City stats São Paulo
- Population: 12.2m
- Area: 1.521 km2
- Elevation: 780m
- Average temperature: 24C
City stats Foz do Iguaçu
- Population: 263.508
- Area: 618 km2
- Elevation: 164m
- Average temperature: 30C
From one jungle to the next
One a concrete jungle, the other an actual jungle (or Atlantic forest we were told); our final two stops in Brazil couldn’t have been more different.
Let’s take São Paulo first. Concrete jungle probably doesn’t do justice in describing how much of a beast this city is. It’s simply overwhelming; whether it be the volume of people, the obscene number of skyscrapers in all directions (which we observed from Edifício Italia during the day and the Skye Bar for a stunning nighttime view), or the sheer size, with vast neighborhoods and streets stretching from one side of the city to the other that have you walking for hours. Take your pick. The closest comparison we can draw is New York City (particularly Manhattan). But even that doesn’t really compare.
Don’t get us wrong. It wasn’t overwhelming in a bad way; quite the opposite for us. Albeit we’ve seen some beautiful places in Brazil, São Paulo was our favorite; beautiful in different ways. It was here that we found some of what we’d been missing in the rest of Brazil; a more international feeling, a more cosmopolitan culture, (generally speaking) a more welcoming and open vibe and a kind of brutish charm to the buildings and different neighborhoods.
Put simply; in São Paulo we felt more at home:
- We felt we could more easily show affection and be comfortable as a couple walking down the street (particularly in the Augusta and Jardin areas).
- There was a much more welcoming night scene with way more open and (gay) friendly parties; we experienced a queer pop party at Club Zig thanks to Lucas (a guy we’d met last year in South Africa), an intimate techno party at Club Jerome and a rougher techno bear party (Brutus) in a cool abandoned warehouse with a Berlin feel about it.
- The city brimmed with cultural activities, whether it be the Sundays on Paulista Avenue (an 8 lane avenue blocked off for the entire day for people to stroll down and enjoy artist markets and performances), or the heaps of free galleries, exhibits and museums to visit (particular favorites of us were the IMS and the 30th Bienal de São Paulo). Added to this, on every turn we seemed to be caught by surprise by amazing street art (for street art lovers Batman Alley will send you into overload!)
- Topping it all off is the abundance of small designer stores and markets, restaurants and food halls (at one of which we had the most amazing shawarma from ‘Mr Bean Laden’ himself), and bars and cafes to choose from.
The list could go on and on for us.
We acknowledge that for many the city may be too much to handle. Particularly the busyness, the run-down center and the stark levels of poverty and homelessness you encounter (we’ll talk a bit more about this in our next blog). For us, this made us feel more alive and so, São Paulo Is definitely on our list to return to some day (particularly as despite spending 8 days there we don’t feel like we even scratched the surface).
(Click on picture to enlarge)
Foz do Iguaçu by total contrast was about nature and waterfalls, followed by more waterfalls, with a side of waterfalls. Not forgetting the sweltering heat and barrage of insect bites too, of course.
Set at the point where the 3 borders of Brazil, Paraguay & Argentina meet, the Iguaçu Falls were breathtaking and the perfect place to finish our time in Brazil; showing us some of the best in beauty Brazil has to offer (and Argentina too for that matter). We loved our time here on both sides of the falls; enabling us to enjoy a 9k trek through the falls, as well as enjoy a Disney-like boat ride into them (think the log flume on steroids). It’s definitely worth a visit for anyone in this part of the world.
Couple of words of advice though:
- Bring plenty of insect repellent. Carl began to look like the elephant man, swelling up from so many bites.
- Don’t stay in a 10 bed dorm room. Especially in such hot and sticky areas. Not advisable. We can only liken it to witnessing a 3rd kind of jungle. The first and last time we will be sleeping with 10 others on this trip.
(Click on picture to enlarge)
So after 5 weeks, that’s it for Brazil. Next up Argentina and Uruguay. You’ll be hearing more about those in the next couple of weeks (not before we have wrapped up our thoughts on Brazil in next week’s blog).
Blondie & Jeroen x
For more (daily) pictures, visit our instagram page : 2minionsontour
- Countries visited: 1
- Cities visited: 8
- Distance travelled: 14.116 km
- Modes of transport:
- Plane (3)
- Night-bus (3)
- Day bus (3)