Big City Tales

Beyond the Concrete Sprawl of Sao Paulo

March 16, 2018
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To the casual observer the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil may appear to be just another urban jungle ripe with crowded streets, polluted air and frenzied citizens. However, when you take a deeper look through the lenses of its passionate residents, there is much more beyond its concrete sprawl that makes it a must-see destination.

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Arts Scene

From ancient Brazilian artifacts to modernist paintings and works of European masters, there are plenty of places to please the palates of art lovers.

The Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo features the largest collection of Brazilian paintings and sculptures; Museu do Ipiranga showcases furniture and historical paintings from the Brazilian Empire era; the Sao Paulo Museum of Art has one of the most important permanent collections of paintings from the French and Italian schools, as well as temporary exhibitions of contemporary works.

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In addition to its numerous world-class museums, Sao Paulo is known for its colorful, eclectic and vibrant ethnic neighborhoods that are reflective of the city’s status as the most multicultural in Brazil.

Intermixed with born and bred Paulistanos are immigrants hailing from all over Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and other South American countries who proudly put their respective cultural heritages on full display.

Urban street art is very common giving the city an “open air” museum vibe.

 

Foodie Scene

Owing to its ethnic diversity, Sao Paulo offers a wide variety of dining options and is considered to be the gastronomical capital of Latin America.

Along with regional delights such as traditional steak dishes and tapioca stuffed with dulce de leche, foodies will enjoy the tastes of Italian pizza and Japanese sushi. Of note, there are over 6,000 pizzerias across the city and over 600 restaurants serving Japanese cuisine.

 

Nightlife Scene

Rivaling the likes of New York and Tokyo, Sao Paulo comes to life at night. Be it live theatre or cinema, a concert, or bar-hopping and dancing, opportunities to be entertained around the clock abound.

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For those craving something a little more tame/family-friendly for a night out on the town, Ibirapuera Park has a planetarium and a fountain water show.

 

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Rocking it out in Rio de Janeiro

January 31, 2013
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Talk about a crowd…Rio’s annual Carnival celebration is the largest and most widely attended in the world.

The city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil conjures up many images, and at this time of year nothing is more top of mind than the upcoming Carnival festival season. The start of Carnival is eagerly anticipated for it means that days on end of uninhibited fun “rocking it out” in the streets is in store.

Dubbed by locals as “The Greatest Show on Earth,” the festival is a hallmark of Brazilian culture, with the Samba School parade being a key highlight. Filled with a seemingly unending array of elaborate floats, exotic costumes, and energizing music — all equally tantalizing — Carnival is probably best known for this visually stunning and vibrant display!

The parade primarily showcases the talents of regional Samba School performers, but anyone can pay an entrance fee to don a costume and shake their Samba booty along the world-famous Sambodromo exhibit space. And pay they do! It is not uncommon to see local TV/movie personalities sauntering side-by-side with adventurous tourists, both fully decked out in sequins and showing off what their momma’s gave them!

Without question, Carnival is one of Rio de Janeiro’s greatest attractions, but there are many more things to marvel at.

Observe Exhibit A below:

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It is little wonder that Rio de Janeiro is known as the ‘Marvelous City!’

From the towering Christ the Redeemer statue to the scenic tram ride up to Sugarloaf Mountain, to the raucous Maracana Stadium and the historic Copacabana Beach district, Rio de Janeiro serves up one delightful sight after another. And there will likely be a host of new attractions to take in over the next few years as the city prepares to host major events such as World Youth Day in 2013, the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Clearly, Rio de Janeiro’s nickname — Cidade Maravilhosa or ‘Marvelous City’ — is highly fitting and with millions of visitors descending to this South American hot spot every year, the numbers surely attest to the validity of the designation.

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Trazer em Rio (Bring on Rio)!