a city bigger than New York…but not taller

6 Jul

Sao Paolo Bus Terminal , nearly the end of june

I think all day, lovely thoughts in my head, in and out, in and out. But when it comes time to write…nothing

But here’s a go at something:

I felt the magnitude of Sao Paulo right away.  Whereever you look there were buildings.  And behind them buildings some more.  I wandered around for ages, meandering between the curious and the boring.  I walked along Paulista which looked like the main street in town.  Wide promenades, plazes, it was a serious boulvrd.  It reminded me of Moscow.  Musuems, banks, and starry eyes tourists all blended harmoniously together, though there were significantly less tourists about than in Rio.

Most of the city reminded me of a sprawling Brooklyn, residendial/commercial streets that had nothing remarkable about them, save that they were sort of ugly, like an Avenue M, or a Coney Island, but were home to millions of people, each of whom had busy, interesting lives that may never intersect my own – though I did cross paths with a homeless man, who asked me for directions, and to whom I was actually able to respond with the right ones.

There days I thought I looked like a local in Rio.  But in Sao Paulo it wasn’t even a question.  Home to the descendants of jews, germans, the Lebanese, Portuguese, and the Japanese, my dark hair and dark brown eyes assured I blended in with ease.

With no one to talk to, alone with my thoughts, I wondered what makes a city.  Here was the financial capital of the southern hemisphere, the center of magnificent feats of architecture, the world’s third largest city, and there I was alone, small, insignificant. Even bored.  But then again, what would I if I was dropped off on the upper east side.  Dine, drink?  Go to a movie or a comedy show?  Cities after all are quiet unremarkable when you don’t live there.

But alas, after a day and half, I had to make some generalizations, lest I wouldn’t be a proper tourist.  So here are some impressions of the big city:

only donuts i’d seen in south america so far.

the food wasn’t that great, at least not on the cheap.

huge gay population

empty streets on the weekend.

stylishly dressed, but not overflowing with good looking women.

noticeable poverty – more homeless people than rio, but definitely safer than in rio too

buildings were about everywhere – but the tallest was only 51 stories high

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