So, the last time i left you, Sharan and i were ´stuck´in Argentina awaiting a tricky encounter with Brazilian immigration....pah! What was all the worry about?! Our friendly neighbourhood bus drivers just ´hid´us on the coach and we only had to negotiaite Argentinian immigration. Hello, Brazil!
The bus ride was surprising only in terms of its basic service....no food or beverages....and this ticket has been the most expensive one to date!! Anyhoo, 16 hours and we pull up at 4am in Sao Paulo.
We catch a cab with another english couple to the HI Youth Hostel in the centre of town, cabbie charges us double the going rate.....bloody cabbies! Emily and Neal check-in and go off for a sleep while Sharan and i hold out for a better room, or at least one where we´re together. We pass the time on the net....good to be off the streets as we are advised that this isn´t the nicest part of town. When the kitchens open upstairs we cook up some yummy noodles for breakfast - good views from the 7th floor - and then decide to head out to another, cheaper hotel down the way.
Check-in ok, not much english spoken around so mainly miming and a bit of spanish thrown in for good measure. Room is acceptable, on the 6th floor - again, great views. Catch some shut eye.
So how did we spend Saturday and Sunday located in downtown Sao Paulo, surrounded by sex shops, adult cinemas and the homeless? Well, they say timing is everything, and it just so happened the city was holding a weekend of concerts all over the place....it was massive and continued through the night....acts were billed at 3am Sunday morning. We mingled on the streets with the Brazilians who had come from far and wide to see their favourite musicians...there were paople flying on wires from cranes, street vendors galor, beer and drinks available everywhere, lovely hot dogs and burgers being cooked up.....had a grand old time. Bumped in to Emily and Neal again - in a massive crowd. Some drunk Brazilian proceeded to have a full on conversation with them....all one way as they knew as much Portugese as we do.
Didn´t even mind that we could hear the party carrying on all while we tried to get some sleep. Caught a few more acts on the Sunday.....a little concerned that no ATM´s seemed to be working...and soaked up a little more of the party atmosphere. When we retired that night, the final headline act was being shown live on tv....we could mute it and hear the music from outside!
The city was back to normal, i guess, by the Monday morning as we made our way via taxi....which didn´t over-charge!....to the Bus station to make the trip 6 hours north to Paraty.
Overall impression of Sao Paulo, downtown....dirty, a little intimidating...but just so happened to have a fantastic time all the same. A week either side, when the streets are empty at the weekend and chances of muggings increase and we would have been holed up in a hotel! Phew.