We traveled from Patigonia to Sao Paulo by flight. Our flight was delayed, and super rough, with choppy air that bucked us forever. You know its bad when the drink service is cancelled.
We landed at a suburban airport. It was new and It reminded us of the Detroit airport with all the stainless steel walls and large windows. The flight here was cheap. So we found these great flight tickets and later realized that the airport was 90 KM from town. Silly us, it was like buying tickets for Lansing when we needed to be in Detroit. It was South America weird again. The airline (Azul, who ever heard of that) provided a FREE bus to a major shopping mall in to Sao Paulo. They knew the airport was in the middle of nowhere.
At the mall we found the help desk and the attendant was so helpful not only helping with directions and a cab, but she also called our airbnb host to explain our delay in arrival. We grabbed an authorized taxi and headed to our Airbnb. This Airbnb is in a modern high rise of 15 stories, we are greeted by the owners, Mario and Fatama. The place is brand new, the furniture and supplies are brand new and we believe we are the first guests. They wanted to show us everything in the apartment in rapid Portuguese. At one point the man took Janet into the bathroom and pointed out the hot and cold shower knobs and explained “hot and cold” like she had never been in a shower before. They were very proud of their new apartment. Mario speaks some english and translates for his wife. Please note that Portuguese is not similar to Spanish. Simple example, “Thank You” is Gracias for Spain, but Abrigado for Brazil.
They provide us wine, whiskey, beer, frozen food, and chocolates which is really beyond the call of duty. The apartment has 2 lanai, with sliding glass windows that allow us anexpansive view of our part of the city. There are many high rises. On our first night it rained and from the apartment we observed a lovely rainbow. As we found out later, Sao Paulo is mostly high rise residential.
The traditional center core of Sao Paulo is different than Buenos Aires, Argentina. More dirt, more trash, homeless people everywhere. The traffic is constant and tedious. In Sao Pablo we skipped our normal free walking tour and arranged for a semi private driving tour, we just did not feel the city safe enough and that was the right call. Their main square is rather in shambles, full of homeless people. The city has built out with huge suburbs of new high rises (where we stayed). The subway system is good, but better yet UBER has been in Brazil for awhile. Our tour guide proudly, or sheepishly, took us to 5 sites, the Municipal Futbol Stadium, the Municipal Park, like central Park NY, the main Catholic Cathedral, the first Church established by the Jesuits, Paulista Blvd (the social strip, and finally the art district.
There was not much else offered except the large central market where we opted to be dropped off. This was fun. We had food tastings of exotic fruits, cheeses, fruit drinks, a new diet cola that tasted like Rock and Rye, and a market sandwich. The salesmen were showman and had real polished presentations. Yes, we bought fruit, some not available in the USA. Our sandwich vendor had us sit, was friendly, and wanted to practice his english. He was Portuguese of Lebanese descent. We talked a little about the Arabic population in Michigan, including our good friends from St. Georges Orthodox Church. My impression was he was of Christian faith.
This grid is from the local market. The stacks are dried fish that is a holiday tradition
Our next goal was to find an official Apple Store and get the MacBook Air Computer fixed.
We traveled to this beautiful mall at 5 PM, were greeted warmly, and left it for repair. At 10 PM they emailed us that Janet’s baby was fixed. Thank you Apple, after two months, two new motherboards and a new power system we are back in business. We picked it up the next day and then celebrated by seeing our first motion picture on our trip. We had big buttered popcorn!
On the last day we went to Paulista Boulevard, the social party street. We took a UBER again. As we entered onto the street my first view was of musicians marching along with Santa Claus and his sleigh. This was the end of the parade, but the sidewalks were packed and the traffic blocked. There were food stands and stages of musicians with sound gear, and of course security. We walked on the street with everyone, until we arrived at the main Art Gallery, our initial target. The Gallery is a modern structure which is deceiving in it size. Many of the exhibition floors are subterranean. The starting point is actually the second story reached by stairway or elevator. The first exhibit is an art history of the common folk of Brazil, more crafts, print blocks and wood carvings. See photos.
The second floor is really a wonder of creative display. There are no walls. The paintings of great worldly artists are displayed so as to look to be suspended in air. This display technique impressed me as a guide for others to turn large open spaces, perhaps abandoned buildings, into galleries, and become neighborhood anchors in urban areas. The art was wonderful. You see Picasso, Monet, Rembrandt, Diego Rivera, and many others.
The final exhibit came from local art community where we saw urban paintings of the Sao Paulo area and scene. The crowded nature of the city is evident. See some photos.
All this art was the high point of the day, maybe the high point of our visit to the City. We topped off afternoon with street food of stuffed fried cheese balls and Sugar Cane drinks. Our day ended as it did for most of the revelers when a deluge of rain fell soaking everything. It was time to find a taxi and head home. Good bye Sao Paulo. We know your jealous, but we will just have to compare you to Rio de Janeiro Sao Paulo, Brazil