Travelling around a lot you start to see that each town or city has it’s interests. What do these people enjoy? In some place this is hard to find what this is, but in Suo Paulo’s thing is books. There are book shops on every street corner it is seems, really big ones. There are even vending machines in the metro with books in it. It is really interesting to see, that in a world that is more and more focused on putting their heads into phones, that Suo Paulo is going the other way with easy access to books. What is more interesting is what they are reading. Graphic novels are everywhere. Looking at an average news stand you would see on every street corner, you would see some magazine but around 70% of the shelfs are full of graphic novels. All of which was translated into Portuguese but still. The locals seem to be really big batman and superman fans, as this was most of graphic novels. Even saw a copy of the watchmen. Very strange.
Day 26 to 29 are all a bit of blur, as there is a company that runs free walking tours, I did all three of their tours, one each day. Three things things stand out from walking around the city. First, that the city is extremely run down. Amazing building, beautiful skyscrapers, were covered in graffiti and had been like that for years. It is weird to walk around a city that could easy been from America or Europe, but have it run down to make it look like a third world city. It looked a lot like a city after a zombie apocalypse with things ran down. It seems like no one really takes pride in what things look like, as even the open store fronts, the windows were unclean. Personally I don’t understand this, as it is free to keep things clean. Second thing I noticed is that they don’t really care about history. When going around the city, the guide showed us what the road used to look like. In some places, the building on a spot was the 4th one, as they ripped it down to build something different. Because of that lack of care for the past, Suo paulo doesn’t have a tonne of history and many of the “oldest” buildings were from the 1930s. The third thing I notice is that important that they make things their own. In the centre of town is the opera house and it is amazing. But the guide that showed it to us, wasn’t a fan. “It is a copy of a opera house in france. It is not Brazilian”. It is really important that buildings are Brazilian and have their style. However, in all my time in Brazil, I am really not sure that style is any good or even really what it is. For example, when they opened the opera house, they were going to do an Italian opera, but the people of the city kicked off. So they commissioned a very work specially for it. It is good for the rest of the world, is not good enough for them it seems.
After the second walking tour and with new American friend, we made our way to a famous market. And I was stuck by the surrounding area. Graffiti everywhere, unclear streets and cheap plastic toys made me think I had gone to the wrong part of town. However enter a beautiful turn of the centry building, you are meet with a wall of colour. Market stalls selling, fish, cheese and exotic fruits give the hall a feeling a extraordinary atmosphere. It honestly felt like walking around a market from another planet, weird coloured spikes fruit and all. After walking around the market, my new friend treated me to lunch of sliced pork sandwich which were famous in the area.
After the third walking tour, I went a did the last of my sight seeing. I went to a beautiful looking library, that looked amazing from the outside. However getting inside, I realised it was a pretty normal library inside. I also went around the mes gallery a beautiful and iconic building in the centre, picture below. However getting inside, the gallery had little interesting art. It is privately owned and just seems like a random collection of whatever they could get their hands on. The art didn’t seem to have any focus and art had no order. Something I don’t normally notice, but I take my hats off to those who sort and arrange galleries going forward.
I really enjoyed having an Airbnb for this leg of the trip. You miss cooking when you are unable to do it. I have enjoyed my time in the big city. As a londoner, I missed the noise and the people of a city.
Moving on the tomorrow, onwards and upwards.