buildings. It’s a big city after all, with more than 22 million in wider Sao Paulo.

Conjunto Nacional, Rua Augusta, Shopping Frei Caneca – all fantastic spaces to meet, eat and feel a part of it all…

All too soon it was teary farewells and I was once again on a plane, headed for Buenos Aires, then home…

(Thanks Brazil! Another awesome trip!)

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Sao Paulo – Restaurant Week!

Last time I was in town, it was Fashion Week – this time it was Restaurant Week, and I have to say, it is the BEST IDEA EVER!

Sydney, are you listening? Feel free to steal it… and soon!

All the top, and I do mean top restaurants in Sao Paulo create a special one-week only set menu for around 30-40 Reais ($25 AUD more or less) which includes an entree, main and dessert.

It’s a busy week, and the hip, social scene of Sao Paulo taketo the streets every night to take advantage of the bargains and experience some of the finest food the country has to offer for a fraction of the usual cost. 

We trundled our way along to the already packed ‘Capim Santo’, where I was so tempted by the other normal menu, I ended up ordering from the usual menu for the normal price. I was not disappointed! A flavoursome Baiano dos Dois, fantastic entrees with flavours from the north of Brazil all tantalizing my tastebuds. It was a great way to say farewell to friends Ricardo and Carol. Saudades!

 

Saturdays at Sao Benedito

Hundreds of people crowd the streets alongside the plaza, where a fair has been set up selling various foods and artesan items. We grab a ‘pastel’ (deep fried pastry of salami and cheese) and head into the street where the throng of people seem to have grown in the past few minutes.

It seems as if they’ve closed the side street between the park and a few bars just for the fair on Saturday, but then again, this is Brazil. The street is still open, and cars move at a snails pace through a crowd of drinking, laughing, and energetic Brazilians.

A few enterprising women have dragged giant eskies and are selling beers, soft drinks and spirits to the gathering and thirsty crowd, and its definitely added to the buzz in the area.

It’s Saturday afternoon, and this is just another weekend for the Paulistanas. For me, it’s amazing… and besides you never know who you might end up talking to in the crowd…

When music transcends…

Thiago

I caught a live music show in Sao Paulo last night, and absolutely loved it.
Thiago Pethit was the main attraction, and he really delivered. His style is unique, but if I had to compare him to anyone, I’d probably say he has Mika-stylings, only Thiago is far more entertaining than Mika.

He sings in Portuguese, English and French, and is quite the talented and animated performer.

He was supported by another local act, Letuce, whose name sounds far more interesting when pronounced in Portuguese, than it does in English… 🙂 I think she was pregnant to the lead guitarist, but this could neither be confirmed or denied… hehehe

I loved it when both Thiago and Letuce sang in English. They had passion, musicality and mostly had their English accents perfected. The pronunciation made me smile, just as it seems to make the locals here smile when I speak with them in Portuguese. It’s those subtle inflections that always give you away as an ‘estrangeiro’ or foreigner…

(Side note: Brazilians have a really difficult time pronouncing the differences between ‘beach’ and ‘bitch’ in English… Also ‘can’t’ and well, you know the other word… It reminds me a little of Air New Zealand’s Rico!  In reverse, I always have trouble ordering bread in Brazil, as one of the words for penis is unfortunately far too similiar for my ear to detect…)

The performance venue, from what I can ascertain, is the performance hall of SESC, a group formed to push the agenda of social education and promote creativity and culture for the past 60 years. It must be working, as the show had a really had a fantastic vibe, and drew a very eclectic crowd of Paulistanas (locals from Sao Paulo).

Anyway it was strange, and comforting at the same time, to hear Lou Reed covers in the middle of this gigantic metropolis that is Sao Paulo. Thanks Thiago for a great show… I thoroughly enjoyed myself!

This moment was just one of the many secrets that the city unlocked for me during this visit. Thanks to Ricardo for lining up the tickets and sharing the experience with me.

Fashion Weak

Unknownname

It’s Fashion Week here in Sao Paulo…

Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore are making appearances, mostly at the airport and at private parties – not so much on the main streets of Sao Paulo…

Fashion Week seems to happen largely behind closed doors here in the city. Only the elite, the fashionistas and the chosen can enter.

I’m clearly not one of any of the above! I’m what you might call Fashion Weak… wearing the simple attire of jeans and a tee, standard fare for backpackers.

Foreigners without exclusive VIP passes to Fashion Week, can at the very least take solace in that the week is referred to locally in English. (English must be fashionable or something…)

I made the mistake of translating ‘fashion week’ into its portuguese equivalent ‘semana de moda’ and was faced with strange stares and a few quiet laughs or two…

Sao Paulo – City of Secrets

Adam

I must admit that I forgot how at odds with itself, Sao Paulo can first appear to be to a foreigner… It’s a city of the very rich living alongside the extremely poor. At every turn, a new neighbourhood or ‘bairro’ each with something unique to offer – whether shocking or exciting.

From the rich streets of Jardins, where Cartier & Gucci abound, to the bustling side streets of the former red light district near Rua Augusta, to the Japanese influences of Liberdade or the historic Centro – each is unique. Then again there are other streets altogether that I just don’t feel like entering.

This is a city of secrets. Its beauty has to be found, it is not apparent from the outset. It starts with the drive in from the airport, through some of the poorer neighbourhoods of the city outskirts… it’s unsettling for the foreigner to see as a first sight, but the city is yet to reveal its beauty.

Keep in mind that this city and its wider metropolis contains tens of millions of people, almost the same amount of people in this one city as in all of Australia, so there is bound to be a clash of the classes as these masses of people congregate together.

It’s a city that can frustrate, confuse and confound, but more more awaits for the traveller with patience, and a sense of humour. Incredible art, food, culture and friends can be found in some of the most unlikeliest places.

To unlock this city’s secrets, you need to be open-minded and up for the challenge, but once you start unlocking them, you’ll find that Sao Paulo will take a place of pride within your heart.

Sao Paulo, eu te amo!