Tag Archives: Sao Paulo

Barra Funda & The Samba

With 37 degrees Sao Paulo is hotter than ever! Even the Paulistanos complain about this insane temperature. These past couple of days I was just relaxing and seeing the city. I visited the Altino Arantes (161 meter skyscraper with a great view of Sao Paulo) and the famous Pinacoteca museum. I tried to do this the day before, but I wasn’t allowed in to the building because I had no id on me and the Pinacoteca museum was closed that day. So I ended up seeing the Municipal market and a lot of metro stations ;-) But eventually I got to see it all.

I also went to the Samba bar in Vila Madalena, simply called “Bar Samba”! I was a bit nervous hahaha, because I have heard these stories about everyone is dancing at the end of the night. Everyone! So that also meant me I guess. And I don’t know any samba yet. The evening started out with a dinner and the Samba band playing slow songs. Then when the evening passed the band increased their tempo, people slowly started to get up, chairs and tables were put aside and eventually… I caught it! XD It was great! Everyone was doing there thing, dancing, chanting the songs and to be honest the band was the best! Also a professional couple gave away a little show and I knew right there that that was the way Samba is really danced!

I really like this metropolis Sao Paulo. And I have learned a few funny things during my stay here:

A zebra crossing doesn’t mean a thing. It is only an indication of where you might cross the street, but you are completely surrendered to the wrath of the cars deciding wether to stop for you or not.

Brazilians have a strange perception of distance. Many times when I asked the way, they tell me: “Oh, é perto daqui” meaning it’s nearby. In actuality this means a 2 – 3 km walk on a up-and-down landscape, which makes it even havier. So when I ask for directions and they tell me it is not so close I take the plane. Hahaha LOL

A firm “thumbs up” sign is the most used hand gesture. It used by everyone from waiters to police men on the street. It’s a constant check to see if you are on a good pace with each other.

If you see more and more street vendors, drug addicts and armed police forces it means you are entering a dangerous neighborhood. Make a right turn. Also, if you don’t see anyone openly using their smartphone, laptop, photo camera or mp3 player, there may be a reason for that. ;-)

In Europe we kiss three times on the cheek, in Rio de Janeiro two times, in Sao Paulo one time

It is funny how you can get used to things. In some places it is quite common for the wifi connection to fail for quite a period of time. Instead of complaining, you just go and do something else en try again like an hour later. Unthinkable in the Netherlands!! LOL

Sao Paulo is known for it’s marvelous Pizza’s. It’s true, I have tried a few. Decades ago there were a lot of Italian immigrants who brought the craft to Sao Paulo.

Brazilians eat diner in the afternoon and some snacks in the evening. I adjusted to this eating habit. In the beginning it was a bit strange to have a T-bone steak with rice, beans, salad and a desert around one o’ clock in the afternoon, but to be honest it is quite smart. You do actually use most of your energy in the afternoon and the evening. So why eat diner in the evening to subsequently hang on the coach watching TV!?

As long as I don’t open my mouth they see me for a Brazilian. I’m like an undercover Gringo. But I always blow my cover as soon as I start to speak or try to dance the samba! LOL. Hahahaha

These past couple of days I have also been planning the rest of my trip in Brazil. This last thing was quite a hustle. I had to decide which cities to pick, which cities to cancel and most of all how to get there? But then again, I don’t complain, because it’s a great full task :) Everyone I talk to has there favorite city or “must go to” place, but I can’t do ‘m all. I have also been told that getting around in Brazil is hard. I experienced it at first hand. For example, you’ve got dozens of competing bus companies in different places of the city, all driving to a different set of cities. I was also told you have to get your ticket way in advance and they mostly don’t speak English. So I just took a piece of paper, wrote down de dates I wanted to travel, the destination I wanted to go to and went to the Barra Funda (One of the major bus terminals in Sao Paulo). I could try and talk Portuguese, but I figured this was not the right situation and place to practice ;-). When I arrived there I saw dozens of ticket windows of the rivaling bus companies. I showed the piece of paper to the bus companies and picked the one that had like a normal price. You should never take the cheapest one, because you don’t want to end up in a shitty bus, with no airco for a 17 hour trip. Eventually I got my tickets and I must have looked very confident, because Brazilian people started asking me questions about the arrival and departure times of the busses Lol! Also getting around by plane is not transparent and really expensive. But finally I got the plan together!! This will more or less be my route:

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  • Sao Paulo
  • Paraty
  • Rio de Janeiro
  • Salvador
  • Fortaleza
  • Jericoacoara
  • Manaus (Amazone)
  • Foz do Iguaçu
  • Back to Sao Paulo

Of course on the way everything can change. And it already did like an hour ago, because Foz do Iguaçu was going to be my last stop, but while I was writing I came to talk with this guy from Brazil, who later on happened to be a famous skydiver. I could do Iguazu easily in three days from Sao Paulo. So I’m heading for the Igazu falls tonight. It is a 17 hour ride, giving me flash backs of my teenage trips to Lloret de Mar in Spain. I planned it in the evening so I could sleep. Foz do Iguaçu! Off we go!!


Sampa and the Paulistanos

I have been in Sao Paulo or Sampa as they call it, for a few days now and I really know my way around the city. I went to the Ibirapuera park (I still can’t pronounce the name) where there are a lot of buildings from the famous Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, like the Afro Museum for example which I visited. Real nice museum! I also went to the well known rue Paulista where the Art museum is. (Yeah I know, I’m getting old. I know, I know ;)

On the street I am constantly addressed in Brazilian Portuguese. Guess I really blend in with the Paulistanos as the people from São Paulo call themselves. I noticed that the weekend here starts on Wednesday, because the same bars that close early on Monday and Tuesday are packed, crowded full of people and live music from Wednesday on. I am constantly busy with the language. I really want to learn it. One time I asked for directions in Portuguese. I didn’t know what to do with the deluge of words that were replied. So I ended up asking four people the same question until I understood the words. And I mostly did it to practice my sentence four times and be understood LOL

Today I was even part of a movie set. I walked up the stairs at the Vila Madalena metro station and saw a camera crew, with sound technicians, actors and a director. First I stopped in order not to spoil the scene, but then I saw other people just continued their walk. So I also continuid mine, but as soon as I started walking I heard the director yell: “eee ação!!” wich means “Action!” I don’t know what was being filmed, but I guess I’m in it. hahaha

I ended my day with a Yoga class I followed at rue Harmonia. Really nice! It was completely in Portuguese, but with a little help from the teacher and now and then peeking sideways to what the other students did, I managed. For exemple when the teacher said: “pé direito na frente” I had no idea what he was really saying, but I recognized by the sound of it, that I had to put my right foot up front. When the teacher uses the words “respire” (=breathe in) and “expire” (=breathe out) I didn’t know wether to breathe in or breathe out, because the words sound really similar in Portuguese. I just listened wether everyone was breathing in or breathing out. Surviving tactics in the Yoga class haha. I was like super relaxed after that. I did hear a some bones crack inside of me during the class, but I guess that’s a good thing though. ;)


Oh yeah, and the sunglasses… the spacey ones… I like them! They are like sooooo 2014. I had to get me one. And at least I had to change something to my outfit, because I’m rotating the same sets week in, week out LOL

Sao Paulo arrival

Finally in the land of my dreams again! Brazil! I landed in Sao Paulo after a tiresome trip from San José via Miami to Sao Paulo. And U.S. is always the worst part. Paranoia at the airport haha. But I arrived! And since I am keen on learning the language I forced my self to only talk Portuguese with the Taxi Driver. It went pretty well. He could understand me, even though I couldn’t understand half of what he replied. However the words “Sim (=yes)” en “Entendo(=I understand)” help out a lot in such a conversation. Hahaha.

I arrived at the Hostel in the Vila Madalena neighborhood and it was really a beautiful one. It had a 9.4 rating on TripAdvisor and justly. Clean, designed and a really good atmosphere. When I tried to search online for nice things to do in Sao Paulo, a lot of these things were in the same neighborhood as the hostel. It’s an artsy neighborhood with nice art galleries, arts & crafts shops, and bookstores and with great nightlife in its restaurants, corner bars, and botecos (small bar/restaurants). And art is spread all around the hood escpecially in Beco do Batman:

The first night I got invited to a BBQ that some of the guys at the hostel organized. It was funny! Even with a jet leg. Another guy liked to play the guitar and sing, so we had like live background music the whole evening. Nice! The hostesses are also really helpful. They even helped me with the arrangement of…. drumroll… my Rio Carnival Parade. It looks like I am going to attend! This will be my outfit:

My Samba outfit energia-eolicaI will walk along with the Salgueiro samba school, which has an all-time rank of 5. I will start at 1:20 am in sector 6 together with 99 others in the same outfit. Imagine 100 of these outfits parading along at the Sambadrome, and one of them is me. LOL. I can’t wait. But then a little panic started to kick in when I suddenly realized: I have never danced the Samba!!! Hahaha. We’ll see. First I have to learn the lyrics to the song of the samba school.

Even though it’s almost arranged, I can’t withhold the hardships I had to bear to just do a simple payment to the Brazilian bank account of the Samba school. I went to bank A. There they told me I can’t do a deposit with my card so I have to withdraw cash at bank B. After waiting for decades at bank B, they told me their bank doesn’t deal with European cards. They sent me to bank C in the city centre. I almost went there but luckily one of the hostesses directed me to a nearby ATM. There I could finally withdraw the cash. Jeej! I went back to bank A to do the deposit and now they told me that they can’t do the deposit, because the bank account of the samba school is a bank account of another bank D. And there I went to bank D, where I finally got to do my deposit. Almost 3 hours later. Hahaha. But then again who cares, I’m going!!