Well it certainly is a big city. From the top of the 37th floor of one of the buildings in Centro we couldn’t see where the skyscrapers ended.
Keia and I arrived at the rodoviária in São Paulo around 6am on Friday. We took a cab straight to John’s apartment and passed out for a couple of hours before going to explore the city. São Paulo has a lot of culture, as in museums and galleries, restaurants and nightclubs. We started out by taking a cab downtown and walking through Pinacoteca (art museum), Estação de Luz (a very old and ornate train station that is still in use), and Museo de Língua Portuguesa. It felt more like being in a big city in the United States to me. If you can imagine “Brazil goes to New York” on a slightly more… unorganized, yet equally grandiose level. We also hit up the Mercado Municipal where we filled up on fruits upon fruits upon fruits. The vendor just wouldn’t let us walk away without trying one more sweet, exotic piece of produce. I think I tried a wider variety of fruits in that half hour than I might have in my entire life. By the time we headed upstairs for an infamous mortadella sandwich, we were all too full to actually eat anything, so we headed back to the apartment by way of MASP (another famous art museum that’ll have to wait until our next trip for a look-around inside). That night we headed back to Centro to dine at a restaurant near Augusta Street, where we went out later on with some more friends. The picanha was fabulous and the music at the boate afterward was too.
Day two took us first to the neighborhood of Liberdade. There is a lot of Japanese culture there, and on weekends there is a market going on in the streets. We ate some traditional street food and drank some bubble tea before leaving for the Jardins District of SP. Rua Oscar Freire is known for having some of the most fashionable (and expensive) stores and restaurants in the city. It is apparent as soon as you step out of the car. The shoe stores were like a playground (for me and Keia anyway) and I could curl up in the café of any one of the bookstores for hours if I had the chance. We walked around until just before sunset, and on the way home we stopped at Hotel Unique (pronounced in Portuguese “Oo-ni-key”) to go up to the rooftop bar and get another view of the city. The hotel was luxurious, and designed by someone famous whose name I can’t remember amongst all of the other famous architects’ works we encountered. It was a day of sights, not like the amazing natural wonders we have here in Rio, but a different kind of man-made elegance. We headed back to the apartment and ordered pizza for dinner (with tomato sauce!) while we got ready for the party that night. John’s friends trickled in as the night went on, and we got to meet a lot of people from all over the world who are now living in SP. It is something Keia and I have to consider as we start the great job hunt. There is a demand for engineers here in Brazil, and after taking the time to learn the language, the opportunities seem endless if we’re brave enough to take advantage of them. It’ll be interesting to see what this next year brings.
Sunday we woke up late and caught the bus back to Rio. It’s about a 6 hour drive, so we were home in enough time to unpack and settle back in to life before this week was officially underway. It’s going to be a really busy one with all the schoolwork we have coming up and the English classes we’ll be starting to teach. I’ll do my best to stay updated though.