A 6 hour bus journey completed and I find myself in a mad metropolis of Sao Paulo. I opted for the taxi to take me to my hostel in Villa Madelina a very bohemian part of the city. I couldn’t quite cope with the tube having been on the bus for so long, being delayed and not knowing the city. I still managed to haggle a fixed price taxi though so a minor victory. I also got a hand slap and first punch from the driver as I didn’t have cash for a tip. Bloody tourists hey! I opted to stay one night instead of two as I was keen to spend more time in Iguazu and meet friends in Buenos Airies. In the morning I got my bus ticket and did the free down town tour of the city before getting my 17 hr night bus to Foz Iguazu.
São Paulo is Brazil’s financial center, Its iconic buildings range from the 1929 Edifício Martinelli skyscraper and the neo-Gothic Metropolitan Cathedral to modernist architect Oscar Niemeyer’s curvy Edifício Copan. The colonial-style Pátio do Colégio church marks where Jesuit priests founded the city in 1554. It’s architecture really does tell a story of São Paulos past before it was a city, the divide between the two sides of what was a river (now a large square) it’s political unrest and people fighting from slavery,trade, poverty and corruption. With over 19 million people the scale of the city is unimaginable but New York would fit in about 6.5 times…….it is big. From the roof tops of one of the tallest buildings the city landscape goes on as far as the eye can see. For lunch we stopped at the oldest bakery where I had more cheeses dough bread and fried fish croquette type thing. It was nice and an efficient ordering system where you take on entrance they scan why you have, you eat then you hand in your card to the cashier who tells you the price. You then deposit your card in a box to be let through the turnstile…much like a car park.
Interesting fact: In São Paulo if you don’t vote you have to explain why and pay a fine. An interesting incentive to vote and made me wonder what state UK politics would be in if we applied the same! There appears to be a bit of competition for the tallest building in the city. The tallest is actually not known for being so as it is only the tallest based on the 5 floors of nothingness built just to be the tallest and it really is a beauty. No wonder they keep it quiet!! All of the street crossings have an iconic building instead of a red and green man. I don’t think this building features though…shame! There are also no bill boards something you don’t really notice until you’re told. It is nice not having advertising thrust at you everywhere you look. Somethings are very similar….the tubes are rammed at rush hour and you can always rely on some iconic buildings.
This is Lutz station……look familiar?
After a mad dash around the city for 4 hours I headed back to the hostel to take the subway to the bus terminal (darn not being able to buy tickets online). The longest journey I’ve ever done but I am sure it won’t be the last. South America is vast and I have a way to go…not long before I’m at the end of the world. I’m not joking…but first some nature and tango!