I was pretty much commanded by a friend to write more blogs on this trip! So here it is the first blog of my 6month adventure to South America. Its been years in the planning, well I guess you could more accurately say, years in the dreaming… and maybe months now in the planning. Pretty much straight after arriving back in South Africa from my 2013 Asia trip, the plan to travel to South America was on the cards. So here we are in São Paulo, and its already day 4 of 183days of exploring Latin America.
São Paulo, Brazil
We arrived flying TAAG, Angolan Airways at 3:30am, and after easily passing through immigration and collecting our bags our first priority was to find an ATM and get some local currency. My constant desire to save money meant we were in for a local airport transfer bus (R$6) to the closest Metro line and then 3 trains (R$3.80) later we’d arrive at our hostel. The next best option would be a Taxi which could cost about R$80. Little did we know or expect that from 5am till 8am are the peak hours on the trains. And it’s INSANE. We satting watching absolutely full trains go by for about 45mins before deciding we cannot wait any longer and litterally forced our way into a train. It was so tight, pretty much like videos of Japanese Trains during rush hour.
I couldn’t believe it, but two stations later a massive surge of people pushed thier way onto the train, pushing us from tight against the door to getting far to up close and personal with about 10 other people in the middle of the train. Thankfully two more stations and two transfers later we made it through the insanity that is the São Paulo metro to Vila Madalena and found our way to our Hostel. Its a cute little place, converted from a house. We now had a few hours to blow before we could check in, but they were happy to let us have a shower and jump on the wifi. We left our bags and set out to explore the suburbs, find some food and generally get lost finding all sorts of new and exciting foods at the local 2% Dia supermarket. There is something oddly interesting/addictive about exploring supermarkets, new brands, new fruit, new snacks! The rest of the day was spent napping, and finally watching the sunset.
Free Walking Tours
We’ve literally spent the last two days exploring the city by foot with the crew from São Paulo Free Walking Tours. We first explored Vila Madalena with its old history of being named after the 3rd daughter of the farmer that used to own this land, to its amazing street art and graffiti’d back alleyways. The graffiti art is amazing, they have some incredibly skilled street artists. The streets are filled with large artworks to the more illegal random tags. We often find plastic water bottles strapped to street poles with plants growing out of them and it really adds a layer of beauty to what could be a harsh concrete city. That being said the city is filled with parks from big to small and when you look over it you see more trees and green than concrete.
We’ve began exploring the gastronomic side of Brazil too, trying a delicious grilled meat, potato and cheese dish called Escondidinho. Many food trucks/street vendors sell a mixture of deep fried goodies from pockets filled with Meat and Cheese (Carne com Cheddar) to the Coxinhas which is a tear drop shaped (chicken leg shape) dough pocket filled with shredded chicken. Still need to try the Bauru Sandwich. Wednesday we explored the central old town, seeing cathedrals, the stock exchange, and the amazing architecture of the city. I have fallen for the city in an odd sort of way, the intensity of the number of people living in the city (+12mil) is the biggest issue.