Our initial plan was to visit Sao Paulo for a week or so and then return to Rio de Janeiro for Carnival. That was our initial plan. What I´ve learned since is that it is best never to leave anything behind for when you return, because plans often do change.
My friend who had hosted us in Rio for 3 weeks was moving to a new apartment. This was another 1 bedroom, although this time he was moving in with a friend. Because he was moving, we decided to bring everything with us, but purely by chance because we were sure we would be returning. Our short visit, extended a week and then it was Carnival, and then we stayed 1 and then 2 weeks more. Before we knew it we had spent a total of 30 days in Sao Paulo, though what I can tell you of the city is very limited.
Our apartment for the month was a small two bedroom apartment that belonged to Aiko´s cousin , although this really only served as a temporary until she moved into a new apartment in March. Along with her own two children, Aiko´s cousin was also hosting her parents – this caused for a very packed apartment. Though, somehow we all made it work. We sat around the little table and enjoyed meals together, elbow to elbow perhaps, but enjoyable all the same. At night we would open a bottle of wine and play cards hours. On occassion we would visit the city, but our plans had to coincide with the regular afternoon showers. It is easy to forget that this sprawling megalopolis was built over what once was a jungle. Though the jungle is gone, the climate remains, and afternoon showers seem to be the regular during the summer months.
Each trip to the city cost us R$3 each, each way. So we traveled sparingly and usually with intent to visit a specific site. We visited Plaça Se, which consisted of some shops and a monumental church which covered the street lined with prostitutes and cheap, by the hour, hotels located behind it. We visited Liberdade, during a Chinese New Year celebration and once before which entertained us for a short while before we were idly window shoping. We also visited Sao Bento, which is not as touristy but has streets lined with stores, and a building full of craft supplies. This was a favorite of Aiko´s aunt who is Martha Stewart crafty. We got into making little braided bracelets and have been using these as gifts for our CouchSurfing hosts. Other than the addition of Carnival, there is little more we truly experienced in Sao Paulo.
True there are parks and Museums, which the latter could have been a great activity to explore during the rainy afternoons. However, the 20 minute walk to the metro station looked longer and longer as the clouds grew darker. Thus we stayed, opened a bottle of wine and played.
What did I learn about Sao Paulo, little. With little internet access, I´m sorry to say I blogged very little too. Instead, it was so very easy to get lost with time spent with family. One that I am greatful we were able to experience.
Hopefully, I learn to become a bit of a better tourist in my travels.