Friday, June 11, 2010

Sao Paulo I (dia um)

20 nov. 2009
Sampa here we come!
I have done sooo much last-minute research and preparations so that we can really take advantage of the 4 days we'll be in Sampa. This was my main reference I found this Blog about São Paulo especially helpful about restaurants and ways of getting around, from someone who lives there:

I felt like I was already there just waiting in the airport because there were all these people dressed much differently than people in Salvador. In fancy suits, and eccentric designer clothes, some Japanese-looking people (! the first I had seen apart from my peers) and an older woman wearing these awesome metallic purple shoes! they looked great!

Anyway Lena and I weren't sure how to get around but the people at the airport said the cheapest way was to take this airport express bus (we were skeptical about this because we saw some other city buses, but we wouldn't know how to take them or what our stop was supposed to look like so, what are we gonna do?) Lena had all the information about how to find our hostel. We decided to stay at Pousada dos Franceses which was rather cheap compared to some other and seemed to get good reviews. (But totally a last-minute choice....for our last-minute trip). So I just sat back and trusted Lena. We were supposed to get off in front of some tall colorful building named Maksoud this place right here:
We got a little lost once we were dropped off but we finally found our cute little Pousada dos Franceses.

It was R$39 each person per day in a "collective room". It was an all-female 8 person room and Lena and I shared a bunk bed.

The banheiro for our room:
Yeah we were a little surprised to see the there were clear glass door in a bathroom for several people, Lena and I just put up a towel and it was all good though. 2 showers and 3 bathrooms for 8 girls. But there were some others downstairs for everyone.
We each got a locker with a lock and key too.
Then we put our stuff down and were off!
We were at first not really sure where to go or what but we got these maps from the hostel and figured out how to get to Avenida Paulista. Which you must visit, it's like the heart of São Paulo.
Since we were there, we decided to check out the MASP (Museu de Arte de São Paulo) .
It embodies the innovative architecture that has been a part of São Paulo's history. The museum is a huge block of cement suspended by bright red pillars and a glass elevator on the side. That goes up and above ground and down underground, there is nothing ground level!
They had an eclectic mix of exhibitions. From Rodin (a french sculpture of the late 1800s early 19oos) to local street artists. We almost didn't make it to the graffiti part which was really cool. I especially loved this kind of Japanese-inspired artwork that was up all over the wall, of a woman in a kimono getting into a Japanese bath tub but super colorful and swirly spilling all over the floor too.
But the we got out and it was pouring!!! We tried to wait it out but after 15/20 minutes we decided that it wasn't going to stop soon and so I bought this cheap poncho and a R$10 umbrella.

Then from there we walked to Rua Oscar Freire, one of the most luxurious streets in the world, and second in the Americas right after 5th Avenue in New York.
They have all these chic shops and high fashion designer places. Even for BABIES!
But this was all window-shopping necessarily by choice though: all the stores were closed by that time already.
But it was still fun to look into the stores and the streets were lined with Christmas decorations.
check this out they even have fish ponds under their displays.
The only place that was open and not even that noticeable was this "Mercado Chic" that was a collection of different little tents in an alley between stores (but a pretty wide alley nothing sketchy) and every little stand had things designed by the person selling them. There was a stand with all these really cool, original, kind of fancy dresses, this other place with a woman who made this cool headband with little tiny silk flowers in them that you could braid into your hair. And there was another with all these baby onesies with really colorful prints/patterns on them. They were soooo adorable. and some other really cool jewelry and headbands and I was debating whether I should buy one or not because they were kind of expensive like $15/20 dollars for a really cool headband (high quality it was no little cheap thing really) but I knew it was totally unnecessary. I wanted to support these women and people though, so it was hard. But in the end I didn't buy it.

Then we got hungry and Lena and I thankfully have compatible stomachs and palattes, and we both decided if we were going to spend money on something in São Paulo it would be the FOOD!
Sampa is known for the culinary experience that they offer, and honestly I'm sure that places like these back in California would be 4 times as expensive so we took advantage I guess.

I really wanted to go to this Mestiço (or Mestizo for you Spanish-speakers). It's supposed to be, as the title suggests, a fusion of cuisines from all over the world with Brazilian twist.

The menu :

Above the disposable (slash "keepable" souvenir) place-mat.
I ordered the Dehli, Indian-spiced grilled chicken rice and fried bananas.
Lena ordered some Thai curry plate.

They were both really delicious and worth it, it was may be like 20 dollars but I really think that the way the food looks does not do it justice. it was so delicious. And we also ordered freshly squeezed juice and the service was fantastic!

Then we walked back home. When I said we would be spending our money on food, it was intense. We didn't pay for bus or taxi or anything these were pretty long walks and even in the dark, but I noticed I didn't really feel unsafe at any point. It all seemed pretty safe, well-lit all the people we've met so far are really polite and helpful.
The accent they have here is very noticeable it's cool though it really makes the shift feel all the more dramatic.

At the hostel, everyone seems to be really nice I love Beto the guy who's at the front desk or rather supposed to be there, but he's really all over the place talking to everyone showing people around. He's this young cheerful guy with long hair brown hair, super accomodating and funny.
There is this other guy who started talking to me and Lena when we were in the living room planning/mapping out our next day and he is this like rocker guy with tattoos and a guitar, he really wanted to practice his English and I really wanted to practice my Portuguese so he spoke to me in English and I answered in Portuguese. So anyway he is from Sao Paulo, just visiting his friends that live at the hostel. He told us about his rock star dreams and how much he would like to get out of Sampa and go to California. He is a politician's son and he just doesn't like how the politics works there in the city. He told me he thinks everyone there is pretentious, materialistic, and snobby. So I don't know, may be he hung out with those kind of people, I don't think everyone I met today is like that although in a big city that's as wealthy (in some sectors) I guess that's always expected. But over all I have no complaints. Except my feet hurt! haha, but i think it was all worth it. Tomorrow is going to be another full day.

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