Perusing the vendors and kiosks in São Paulo, Brazil, I noticed a young couple showing a lavish display of affection. Right in the center of an outdoor market in Liberdade, equivalent to a Little Tokyo, was a young teenage couple going at it as if no one was watching. As I looked around them, no one even batted an eye. I was taken back by the culture shock and not only how affectionate the Brazilians are but how accepting they are of it. For a city that has a reputation of being dangerous and impoverished, they sure love on each other.
My first time traveling to São Paulo was my first real absorption of South American culture. I had gone to Venezuela once in 2013 but was escorted by men with guns and was directly told not to leave the hotel. This time, I was lucky to receive two Brazil trips in two weeks and explore with a native Paulista.
From what I gathered, São Paulo has amazing coffee, $10 Havaiana slippers, has the second largest Japanese population outside of Japan, has an ever-growing hatred towards Rio, and their winter is during our summer. Walking around the city itself, I did not feel like I was in my element. The drivers do not stop for pedestrians, prostitutes hang out in front of hotels in broad daylight, I was warned countless times to beware of pick pocketing and I was constantly thinking about the Zika virus.
But I love the food, the drinks, the fruits, the passion, and the music. A girl could easily have a fun time in São Paulo.
Favorite drink: Caipirinha is the drink to try when in Brazil. It is made with the national liquor called cachaça, sugar and lime.
Favorite foods: Mortadella & pastels and can be found at the Mercadão.
Liberdade – Meaning “Liberty”, this area resides Japanese immigrants along with Chinese and Koreans. Many of the buildings are Asian influenced and they hold a market on the weekends.
Mercadão – A beautiful marketplace that attracts natives and tourists alike. You can find amazing food like fresh fruits, vegetables, and meat.
Se Catedral – The exact center of the city of São Paulo where the beautiful Se Catedral resides.
Faire Livre: Different neighborhoods have free street fairs with food and goodies during the weekend.
Currency: Reals (Ray-Als) Approx R$3 to $1USD
Words I learned:
Obrigado – Thank you
Bom Dia – Good morning
Boa Noite – Good night
Gatinho(a) – Kitten – slang for Cute guy(girl)