Sao Paulo, Brazil, South America
I spent most of today at my hostel planning for the rest of my trip in Brazil. It’s getting harder and harder to do things at the last minute because I have certain dates where I need to be in certain places, and it’s a pretty busy time in Brazil, so places are filling up. I was able to get a lot done today though, so even though I didn’t see any of Sao Paulo, I am still happy with my process today.
I booked my flights from Salvador to Manaus, my tour in the Amazon for five days, my flight from Manaus to Bogota, and hostels along the way. I am now completely booked for everything until I go back to Bogota on 28 February. It’s all very exciting!
I went out to try and find a place to do some laundry, and it took ages just to find a laundromat here. Finally I found one, but it was the kind where you have to leave all your laundry and then come pick it up the next day. I have used dozens of these kinds of laundromats over the last 11 months, and I usually pay between $5-8 for the load of laundry to be washed and dried. Not in Sao Paulo though. Here, for some reason, it cost me $23 for a load of laundry!! I have no idea what the heck could be costing that much, but since I’m currently wearing my last clean pair of boxers, I didn’t have much of a choice.
After getting over the surprise of how much it cost me to do laundry, I met up with my friend Esther and her boyfriend Erio. They came in a taxi to pick me up from my hostel, and they took me out to a very nice restaurant for dinner. Erio is a chef, so he had a pretty good idea of where to go to eat. I had met Esther in Edinburgh when she was taking an english course there about a year and a half ago, but I hadn’t really talked to her since then. It was really nice catching up with her about everything that’s been going on.
We had a few starters to split between the three of us, and they were excellent. We had some home made sausages, some croquettes that were made of just meat, and some pastels, which are like small empanadas. We also had a couple of brazilian drinks called Caipirinhas. The traditional drink is made with cachaca, sugar and lime, but this restaurant had special ones so I had a watermelon one and Esther had a passionfruit one. They were both very nice, but I preferred the passionfruit to the watermelon. After that we just split a couple of big bottles of Antarctica beer before heading out.
We moved on from the restaurant to an old mansion that has been renovated and turned into a trendy new bar called Drosophyla. The cover charge was 50 reals per person ($20), but I found it interesting that here you can use that money for drinks once you get in the bar. I guess it just means that the money you spend at the door is guaranteed to the bar, so they’re happy. I’ve never heard of it working like that before, but I like it. Erio talked to someone inside and they ended up letting us in for only one cover charge anyway, so it shows that it’s super helpful to be here with some locals.
We had a few drinks in Drosophyla and then headed to another bar that used to be a butcher’s shop. I’m not sure of the name of it, but it was pretty clear when you are in there that it used to be a butcher’s shop. It was on Augusta Avenue which is one of the main party streets in Sao Paulo, and that was definitely evident. Everyone was out in the street drinking, instead of in the bars, which is something I’d never seen before. Some of the bars were completely empty, just loads of tables and chairs, but no people. But the patrons would go into the empty bar, buy drinks, and then take them outside to drink in the street. Very strange.
After having a couple of drinks, and my new favorite snack coxinha (which is a potato croquet filled with chicken), we headed out to find a slice of pizza. Sao Paulo is meant to have some of the best pizza in the world, and I wanted to test it out. Erio knew a place nearby so we went and grabbed a few pieces of pizza. It was good pizza, but it wasn’t mind blowing. Maybe I’ll need to try another place when I’m sober before I leave SP to test it for myself.
After finishing the pizza we all jumped in a taxi and they dropped me off at my hotel first, which was very nice. It was great to catch up with Esther again, and to chat with Erio too. Hopefully we’ll all get together for the Super Bowl on Sunday night, but it’s not 100% yet. It would be great to see them again before I leave though. I certainly had a very good night with them tonight.