To get from the tranquil beaches of Paraty’s surrounds to the surfer’s paradise of Florianapolis, there’s no way to escape at least changing buses in São Paulo, Brazil’s biggest city. Many backpackers do the 6 hour stint to São Paulo and then hop straight on a 12 hour night bus to Floripa, but that seemed even worse an idea than spending a night in the city. So we decided to brave the extremely big smoke, and booked ourselves into a hostel away from the areas with stories of prostitutes and stabbings.
We had one day and one day only to get a feel for the city, and, unfortunately, that one day happened to be raining like i’ve never seen it rain before.
There was only one thing to bring cheer to a day like that. Shopping.
Luckily, Ollie was so sleepy from all the travelling that he hardly put up a fight, and we jumped on the metro to Consolacao then strolled down to Rua Oscar Feire. Had we not been getting completely drenched (two umbrellas were of limited effect in those climes, and our canvas shoes did not protect our toes against the rivers raging through the roads) I would have thoroughly enjoyed that stroll. The roads were wide and tree lined, the shops and restaurants top end and the clearly moneyed clientele enjoying the area an interesting contrast to, say, the favela.
We forged on through the stormy weather to the red pin dropped on my Google map.
Brazil’s flagship Havaianas store.
What better way to bring colour to a rainy day than a rainbow wall of flip flops
And all at pretty good prices – like these gems for a mere £2.50
Needless to say, this happened:
And these had to be squeezed into an already very full back pack:
I mean, we’re going to be wearing them every day in Oz right? That black pair are going to be my work shoes. I got a pretty gem put on them in the customisation area.
All in all, I actually quite liked São Paulo. It particularly stood out to me how friendly people were, super helpful and smiley. Even outside of the Havaianas store. Due to the onward bus that we’d booked, we ended up having to get on the metro in the middle of rush hour, with two enormous bags each. I imagined that we would be lucky to get out alive, daring to get on commuter transport like that, but in reality we had two or three people actively helping us. Our samaritans helped make space for us to put our bags down, taking them on their laps even, and then ensured that we got the seats when people got off. Incredible.
Once in Florianapolis I met an American and a Columbian girl who were both studying in São Paulo, and they confirmed that yes, people are generally very friendly there. They also agreed that there may not be so much for tourists to do, no beaches, no famous sites, but for actually just living, the city is great.