So after a week long delay to our departure, a change of arrival destination and a shoot out whilst at Frankfurt airport, we finally arrived in Sao Paulo in the early hours of the morning. An initial attempt to buy an orange juice made us realise that neither of us spoke a word of Portuguese and the Brazilians weren’t too hot at English – this was going to be fun.
After a bus ride into the city, we arrived at Hotel Natal near Placa De Republica, which was great value for money and very centrally located but not somewhere you’d like to wander around at night if you don’t know the city and can’t speak the language. Although the backpacker district is somewhat more expensive, it’s also somewhat safer so perhaps in hindsight we would have been better off there. At night, the streets around Centro fill with homeless and we saw lots of heroin and crack use.
One of our main reasons for a stop in Sao Paulo (most backpackers skip it as there’s not a huge amount to see there) was the nightlife. It has some of the best clubbing in the world and lucky for us Trentemoller and Booka Shade (two huge DJs if you’re not into that sort of thing) were both playing that evening. So after securing some tickets (not cheap I tell you!) we headed off to grab some traditional Brazilian food.
We jumped on the Metro towards the Municipal Market where we tucked into a pastel (a bit like a pastie but with thinner pastry) and the biggest mortadella (ham) sandwich you have ever seen. (Check out the pic if you don’t believe me!) After lunch we browsed the numerous cheese and meat stalls before heading back for a few hours sleep – Brazilians don’t start to party until the early hours of the morning so after a 12 hour flight we needed a bit of rest.
The next day, after a brilliant night out and without much of a hangover to speak of (thankfully) we headed off to explore the city. However, after deciding on a walk around the impressive Ibapuera Park, the heavens opened and the rain began to fall. And fall. And fall. Soaked to the skin, we gave up and caught a rather expensive cab back to the hotel for a hot shower. If you are thinking of coming to Sao Paulo we would recommend visiting if sunny!
On Sunday the weather seemed a little better (it was short lived) so we caught the Metro to the Japanese quarter (Liberdade) where we had a brilliant time trying to order Tawainese food from a Portuguese menu, took some great photos of the local graffiti and wandered the small weekend market. Then it was off to the bus station for an 12 hour overnight trip to Campo Grande in preparation for a tour of the Pantanal and some wildlife spotting.