After spending the weekend on Copacabana Beach watching the World Cup Final with a group of guys from Germany, my friend and I took a 6 hour drive to São Paulo. There was supposed to be a high speed train built between the two cities that would make it convenient for tourists to travel but there was a lack of funding so the construction halted. The two cities are only about 250 miles away from each other but there aren’t high speed highways in Brazil so driving takes a lot longer. Note: If you are in a rush and willing to spend the money, the flight from Rio to São Paulo only takes about 45 minutes.
When we finally arrived, it was late at night and we needed to grab some dinner. Near our hostel was a shopping mall which, unlike Rio, São Paulo is full of. I was delighted to see that the mall’s food court was filled with cuisine from all over the world. I knew that in São Paulo specifically there would be Japanese restaurants since there is a very high Japanese population. We also saw restaurants with American and Italian food but since it had been a while, I was excited to see a Middle Eastern restaurant, which is where we had dinner. When we were finished we walked around the mall until it closed and I knew I would have to stop there again the next day.
In the morning light, I definitely experienced a culture shock. I was no longer in a beachy city but now in a metropolis that had streets that were busied by cabs and people off to work. The people in São Paulo seemed to be dressed very fashionably. I felt as if I had overnight flown to Europe where it is common to see women in dresses and heels and men dressed in formal wear strolling down the street just to grab breakfast. Even our cab driver was wearing a sweater vest and freshly pressed slacks. I knew that this was my calling to go shopping and spend the rest of my cash that I fortunately still had at this point in the trip.
In one of the stores I had seen a dress that I really liked and luckily it was on sale. I grabbed it off the rack and meekly searched around the corner for a dressing room. Since it was the middle of the afternoon on a weekday, there was no one else in the store and so I was quickly cornered by a very friendly sales woman who wanted to help me. Needless to say, she quickly found out that I had a limited vocabulary in Portuguese but that did not stop her from having an in depth conversation with me and asking about my entire life story. She was so surprised when she found out I was from the US and knew more than two words of Portuguese. I, on the other hand, was overwhelmed and wanted to check out as soon as possible. However, she created an entire ensemble for me and I was very well taken care of. Brazilian people are definitely some of the most friendly people I have ever met.
Later in the afternoon, my friend and I headed to the Museu do Futebol http://museudofutebol.org.br/en/. I highly recommend going there to see all the artifacts and the history of “the beautiful game” in Brazil. The entrance cost is fairly inexpensive and it is a place that everyone can enjoy. It was a great way to wrap up my time in Brazil and my World Cup experience. The next day I started my long journey home and had time to reflect on my journey which led me to starting this blog. Até logo Brasil