Liberdade is a traditionally Japanese neighborhood located near the center of São Paulo. It makes for an interesting exploration of Brazil’s diverse population and history of immigration. History Brazil and Japan established diplomatic relations in 1895. A little over a decade later, the first boat of Japanese immigrants, the Kasato Maru, arrived in Brazil with 790 people, many of them farmers escaping hardships in the … Continue reading Liberdade: A Taste of Tokyo in São Paulo
Vila Madalena is a popular neighborhood in São Paulo, full of restaurants, bars, shops, galleries and colorful street art. In the 1970s, São Paulo students flocked to the area in search of cheap accommodation, giving it a bohemian character. While Vila Madalena is now considered a bairro nobre (upper middle class neighborhood), it still retains a lot of its creative charm and is a wonderful … Continue reading Vila Madalena: A Wander Through One of São Paulo’s Most Creative and Colorful Neighborhoods
Vila Mariana is the neighborhood of São Paulo where I have lived in over the past few months. After staying with a friend in Praça Roosevelt, near Praça da República, I decided that I wanted to explore a different neighborhood of São Paulo and ended up staying with Airbnb hosts in Vila Mariana. Through Facebook friends, I eventually found a room to rent in an … Continue reading A Gringo’s Guide to São Paulo’s Vila Mariana
If you happen to be visiting São Paulo for the World Cup and are looking for something interesting to do when you’re not cheering on your favorite team, pay a visit to the Instituto Tomie Ohtake to see the dazzling exhibit assembling works from the career of provocative Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama. The exhibit is currently traveling around Latin America and will be in São Paulo … Continue reading Visiting the Fascinating Yayoi Kusama Exhibition in São Paulo
Brazil commands the world’s attention now that the FIFA World Cup is finally underway, an event that is one of the most watched sporting events in the world. ESPN had record ratings during the inaugural game yesterday evening between Brazil and Croatia, which was held at Corinthians Stadium here in São Paulo. Brazil defeated Croatia, 3 to 1. As is obvious through the news stories … Continue reading Brazil Kicks Off the World Cup: As Seen Through the Eyes of a Gringo in São Paulo
Avenida Paulista is an energetic, commercial center of São Paulo, where a lot of the high-powered business in Brazil takes place. Office buildings, shopping centers, apartment buildings and museums, some with innovative architecture, line the busy, wide avenue. Most of the buildings are modern, but walking down São Paulo’s busy Avenida Paulista one day, I noticed a somewhat weathered, old mansion standing near a copse … Continue reading Brazilian “Bleak House”: São Paulo Mansion Will Receive Colorful Makeover
Ibirapuera Park should be the top of most must-see lists for visitors to São Paulo. Ibirapuera actually means “rotten tree” in the indigenous Tupi language, but, in spite of this unfortunate name, the park teems with arboreal life. At times, especially on Sunday afternoons, people actually outnumber the trees in this urban park. As evidence of this, Ibirapuera Park was found to be one of … Continue reading São Paulo’s Ibirapuera Park: Leisure and Culture in One of the World’s Finest Urban Parks
São Paulo is a forest of skyscrapers and if you are new to the city, it is really easy to get lost as there aren’t many buildings that stand out from each other. One building that does stand out a bit is the Edifício Itália, located at the corner of Avenida Ipiranga and Avenida São Luis near the bustling Praça da República. The idea for … Continue reading Admiring the São Paulo Skyline: Edifício Itália
I admit it. I have been a completely lax travel blogger over my last couple months or so of travel. I am quite prolific at procrastination. I have several stories to share from New Zealand and all along the Banana Pancake Trail in Southeast Asia, but got really far behind with my blogging while on the road. Now that I am planning on being slightly more settled, mostly staying in one spot in Brazil, I will be able to catch up on my posts and share them with you. I’ll also try and make more current posts, hopefully weekly at least, from here in Brazil.
I am now in a phase of my trip that should take on some new excitement for me both personally and professionally. This is the chapter where I have gone to Brazil for a somewhat undetermined amount of time to develop fluency in Portuguese and hopefully find a new career for myself that involves an international aspect.
I have to admit that I felt really intimidated coming here to Brazil yesterday even though I have been to this country before. Last year, four friends of mine and I visited São Paulo, Florianopolis and Rio de Janeiro during Carnaval. I think some of my fears were worrying about how my story will unfold, lots of questions running through my mind: Will I be able to find my way around the monster of a city that is São Paulo; Will I inadvertently find myself in some dangerous neighborhood/situation? Will I be able to get by with the limited amount of Portuguese that I know? My first day of travel here has given me some confidence though. I found it really easy to walk around and it was great seeing some of the familiar places I saw with my friends last year. I’m staying one night in the Bela Vista neighborhood at an inexperience yet wonderful pousada which is walking distance to frenetic Avendia Paulista, the MASP Museum, Trianon Park, the Jardins neighborhood and posh Oscar Freire. The area is really upscale and safe and I enjoyed simply walking around. Bela Vista is a beautiful neighborhood situated on a hill rising above Avenida Paulista. It retains some charming older row homes that have not yet been torn down to build skyscrapers, which are simply unavoidable in highrise-heaven (or hell) São Paulo. Bela Vista was traditionally an Italian neighborhood, so of course it has some excellent restaurants. I had lunch at Cantina Mamma Celeste and enjoyed a mouth watering risotto with gorgonzola and hazelnuts.
I spent the rest of the day wandering around the area near Avenida Paulista.