A foreigner’s 1st impression of São Paulo when I was …
When I was landing at Congonhas airport (domestic flights) I could see that São Paulo is a monumental city!
There are a large number of buildings, some of which are so high that you might think that they will touch the airplane.
During the landing my stomach churned, because the runway at Congonhas airport is tiny. It is an airport in the middle of this gigantic city.
I chose Tam airline and they offered an excellent on-board service. They gave me a delicious sandwich, a comprehensive beverage selection and also a fantastic entertainment system.
People at Sao Paulo airport are nice, however they are understaffed and I could see a lot of passengers waiting.
In front of the airport, there are a lot of taxis (There isn’t UBER in Congonhas as they are not allowed), and there is a line organized by the airport staff.
On the way to the hotel, inside the taxi, I saw a lot of art on the sides of the roads. I thought this concrete jungle was very vibrant.
There are some problems with the roads infrastructure, and the taxi needs to avoid them. Also during the rush hours there is a lot of traffic.
Inside the car I was listening to a lot of Brazilian music. On the radio station I could listen to Brazilian music and music in English from all genres such as pop, rock, etc.
Some Brazilian radio station:
My first night out in São Paulo was unforgettable!
The Uber in São Paulo is really quick to respond. The cars are clean and comfortable, the drivers are polite, and there is water and some candies to make your trip pleasant.
During the ride I saw some fantastic sights, like big parks and amazing buildings with modern architecture. I was expecting there to be buildings everywhere, but there are a lot wide roads and parks.
In São Paulo there are more than 300 bars all over the city .
I arrived at Vila Madalena, São Paulo neighborhood, and it was an impressive sight. There are bars and people everywhere. All the bars look good, so it’s hard to choose one. I went to Boteco São Bento. There were happy and beautiful people, dancing, singing, chatting and having fun with friends.
In Vila Madalena neighborhood there are over 100 bars.
The most traditional bars have tables and chairs for you to sit, drink, eat some appetizers and talk with friends.
I was lucky to get in because usually it isn’t very easy to get inside. There wasn’t a line outside, like people always warn me about.
Inside there was loud Brazilian music playing (sertanejo, samba, pagode) and music in English (David Guetta, Ellie Goulding, Guns and Roses, Strokes, etc). The Dj was amazing and nobody could stop dancing. People are outgoing, and they will talk with you and will invite you to have fun with their friends. If you go alone you could return with a lot of new “amigos”.
In the bar you pay everything at the end which is great when you want to buy a drink. But if you need to leave urgently, you will have to wait in the line to pay the bill. So make sure you do not have a hangover.
Most of the people at the bar drank beer. There are small glasses and the beer comes in bottles to share with your friends. The bottles of beer are stored in a bucket of ice. So the beer is always cold.
The national alcohol of Brazilian is cachaça derived from sugar cane. Caipirinha, the most famous Brazilian drink is made with cachaça (or vodka if you prefer). The traditional caipirinha is made with lemon, ice, sugar and cachaça, but can be made with other fruit like strawberry, passion fruit, pineapple and so on.
I enjoyed the caipirinha, however after one I decided that I prefer to stay with the strong beer! The most popular beers in Brazil are: Skol, Brahma, Original and Serramalte. You can also buy foreign beer such as Stella, Corona, Budweiser and Heineken.
Everybody was holding their glasses and dancing at the same time, it’s a kind of fuel to continuous dancing.
It was an entertaining and fantastic new experience.
At the end of the night I went to find some food, because everybody was hungry after a long night of dancing. I found a Padaria 24hs (Bakery), that is half restaurant and half grocery stores. You can order a sandwich if you are starving in the middle of the night.
São Paulo has over 2500 restaurant options around the city that operate 24 hours a day.