Oh God, I had to copy the letter ã from the internet, since I can’t seem to find the crazy Brazilian thingy (actually it’s called a tilde) on my keyboard. How amateuristic (did I spell this correctly?) of me. Anyway: São Paulo. If you remember the.e.t’s top destinations you know this city is filed under ‘also very interesting’. But after I had filed it there, I began doubting. Don’t get me wrong: São Paulo is interesting, but it will never be one of my favorite cities in the world. It has a few things going for it, like the parcs and the art and the parties, but it’s also quite agressive and there’s a lot of concrete. A lot. I guess you need this much concrete in a city of 22 million people, not counting the uncountables in the favelas. São Paulo is three times bigger than Paris and is actually the biggest metropolitan area of the southern hemisphere. According to Wikipedia the city holds more than 18.000 buildings of over 15 stories. That’s a lot of concrete.
São Paulo has some very nice highlights, like the impressive Se Cathedral and the even more impressive Ibirapuera Park, Latin America’s largest city park. Or how bout the magnificent botanical garden? Or the MASP, the Museu de Arte de São Paulo, one of the biggest art museums of South-America. This very visible museum holds art by Karel Appel, Giovanni Bellini, Hieronymus Bosch, Sandro Botticelli, Calder, Paul Cézanne, Lucas Cranach der Ältere, Paul Gauguin, El Greco, Vincent van Gogh, Frans Hals, Pablo Picasso and many others. Of course not their best artworks, but still big names.
I was very much surprised by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Ibirapuera Park. I think I spent a whole day in this park (and inside the museums there) just to get out of the hustle and bustle of the city center. I was also surprised by the level of English of Brazilian people, by which I actually mean the lack there of. I couldn’t even get by with my Spanish. Shocker! And I was even more shocked with the prices in this city. Cheap hotel rooms in a decent area? Forget it. According to research done by Hotels.com Brazil even has the most expensive hotel rooms in the world, with an average price of 145 dollars a night. Honestly, you feel bad paying these amounts of money while there are people outside of the hotel looking for edible stuff at the bottom of a garbage bag.
Come to think of it, I should remove São Paulo from the ‘Also very interesting’ list. Or maybe I should give the city a second chance. Isn’t there a football world cup in Brazil soon?