Thoughts about São Paulo Part 2

One month ago I was writing about my thoughts about São Paulo. Today I want to continue this and I am going to add things I observed the last days:

São Paulo – The city of Helicopters

I already told in this blog, that the traffic in São Paulo is horrible. These days I was reading in the local news paper, that the biggest wish of the majority of the inhabitants of São Paulo is, that one day they need less than 30min in average to work. People who have money can realize this dream already and fly to their office or to business partners with an helicopter. That is why a lot of business buildings have a heliport and you always can see helicopters flying over the city. And here an interesting fact: The neighborhood of Vila Olimpia where I work has more heliports than bus stops…

Heliports in Vila Olimpia

Heliports in Villa Olimpia – More Heliports than bus stops [Source: Google Maps]

Thumps up – The gestures of the Paulistas 

The most used gesture of the people in São Paulo is making the thumbs up move. If you greet your doorman and say “beleza” or “tudo bem” (Cool, Everything okay) you show your thumb and smile. If someone is explaining you something and want to be sure that you got it, you will see his thumb. You will easily get used to that when you live in Sao Paulo. But take care of what gesture you are use in certain situation. Clapping with your back of your hand in the other hand means “hurry up” in Germany –  in Brazil it might be understand a bit sexually offensive…

Eating with Brazilians

Since I was a little boy my family taught me where to put the knife and the fork when you prepare the table for dinner or lunch – fork to the left, knife to the right. Here in Brazil its different. Brazilians are eating with the fork in the right and with the knife in the left hand. I tried it – its super hard to use, or I am just not used to it. Even if it seems weird, its easier to eat rice with the fork in the right hand (and here they eat a lot of rice) but cutting meat can be super tough. But the food is very nice and varied in Brazil and it is also possible to get very healthy food, which can be challenging in other parts of South America. So far my favorite food is meat from the barbecue (Churrasco) even if my Argentinian friend Juan is preparing a better meat from the Churrasco – But of course, he is Argentinian…

Juan preparing the Churrasco

The way to work through the unpredictable traffic

My apartment is around 5.5 KM from my office. If I would have a bicycle I would be in 20 minutes in the office. But I don’t have one and that might be the reason I am still alive because if you’re riding a bicycle in São Paulo there are easy ways to get involved in accidents: Crazy bus drivers, motorcycles which appear out of nothing and cars who don’t like to use their blinker and surprise you with their unexpected driving maneuvers… But if you’re walking through São Paulo you have the same risks – so take care! I am using the public transportation work and I have different options: On direct bus, two buses, bus and train, metro – metro -train. If I take the bus in the morning I need 25 to 45 minutes, in the afternoon 40 to 60 minutes, depending how the traffic is. And traffic is unpredictable – sometimes there is absolutely no movement, sometimes the streets are free. There is a law that depending of your licence blade you’re are not allowed to drive a certain times, I guess the traffic has to do something with this. Its a cool idea but I am sure that the administration failed and that on some days are very less cars on the street and on other days its full. Plus I never saw traffic police checking this and I don’t know how much you pay if you do drive your car.

Traffic in Sao PauloSão Paulo during the rush hour – also city buses are stuck in traffic [Pic: Julian Busquets]

There are two options from where you are more or less independent of the traffic: The Metro-Train connection or walking. I normally walk every day at home and it takes me 55min for the 5.5KM. Its good to exercise after the whole day in the office and catch some (fresh) air. But if its raining its not the best idea and unfortunately it rains a lot in São Paulo. So taking the train and then the metro and another metro home is fast (40 – 45min) and traffic independent but the train is always super full, so full that you push yourself in the train, thinking that there is absolutely no space for anyone and still there are people who manage to get in. Then for the next 10 minutes you have a fat belly from a stranger on your back and the boobs of a woman on your arm. Your hands are checking your pockets to avoid pick-pocketing while you don’t need a free hand to hold your self in the train – you can’t fall anyways…

Around São Paulo – The beach is not that far…

Its weekend and you have no idea what to do? Sometimes it is just necessary to leave the city for a while and for that you a various options. You can do long trips to Rio, Parati or Florianopolis – but for that you need a least a holiday weekend with 3 or 4 free days. For a normal weekend you have options like Ubatuba (Famous for surfing, 4h from SP), São Sebastião and Ilha Bella (3h),  or Guaruja (2h) from São Paulo. To Guaruja you can go on one day, we also already did it to go with the first at 6 in the morning to Guaruja right after the club, so we spent our hangover on the beach, which is way better than being at home and do nothing! Sometimes there can be the possibility to stay for free in a friends, or in a friend of a friends house which let you save the cost for the hostel. I spent this weekend for example with a 4 friends in a friend of a friends house 200m from the beach and it was just an incredible place. No tourist, the house was super nice with pool, hammocks, barbecue, palm tree-garden a super nice decoration. The beach was so so, but 15min with the car through a dirt road was one of the nicest beaches I’ve ever been and it was almost empty because it rained before and everyone left…

Jump on the secret beach

Once you’re on the beach you have several options: Go surfing (what I really like, but you need a beach with good waves and less people), do snorkeling,  drink beer, play beach ball or just relax and do nothing. After weekends like this you don’t want to go back to the city but very fast you get used again to the city with all its special things like helicopters, people giving you thumps up, nice food or crazy traffic. Things which makes you think about it and which makes somehow enjoying your life in São Paulo…

Reisevorbereitung

Mathias Written by:

One Comment

  1. 2. February 2012
    Reply

    Wonderful!! It seems that Sao Paulo is a vibrant city as Hong Kong. The only difference must be that Sao Paulo has almost twice the population, and it has the unpredictability of a Latin American city. From your Sao Paulo thoughts I’m starting to get more interested in visiting Sao Paulo one day. I don’t know when, but I’m sure I’d like to visit Brazil one day and practice portunhol: “Beleza” (thumbs up!).
    Greetings from the Far East my friend! Ate mais!

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