Besides Pearl Jam and jet lag, I did manage to see and do a few other things during my time in behemoth Sao Paulo.
With Pablo at restaurant
On my second night, via a mutual friend (thanks Lucy!), I met Pablo, an Argentinean who has lived in Sao Paulo for a decade. Over beef picanha and a strong caipirinha cocktail Pablo provided an insightful introduction to South America, Brazil and Sao Paulo.
The picanha (beef) with chopped onions cooking over a flame (top of photo). Diners finish cooking the meat to their liking
An interior wall of the very friendly Hostel Alice, Vila Madalena
With my jet lag and post-trip tiredness, I hardly left Hostel Alice in the first few days. The very helpful and friendly hostel staff (Renata, Denise, Gabriele) and fellow guests (Joana, Marcio, Cassio) made it a home away from home.
ATMs at Sao Paulo’s main Guarulhos International Airport did not accept foreign debit or credit cards so I didn’t have Brazilian Rials for a few days. Luckily, the restaurant and hostel accepted cards. A bank nearby the Vila Madalena metro station appeared to only allow withdrawals up to R$500 (less than AUD$200) – something to consider for fellow travellers to Brazil.
Vila Madalena graffiti
Vila Madalena is a neighbourhood famous for its nightlife, culture and art. Towards the end of Rua Harmonie (the same street as the hostel) is an area full of graffiti art. A trip highlight occured when, while walking on the street, twice in two minutes Brazilians asked me for directions!
A woman photographing a girl (her daughter?) in front of graffiti art, Vila Madalena
Some Vila Madalena streets are very steep
Always a winner: delicious tiramisu, passionfruit and cherry-chocolate flavoured gelato for lunch
Plants including orchids and bromeliads were attached to many Vila Madalena tree trunks
Even rubbish bins are disguised in Vila Madalena
Woman employed to hold advertising sign all day
On my final evening in Sao Paulo, I caught up with Cleide from the Pearl Jam pre-concert party. The cafe we visited sold selected sandwiches made with Australian bread, a soft, light-brown bun. I don’t know how this bread came to be associated with Australia. I guess Australian bread is widely known in Brazil as the flight I took from Sao Paulo to Belo Horizonte also sold sandwiches made with it. Can anyone solve this mystery?
Next to a lake in Ibirapuera Park with central Sao Paulo in the background
Ibirapuera Park is a major Sao Paulo landmark and, in a city lacking public space, a venue thousands of locals visit every day, especially on weekends. The park contains lakes, pavilions, monuments, museums, a running and cycling track and many other facilities. Keeping up the Australian theme, black swans live in the lakes.
A sculpture in one of the pavilions
Either another artwork or contemporary seating at an Ibirapuera Park pavilion
Hundreds of young people congregated in one area of the park. Amongst them were many young teenage (e.g. 13 to 16 years old) same-sex pairs flirting with and kissing each other.
My plane to Belo Horizonte taxiing metres from the street prior to take-off from Congonhas Airport, Sao Paulo
I will return to Sao Paulo on this trip as there are many more things I would like to see and do including Liberdade (the Japanese district), free architecture and walking tours, the Central Market (Mercado Municipal) and museums and galleries.
My flight to Belo Horizonte departed from a different airport to the one I arrived at. Congonhas Airport is a domestic-only airport located closer to central Sao Paulo than the larger Guarulhos International Airport and my taxi from the hostel to Congonhas cost R$43, far less than a taxi to Guarulhos.