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LUXE City Guides - Sao Paulo - - Front Page -

A sprawl­ing jun­gle of con­crete and grid­locked traf­fic, São Paulo may not boast the looks of sexy sis Rio, but scratch be­neath her drab ve­neer and you’ll find an unsung won­der hum­ming with cut­ting-edge cui­sine, non­stop nightlife, di­verse cul­tural in­flu­ence, and street art like nowhere else. Just go now be­fore the rest of the world rains down on the City of Driz­zle. Va­mos lá!

Overview

At Sampa’s heart sits Cen­tro, an at times dan­ger­ous and sadly crum­bling echo of its colo­nial past. Perched in the hilly west are artsy Pin­heiros and Vila Madalena. To the south­west, fan­ning out below iconic fi­nance strip Avenida Paulista, is top-drawer shop­ping and din­ing desti Jardins, with lush Ibi­ra­puera park fur­ther south still.

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Win­ter (Jun-Aug) is dry n’ nippy; sum­mer (Jan-Mar) is pleas­antly warm, but beware apoc­a­lyp­tic down­pours Guarul­hos Air­port to Av Paulista: 45mins (traf­fic de­pen­dent) / R$120 by pre-paid cab. When fly­ing do­mes­tic opt for Con­gonhas – it’s much closer On a bud­get? Don’t ex­pect the dirt cheap LatAm of yore – Sampa is an af­flu­ent doll, with prices to match Events. Car­naval: Feb/Mar, the city emp­ties; SP Arte: Apr, smart art fest; Vi­rada Cul­tural: May, theatre, mu­sic, et al; Gay Pride: Apr/May, throngs n’ thongs English is rarely spo­ken, though many restau­rants have Eng menus. Keep your concierge on speed-dial Trans­port. Taxis are well-priced, many ac­cept cards + have GPS. The metro is clean and ef­fi­cient, but avoid chokka rush hour like you would a date with Dilma Lo­cal cur­rency is the real. ATMs are plen­ti­ful, but not com­pat­i­ble with all cards (check ahead) and close af­ter 10pm. Some petrol sta­tions of­fer Ban­co24Ho­ras Eti­quette: ladies, don’t put your handbag on the floor; Hava­ianas are a big no – you’re not in Rio any­more, Dorothy; one peck on the cheek will suf­fice; avoid putting pa­per in the loo (or risk clog­ging shame) Ser­vice. An op­tional 10% is usu­ally added, ta! Stores close Sun, while many restos open for lunch only. Mu­se­ums close Mon, as do some gal­leries Many bars/clubs pro­vide each guest with a card to tally up drinks + cover charge – pay when you leave Coffee: ‘puro’ is an espresso; ‘car­i­oca’ is sup­pos­edly weaker; ‘pin­gado’ is the clos­est you’ll get to a latte Carry a pho­to­copy of your pass­port at all times as en­try into some build­ings re­quires it The int’l di­alling code is +55, land­lines start with 11, nei­ther need be di­alled lo­cally, mo­biles start with 9 Tourist po­lice 3120 4417 – for crimes, not di­rec­tions

The fol­low­ing Por­tuguese phrases will come in handy…

Oi, tudo bem? : Hullo, how’s tricks? Obri­gado (for boys) / obri­gada (girls) : Ta, ever so Olha só essa gringa de chine­los! : Eugh, check out the flip-flops on that hap­less for­eign bird

...’kay, let’s festa

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