So before I start this post, I have a confession to make. The following post is entirely based on me jotting my memory over the events of this trip. While I was very careful to take notes of things I wanted to write about, I changed from iPhone to Android and recently realised that I have lost all my notes as a result of it. I promise not to take too much creative liberty when recounting the events from our trip.
Before arriving in Sao Paulo, we were in Cusco where we did our 4-day Inca Trail. Now, some might say that Brazil is not exactly a destination to relax, but after doing 12 hour+ days of trekking, sleeping in tents in sub-zero temperatures and testing the limit of our hygiene preferences, Mrs FOMOist and I were ready to unwind by roaming around in an urban jungle.
My memory might be spotty, but I do remember enjoying Sao Paulo (pronounced Sewn Paulo by the locals) a lot. Talking to other tourists and locals alike, according to them, it’s not the best city to judge Brazil by, but I can truly say it was every bit enjoyable. It is a cultural melting pot like most other big cities. One of the most interesting facts I remember from our free walking tour is that Sao Paulo has more helipads than New York (go figure!). Actually there were a lot of New York references made, which makes me wonder if Sao Paulo is actually the jealous cousin of the Big Apple. It even has a building called Altino Arantes that looks awfully similar to the Empire State Building, but a lot more humble in its stature.
The next quirk about this eclectic city is that this South American city has the largest population of Japanese inhabitants outside of Japan. It is so displacing to be slurping up a ramen, served by Portuguese speaking Japanese waiter, just outside the centre of Sao Paulo. This little roll (not a slice) is in an area called Liberdade. This might not be in your immediate tourist track, but it is well worth a visit. They even have a McDonald’s with Japanese signage!
Another thing Sao Paulo is rightly famous for is it’s abundance of breath-taking street art. There is a lot of graffiti, tagging and defacing of building as well, but when you find a true piece of art, it is truly awe-inspiring. If you are not the kind of person who would like to wander around streets looking for artwork, a visit to Beco do Batman (Batman Alley) should quench your thirst for street art. It’s colourful, it’s vibrant, it’s psychedelic and if you’re anything like me, you can easily spend hours noticing little gems in all pieces.
Now we can’t visit Brazil and not party. In all fairness, we hadn’t planned on it, until we met some cool cats during our free walking tour. Towards the end of this walking tour, there was a group of us who naturally gravitated towards each other and all of us were keen on hanging out together. The group mainly consisted of the following;
- The coolest Aussie guy from Perth we have ever met (and pretty convinced we will ever meet)
- Gorgeous Colombian beauty who was totally digging the Aussie guy, but was too shy to admit it, but ended up “getting together” with him after Mrs and Mr FOMOist playing cupids (successfully may I add)
- A British High School teacher who had Salsa moves to give the Brazilians run for their money
We partied into the early hours of the night near the Vila Madalena district, got rolled up into an uber ordered for us by an extremely helpful local who took pity on us. Needless to say, we woke up feeling like death warmed up the next morning, unable to move the entire day, apart from going out and getting a McDonald’s burger around 8.00pm and I still struggled to make my way through that. Thank God we bought our multiple pairs of Havianas and devoured on brigadeiros earlier in the trip.