Sao Paulo – bigger, safer, cleaner

I haven’t written anything these last weeks because my laptop is broken. I haven’t realized before how much I’m relying on it. When it happened I thought about going back home because I couldn’t imagine traveling without it. But I’ve learned to do without it. I have to admit it was very difficult because I was on the road when it happened and I needed to stay in touch wih my hosts and to check bus timetables and other useful information. However, I managed to get by and now here I am in Montevideo, Uruguay, working in a new hostel!
But first I have to write a bit about my bus journey from Rio to Montevideo. I stopped in a few cities along the way and I was lucky enough to find hosts on CouchSurfing in each town in Brazil. I wasn’t as lucky in Punta del Este, so from the border I came straight to Montevideo. I’m really glad I haven’t flu to Uruguay because I would have missed out many interesting places and people!
The first city I visited is Sao Paulo, six hours away from Rio. I stayed there for almost 6 days in one of the peripheral neighbourhoods, close to the end of the metro line. I got along great with my host: he showed me some beautiful places, he taught me a lot about the Brazilian culture and cuisine and he introduced me to some of his friends. After living in the hostel living with a normal family was like a breath of fresh air. I could really rest, nobody was running, yelling, slamming doors, climbing my bad, asking questions or wanting things. This was also a good opportunity to catch a glimpse of how typical families live like.

I tried to make my experiences as varied as possible and I wanted to know as many things about the cultures I am meeting on the way. I stopped believing that traveling is just about seeing places, admiring views and buildings or visiting museums. I now think that traveling is more about seeing other’s people’s point of view, other perspectives and opinions. So far I am happy of how everything worked for me and with all the decisions I’ve made.
Sao Paulo is the biggest city I’ve ever been in, it has 20 million inhabitants. It’s the kind of city where you can’t get bored, there is always something going on. The metro system is impressive, I’ve heard is one of the cleanest and safest.

I think it’s safer than Rio, I haven’t seen as many homeless people. I think there are far less coloured people in Sao Paulo, but I don’t know the demographics. However, I do know that the biggest Japanese population outside Japan lives here.

The paulistas definitely dress better than the cariocas. In Rio everybody wears shorts and T-shirts during the summer. It’s like wearing your jammies for the entire season. I looked eccentric and fancy in my jeans. But in Sao Paulo I no longer looked like a foreigner.

I really like this city, I think it’s like the latin version of New York. It’s in any case different from all the cities I’ve seen.




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