Tuesday, March 10, 2015

View to a Thrill: Sao Paulo, Brazil

Architecture of Sao Paulo
There are a few things of interest I've noticed about Sao Paulo. Sure, it's got many high rise apartment buildings, many of which seem too thin to comfortably stay erect. They say it has more helicopters than any other city, but I don't see as many as I would have thought I'd be seeing for such a claim to fame. It seems like I see more in Houston than I have in my visits to Sao Paulo.
One of the narrow buildings

The Sao Paulo I've seen has a lot of civic pride. Each morning I always find most apartment buildings with someone out front sweeping the sidewalk. And they don't just sweep it into the street, they pile up the debris and actually pick it up. Most buildings have stands out front upon which one can place their trash cans, keeping them off the ground, safe from critters. They also enjoy washing the sidewalks down with water.

In the apartment buildings across from my hotel room, I see in numerous units, women cleaning the windows; inside and out. They are very adept at doing so, contorting arms and hands to reach every square inch of the exterior of the windows while they remain safely inside. It would be a deadly fall, otherwise.
Apartment building with clean windows.

It's odd seeing this cleaning regimen taking place when looking at all the graffiti. It's one of the more graffiti-filled cities I've seen. The artists seem quite skilled at reaching places you'd think they couldn't. There are buildings where the graffiti is 8-10 stories high; many having some sort of a 'tag' under each and every window at least 3 or 4 stories up. Bridge overpasses have a lot, as well. Some of it is cute, but most looks like an alien language- not even familiar to the Portuguese spoken here. Not everyone loves it, though, as one morning, I saw a shop owner scrubbing the white tile wall outside his front door of this alien writing.
Some of the more tame graffiti.
Graffiti on a building

Another thing I find amazing is how this city looks as though it would do well in the zombie apocalypse. (I may be watching too many shows about zombies.) So many buildings and parks are surrounded by large fences and strong gates. As long as you clear the inside of the dead, you can live in relative undead solitude.

They really like their bread here. It's packed in all sorts of ways; in the store, I saw what looked like a bag of chips, but instead, it was full of dinner rolls. Stacked high near the registers were boxes of round loaves. Some had raisins and others had chocolate. I went for a walk at 7 in the morning and wondered at the numerous small tables people had set up, at nearly every corner, with the most delicious looking breads cut into wedges from their round loaves. But act fast, by 7:45, they were all gone and replaced by vendor tables full of jewelry, trinkets and sweaters.

It's a neat place and I enjoy going, even thought it's a very blue collar town and there doesn't seem to be a lot to do of touristic value. I have never been to South America before going to Sao Paulo. It's a new experience for me, going on a 9 hour flight and only being 4 time zones ahead. When I went to the international destinations out of San Francisco, I would be 14 hours ahead...and in another day! But I love the trips and experiencing new cultures, which, after all, is one of the best things I love about my job!

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