Friday, 30 January 2015

GUEST POST: São Paulo Through the Eyes of an American: The First Impressions

After traveling to São Paulo for the first time I can say it is one of the most interesting cities in Brazil. It is a city filled with all the vibrancy of Brazilian culture as well as other international ones. It is a great place to get away from the tourist cities like Rio and Salvador and truly experience the hidden gems of a Brazilian megacity.

Before traveling to São Paulo I would say it is important to take a couple of steps to prepare. Since São Paulo is not a tourist destination, there is no guarantee that someone will speak English everywhere you go. In part my positive experience came from the fact that I took an hour each day to learn basic phrases in Portuguese. You'll be surprised how friendly the locals are if they see you took the effort to learn their language.

I would also advise others to do some research on Brazilian cultural customs. For example, as a girl the big one for me was realizing Brazilians and Americans see personal space differently. We, Americans, like 3 feet of personal space and get defensive if someone enters it uninvited. Brazilians on the other hand will hug and kiss someone they just met as their form of greeting. Keep this in mind when you think every guy is trying to pick you up because he is so close to you.Finally, contrary to what I read, most of the activities I did can be done on a budget. I stayed at a local hostel and the people were beyond friendly. It is nothing like staying in an American hostel.

Finally, contrary to what I read, most of the activities I did can be done on a budget. I stayed at a local hostel and the people were beyond friendly. It is nothing like staying in an American hostel.

Activities in Sao Paulo

Sao Paulo is a livewire, a hub of activity. The best part is since it is not a typical tourist destination prices for activity are very low, if there is any cost at all especially the feet on the ground type tourism. After all, a quality conversation with a local costs you nothing.

If you are in to dancing be sure to check out Samba Saturdays. Samba is a traditional Brazilian dance and most bars play Samba music on Saturdays. A friend told me the best place for samba was Bar Samba so I went there and I had a blast. It was amazing to see how good the locals were at dancing.

The number of quality museums in Sao Paulo is testament to how Sao Paulo is a hub of Brazilian culture. Being an art lover, my favorite museum was Museu de arte de Sao Paulo (MASP). It has the largest collection of fine art in all of Latin America. The best part about my visit was I happened to go on a Tuesday and it was free!

Another great museum is the museu Afro-Brasil. This museum gave me a deeper appreciation of the Brazilian culture and African heritage.

For fans of soccer, or futebol as it is known locally, there is the museu de futebol. No need to say Brazilians take their futebol seriously. The whole country follows the national team every 4 years during their quest for the FIFA world cup. You can always find an informal “pelada” game going on at Parque Ibirapuera, Sao Paulo's largest green space.

The Latin American Memorial is yet another landmark Sao Paulo highlight. It is composed of several buildings all designed by legendary Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, which are works of art themselves. The buildings include a library, a research center, and the Brazilian center of Latin American studies. I spent a few hours here soaking up the struggles of the Latin American people and it gave me a new perspective on Latin American culture.

For those on a tight budget the beautiful and creative street art throughout Sao Paulo rival some of the best museums and walking the streets is always free. If you don't want to walk you can rent a bike and utilize the over 30km of car-free bike space to get around town although, be warned, you sometimes have cars encroaching on you!

The shopping in Sao Paulo was another thing that amazed me. You won't find any retail chain stores outside of shopping centres, but you will find several markets around town that sell anything you need. I had tons of fun browsing the markets for little hand-crafted trinkets and haggling with the sellers. I was thankful I took the time to learn the language a little bit so I was able to fully experience the markets.

Food in Sao Paulo

There are a ton of great places to eat in Sao Paulo. I could fill a whole article on the different restaurants I ate. What's important is experiencing the different styles of cuisine unique to Brazil.

The first is the Padarias, which is the Brazilian version of a bakery. Locals come here to enjoy fine Brazilian pastries while enjoying locally grown coffee to get their day going.

If you want cheap and organic produce and meats to make your own meals then the CEASA is a must-visit. It is the largest food market in Latin American at 7.5 million square feet. You'll find everything your taste buds could want there.

Another dining style unique to Brazil is the churrascaria. This is similar to the concept of the American buffet. You pay a flat fee to be seated and it is all you can eat. The difference is waiters bring you the food fresh from the kitchen instead of there being a buffet table. Oh, and there’s a lot of meat!

These are just a few of the dozens of things to do in Sao Paulo. I got the sense you can visit 3 or 4 times and still experience something new about the city. I found that doing things like going to the museums and the local markets were a cheap way to enjoy the city and gave me a richer experience than visiting one of Brazil's many tourist towns.

So, learn some basic Portuguese, familiarize yourself with the differences between American and Brazilian culture, and book your flight to Sao Paulo! It truly is one of Latin America's most underrated travel destinations.

Bio: Natalya Pobedova is a travelling nomad and backpacker from beautiful Brno Czech Republic. She is 27 and makes a living as a freelance web developer to support her traveling needs. She also runs a budget flight search website for backpackers as a hobby: She dreams of visiting Cuba and speaks Portuguese fluently. She visited 14 countries already and most of them are in Asia and Europe.

Street Art in São Paulo Part 11 - ALEX SENNA

Check out the amazing street art by Alex Senna, an artist and illustrator from São Paulo. His pieces are very distinctive and can be found all over the city. His work has become an integral part of this citys`character and urban image of São Paulo. 

Alex`s work has already been featured during exhibitions and in galleries from Miami, Toronto and New York to Paris, London and Berlin. Follow Alex on Instagram (@alexsenna) and check out his website

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Photo of the Day: SP from Space

Friday, 23 January 2015

Pre-Carnival in SP: Our favorite "Blocos"

The Carnival season is about to go into full throttle and if you want to start your pre-Rio or Salvador warm-up in São Paulo, you should go party at some of the countless block parties/mini-parades that are about to start.

The Blocos below are the authors favorites - there are many more you can choose from, all of which have their own character and are probably worth a visit. But if you are not in the mood for lengthy research, you will certainly not go wrong with the list below.

The authors personal favorite is Bloco Casa Comigo on Feb 1st - not only because it is simply a great party, but also because it was the authors first Bloco ever and as such, still holds some sentimental value. 

Without further ado:

Rua Major Maragliano 421 - V. Mariana

01.02., 12 noon,  BLOCO CASA COMIGO
Rua Beatriz - Vila Beatriz

The wedding drum call 
Who said you can only get married quickly in Vegas?

Traffic Jam V02

Facebook Event link

07.02., 10:30am, BANGALAFUMENGA EM SP
Av. Paulo VI - Sumaré

Bloco happiness

Is there a better way to spend a Saturday morning!

Facebook Event Link

08.02., 10:30am, CONFRARIA DO PASMADO
Avenida Brigadeiro Faria Lima, 64 - Pinheiros 

Full house
Facebook Event link

Veja São Paulo has compiled a comprehensive list of blocos, which you can view here.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

São Paulo is officially the most expensive city in Brazil

  • Below is a list of the most expensive (and least expensive) cities to live in in Brazil right now. 
  • The data, provided by ranks each city with a number score, and unsurprisingly, São Pualo is top of the heap! Next most expensive are Santos, also in São Paulo state, followed by Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia and Niteroi. 
The calculations are based on user submitted feedback and use a rolling 18month average to work out variations over time and keep up to date.

  • Check out the full listing:

    1. 173 São Paulo - SP
  • 2. 148 Santos - SP
  • 3. 145 Rio de Janeiro - RJ
  • 4. 144 Brasília - DF
  • 5. 140 Niterói - RJ
  • 6. 135 Santa Maria - RS
  • 7. 128 Curitiba - PR
  • 8. 124 Jundiaí - SP
  • 9. 122 Parauapebas - PA
  • 10. 122 São Bernardo do Campo - SP
  • 11. 121 Campinas - SP
  • 12. 119 Praia Grande - SP
  • 13. 119 Rio Grande - RS
  • 14. 115 Guarulhos - SP
  • 15. 110 Florianópolis - SC
  • 16. 110 Itajaí - SC
  • 17. 106 Porto Alegre - RS
  • 18. 106 Ribeirão Preto - SP
  • 19. 104 Rio Branco - AC
  • 20. 104 São José dos Campos - SP
  • 21. 103 Petrópolis - RJ
  • 22. 102 Joinville - SC
  • 23. 102 Sorocaba - SP
  • 24. 100 Belo Horizonte - MG
  • 25. 100 Guarujá - SP
  • 26. 100 Manaus - AM
  • 27. 99 Bragança Paulista - SP
  • 28. 99 Jaú - SP
  • 29. 99 Piracicaba - SP
  • 30. 99 Taguatinga - DF
  • 31. 97 Sete Lagoas - MG
  • 32. 97 Uberaba - MG
  • 33. 96 Cascavel - PR
  • 34. 96 Palmas - TO
  • 35. 95 Recife - PE
  • 36. 95 São Luís - MA
  • 37. 94 Belém - PA
  • 38. 94 Cuiabá - MT
  • 39. 94 Jaraguá do Sul - SC
  • 40. 94 Vila Velha - ES
  • 41. 93 Nova Friburgo - RJ
  • 42. 93 Porto Velho - RO
  • 43. 93 Salvador - BA
  • 44. 92 Limeira - SP
  • 45. 92 Vitória - ES
  • 46. 92 Volta Redonda - RJ
  • 47. 91 Maringá - PR
  • 48. 89 Botucatu - SP
  • 49. 89 Goiânia - GO
  • 50. 89 Maceió - AL
  • 51. 88 Franca - SP
  • 52. 87 Araraquara - SP
  • 53. 86 Americana - SP
  • 54. 86 Bauru - SP
  • 55. 86 Londrina - PR
  • 56. 86 Sinop - MT
  • 57. 86 São Carlos - SP
  • 58. 85 São José do Rio Preto - SP
  • 59. 83 Taubaté - SP
  • 60. 81 Blumenau - SC
  • 61. 80 Pelotas - RS
  • 62. 80 Presidente Prudente - SP
  • 63. 79 Campo Grande - MS
  • 64. 79 Natal - RN
  • 65. 79 Poços de Caldas - MG
  • 66. 78 Juiz de Fora - MG
  • 67. 76 Itajubá - MG
  • 68. 75 Aracaju - SE
  • 69. 75 Boa Vista - RR
  • 70. 75 Foz do Iguaçu - PR
  • 71. 75 Macapá - AP
  • 72. 74 Divinópolis - MG
  • 73. 74 Ponta Grossa - PR
  • 74. 74 Rondonópolis - MT
  • 75. 74 Uberlândia - MG
  • 76. 73 Teresina - PI
  • 77. 73 Viçosa - MG
  • 78. 71 Fortaleza - CE
  • 79. 70 Caxias do Sul - RS
  • 80. 70 Governador Valadares - MG
  • 81. 68 Vitória da Conquista - BA
  • 82. 67 Montes Claros - MG
  • 83. 64 Anápolis - GO
  • 84. 64 Campina Grande - PB
  • 85. 64 Ipatinga - MG
  • 86. 63 João Pessoa - PB
  • 87. 62 Feira de Santana - BA
  • 88. 58 Mossoró - RN
  • 89. 57 Juazeiro do Norte - CE

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Identidade SP creates a logo for every São Paulo neighbourhood

You may not have noticed before but although the city has a coat of arms, the neighbourhoods of São Paulo do not. Or at least, they didn't until now.

Identidade SP have now created a logo design for each and every São Paulo neighbourhood. The initiative aims to creatively, rediscover the city through neighbourhood pride and etymology.  It has its inspiration in Pedro Campos, a graphic designer and photographer who dared to wonder what the name of his neighbourhood (Butantã) actually meant back in 2009. Once he had discovered its meaning he wanted to reflect it in a logo.

Soon he began researching other neighbourhoods and creating an emblem for each one as well as a simple webpage sharing information about its history and naming. Sé was the first neighbourhood quickly followed by Santa Ifigênia, Moema, Santo Amaro, Jaçanã, Pinheiros, Itaim Bibi, Higienópolis, Mooca, Canindé, Liberdade, Cambuci, Casa Verde, Pacaembu, Limão e Vila Madalena.

Pedro and his wife now curate the project and look after the Facebook fanpage. They still have a lot of work ahead of them (there are no less than 450 different neighbouorhoods in São Paulo) but even so plan to give a more practical use to the newly created logos. This year they will create souvenirs and clothing branded with the neighbourhood badges so you can wear your neighbourhood with pride.

Check out some of the designs already done:

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

VIDEO: São Paulo Food Porn - Best Chopp in SP!

There is only one cure against the scolding heat of São Paulo right now: Chopp. The guys at Bar Original in Moema are continuously voted as having the best Chopp in São Paulo.

The author of this blog post may be a bit biased as being a Moema resident, but the honors should not be surprising. After all, the same guys that that bring you one of the best Pizzas (Pizza Bráz) and one of the best burgers in town (Lanchonete da Cidade), also own Bar Original.

The place is as São Paulo as it can get and one of the many reasons one can only but love this city. Apart from drafting Brahma Chopp to absolute perfection, you are sure to not stand around empty handed for long, as the waiting staff are ridiculously fast in making sure to supply you with another one. If you are ever in the neighbourhood give them a try!

Check out their 15-year anniversary trailer:

Online presence:

Bar Original
Pizza Bráz
Lanchonete da Cidade

Monday, 12 January 2015

Learn Thai Yoga Massage in São Paulo

The traditional healing techniques of ancient Thailand may seem a long way away and indeed they are. But this February you can learn the secrets of Thai traditional massage right here in São Paulo and even get certified as a Level 2 practitioner.

Barbara Santos is a Brazilian therapist who lives and works in Thailand. In 2012 she founded Espaço Nibbana, a holistic therapy institution through which she aims to raise awareness of traditional Eastern therapies and in particular Thai Massage.

Although she now resides in Asia where she can live and breathe the traditional art of healing through massage, she regularly returns to hold seminars and encourage other therapists to delve deeper into Eastern holistic practices.

Thai Yoga Massage courses are coming to São Paulo

In February this year she will be returning to her homeland to teach some of her learnings via intensive weekend courses. Her schedule only allows for 3 Brazilian cities one of which, of course, is Sampa. In São Paulo, the course will be held at Casa Jaya in Pinheiros. Full details are available here or directly on Espaco Nibbana.

A great opportunity for those who wish to learn how to give a great professional and traditional massage!
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