Birthday time for yours truly. That calls for a trip somewhere. Brazil it is 🙂
Arrived in Sao Paulo on an overnight AA flight from Dallas. Got good sleep on the plane; thanks to the wife getting us in Business Class, so were fresh when we arrived.
At the airport, I usually get cash from an ATM, and so headed to the nearest ATM, put my card in as instructed (in Portuguese) and nothing happened. So I tried to pull my card out (reader did not completely cover the card), but could not pull the card back out. Great start. Tried again, waited about, but still could not pull the card. Asked a local what the text on the screen meant, but she could not speak English.
Before I had time to panic, the machine fortunately decided to release my card; phew. So decided to give the ATM a miss and got some cash exchanged. Took a taxi to the hotel in the Jardin district.
Sao Paulo is a large city with over 12M people, spread out. Traffic was bad during the non-traffic hours, so could not image rush hour traffic. But the traffic was civilized and not hectic or aggressive. Once at the hotel, got freshened up, got our bearings, and decided to head to the Municipal Market, which is supposed to be an attraction.
Took the Green Line metro subway from near the hotel changed to the Purple Line, and arrived at San Bento station. Upon exiting, we were inundated with people selling all kinds of cheap trinkets from boxes set up on the walkways; loudly calling customers to buy their wares.
And there were hundreds of people around. Walked over to 25 de Marco St, where we got even more of this type of cheap goods including lots of jewelry, and street stalls. Tons of people everywhere. Found someone selling cold coconuts, so got refreshed 🙂
Got into the Mercado Municipal market, which turned out to be a very nice, huge, well organized place, with stained glass windows, lots of fruit stalls, and lots of eating places on the 2nd floor, full of patrons. The fruit sellers were all keen for the business, and so were providing samples of their fruit to all customers.
All very fresh and tasty. After getting some fruit, we went to get some local food. Stopped at a stall serving food in the market, and decide to try some local food. Found a guy sitting next to us who spoke some English, and he recommended we try the Pastel Bacalhau, which is basically Cod fish (with onions, olives and some other vegs) inside a pastry that is then deep fried. The place was doing a roaring business. The pastry was nice especially with the hot sauce.
After getting some nice pics in this area, decided to head back. Went back to the subway station. By now, it was past 5PM, and rush hour had started. Fortunately, even with so many more people in the subway, everybody was very orderly with no pushing or shoving. Very civilized, safe and well organized. Cost on the subway was just over $1 per person, flat rate, one way.
Time to head out to dinner.
Exploring Sao Paulo continues