Bem-vindo ao Brasil
Trip from Chicago to Mexico City was smooth. Mexico city is enormous! Chatted with a Mexican national during the flight and he complained how the city is so unplanned and unorganized and many areas are known as “lost cities” (ie slums).
Four hours in the airport and then off to Sao Paulo. Overnight trip was good, I sat next to Brazilian chemical engineer and he barely knew any english but we were able to discuss a lot of things so that was pretty cool. Arrived at the airport before noon on Saturday (15th August) and instead of taking a cab for R$100 (US$55) I opted for the local bus R$3.60 and them metro into the city R$2.55 (good deal huh:)
Sao Paulo is definitely overpopulated and has pretty poor public transport system, so the streets are almost always congested. This also contributes to air pollution, which is pretty bad here. Although not as bad as I expecting after reading some travel guides. Anyway, Its just a behemoth city with 17million population in the metropolitan area and so even locals don’t really know all the areas. But I guess that’s pretty normal beause living in any city of over 10 million its hard to be very familiar with all its areas (hinting at Chicago here).
Last night, after walking Paulista (main avenue in the city – financial hub) with my backpack all day, I was glad to check-in to this really cool hostel LimeTime and just lay back and relax my legs. Met people from Japan, S. Korea, USA, Germany… UK.
After a quick rest I contacted a person recommended by my friend Julie back in Chicago. Renata is a journalist for magazine called Vida Simple here in Sao Paulo and lives in the suburb. So she drove here to the city and showed me around. Had dinner, visited a bakery and ate some really good deserts. By the way the bakery is open 24hours and I was told its extremely busy after the midnight. Sweet tooth anybody? Also Renata took me to this bar on the 36 or 37 floor view 270 degree stunning views of the city. Again, its massive! Took some cool photos.
Got back to the hosted with intention to go sleep cause i felt a bit tired, but the owner of the hostel, a mid 20s Brazilian dude, invited a few of us for a tour around the city. So late at night he drove us around and stopped at a few places. The tour was such that you would never be able to purchase at a tavel agency 🙂 Thus, his idea for opening a hostel: provide foreign people with local perspective. He’s been hosting people from couchsurfing.com for 2 years now and says he never had any problems and thus made a business out of his “hobby”. I complement him on a job well done because the hostel is really cool.
Tonight I will take an overnight bus to Rio De Janeiro (about 6 hours, so I’ll try to leave at midnight). Meet my economics professor from UIUC who spends his summers in Rio, on COPACABANA! (very famous area)
Thats pretty good for now. Tchau!