A Travellerspoint blog

Sao Paulo - The unknown city

Skyscrapers, street vendors and much more...

sunny 23 °C
View South America 2007 on miromar's travel map.

Lets see... Imagine for a minute a summer version of New York, with light coulored buildings and people dressed in a mixture of winter-summer clothes. Now mix that with a hills San Francisco style, add few people sleeping on the floor, a bunch of police standing in each corner, and the biggest concentration of street vendors in the world, and maybe, you can picture Sao Paulo.

Surreal is the word that comes to mind when describing this mega-city. The more people told me not to go, the more I was decided to. And Im glad, cause it doesnt matter how many of the big cities in the world you have been lucky to visit, each one of them has something particular and special about it. Sao Paulo is probably best known for its safety, or lack thereof. But I felt safer there that I have felt many times in London or Madrid. The presence of the police everywhere helps, yes, but the fact that the `paulistanos` walk around so careless and not afraid is what make you relax. Everybody wears watches and jewellery. Everybody speaks on the phone and listen to their ipod as they walk. So maybe this place is not as people think.

Of course, there are areas you are not supposed to go, but that is the same everywhere in the world, you just dont go! You stick to the center, and you find everybody else does the same. Even the locals. Which means that in a city with 11million of people living there you find them around in a relatively small area. And boy, I bet you will never see that much people in the street for no particular reason, in your life. Some are selling stuff, some are buying, some are sleeping, and some like me, just wondering around with no particular task. And suddenly, out of nowhere, these people begin to run, in all directions, they shout something i dont get to understand, they pack their little stalls, and they run like in a stampede. Three times I witness this curious show, without being able to figure out what is the reason for the run. It was later that evening when a local guy living in my hostel explain it to me. `Oh, they are running from the fiscales, the tax collection police` Apparently they dont have licenses to be there, so the regular police dont care about that, but the fiscales do. Really random, it was like scaping from a tsunami, and as i wasnt sure if a tsunami would reach Sao Paulo I must confess I ran like hell the three times ( and probably the vendors where thinking why!!!!)

After a rather interesting day out, I finally got back to the hotel where I met few other people and went out for a drink in a bar they were playing live music. BPM to be more precise, which I got told means brasilian popular music and it is so good that I even forgot to savour the capirinha I had in my hands.

Because that is Sao Paulo, full of action and entertainment by day and by night...

Posted by miromar 12:24 Archived in Brazil Tagged backpacking

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