Tag Archives: Saõ Paulo

Polish man has holiday inside Sao Paulo airport

12 Jul

Robert Wladyslaw Parzelski took a flight from London to Sao Paulo. Upon arriving he set-up camp on a concrete bench. It would be 18 days before he left.

This story, which appeared in The Guardian last week, is really interesting for a number of reasons. One, because it definitely has clear echoes of Steven Spielberg’s film The Terminal (life imitating art and all that); two, because the airport really didn’t seem bothered that he was there which meant he could have stayed probably for as long as he wanted; three, and lastly, that no-one really knows what he was doing there.

Parzelski could not speak Portuguese or English, which made it very hard for the airport’s cleaning staff to ask him what exactly he was doing there. So, after someone informed the paper’s of his presence, they then found a Polish doctor to speak to him. Parzelski told the man that he had been sent to Sao Paulo to pick up two specially-commissioned telephones!! Yes… telephones! And that the man he was supposed to meet never showed up.

It does seem one of the strangest reasons to visit Sao Paulo, but hey, each to their own.

Parzelski is now back in London after the authorities managed to get him onto a flight. You can read the story in The Guardian here.

The Music Scene in Sao Paulo

9 May

It’s now been a couple of months since I got back from Sao Paulo but I am still working on material from my time there, and this has manifested itself in a number of ways.

The most exciting result from my time in Sao Paulo is the article I wrote for The Wire, which has been published in the May edition of The Wire. You can read that article here. However, as well as featuring in the print edition I also collected a number of mp3s for their website. You can listen to those mp3s here.

Even more exciting though is the compilation I made for Sounds and Colours, which was released today. This features 18 tracks by artists from Sao Paulo, highlighting the truly eclectic, amazing mix happening in the city at the moment. The compilation is entitled Nossa, Cara! New Sounds of Sao Paulo and can be listened to and downloaded from here.

I have also published a few interviews with singers from Sao Paulo, for both Sounds and Colours and JungleDrums. These were with Juliana R, Lulina, Blubell and Tulipa.

I’ve still got a few more articles to post too so keep your eyes peeled!

I wanted to leave you with a video from Criolo. He’s a rapper from the Grajaú neighbourhood of Sao Paulo and has just released Nó Na Orelha (you can download it for free from here), one of the best hip-hop albums I’ve ever heard! Here’s his video for “Nao Existe Amor Em SP (Love Doesn’t Exist in Sao Paulo)”:

Back in the land of the living

14 Mar

Who would have thought 12 days could pass by so quickly. My final flurry of activity in Sao Paulo to complete my last interviews and write up a few articles, as well as make sure I’d actually been to enough concerts to be able to write about some of them, and then eight days in Trindade has meant the pace had to slow on the blog here.

I am now officially back in the real world though, one where it takes a damn sight less than 10 minutes to read an email, and where I suddenly feel so much dirtier with my murky clothes looking so much more distasteful in the sharp, well-dressed environs of Sao Paulo. If you had ever tried to dry clothes in Trindade, i.e. in the rainforest, you would probably understand just why my clothes are currently in such a shabby state!

Over the next few days I will be doing my best to update the blog with a few bits and bobs about Paraty and Trindade carnival, as well as a few extra things about Sao Paulo that have yet to make it from notepad to notebook.

Discovering Sao Paulo’s music scene on the web

27 Feb

I recently found a few social media sites on the web which reflected parts of the Sao Paulo music scene that I had not really encountered, mainly because they revolve around electronic music, but I thought I would share them here, as they do also show how people are trying to design different kinds of websites in order to connect people and ultimately connect a few bucks with their bank accounts.

SoundCloud, which is a pretty cool service for uploading a few tracks for people to listen to. It allows for folk to download the tracks, comment on them and also allows for people to upload music simply by the old drag and drop. It seems like they’ve begun trying to communicate with people via a blog service looking at music from different places. This week they chose Sao Paulo of all places. All of the acts chosen are new to me and they seem okay, but they’re in no way as creative as some of the other artists currently working in Sao Paulo at the moment. You can check out this article HERE. There is also a group page where people from Sao Paulo upload music, much in the way that on flickr you can throw your new photos into a Sao Paulo group.

There is also a page at City Sounds (or citysounds.fm) which features plenty of music from Sao Paulo. This is a service similar to Last.fm but works geographically. I.e. I can check out London or Paris or Sao Paulo and find out what the people in those cities are listening to. It seems like everyone is listening to house and techno at the moment. Although this may be affected by the fact that mainly dance aficionados are signed up to the site, it may also be fact that dance and techno is more popular than the incredible, inventive pop music happening in Brazil right now. Why do people always take the safe option? Why are Coldplay so popular? I will never understand these things. For an update on what people are listenining to Sao Paulo right now just click HERE.

In way of respite, I would recommend checking out this article at Museyon, an interview with Flavia Durante, which reflects my kind of thing a little more, and also reveals a few more of the interesting things about Sao Paulo’s nightlife. She really does know her stuff.

And for an even greater respite just check out this video from Bodes e Elefantes:

Hostels and recommendations in Sao Paulo

24 Feb

My opinion of Sao Paulo has changed dramatically. The first time I came here I stayed for two days, felt my lungs, head and life clog up and quickly got the hell out. I wasn’t ready for the city. When my passion for Brazilian music started to take full hold I knew this was the place to come and buy cheap vinyl and discover music. Now that I’ve been here for a few weeks I can honestly say that I quite like the place (which is a lot easier to write after three days of sunshine (with 5 minutes of rain each day) than a full three hour rain storm where you have to hide under a 10-foot concrete awning which doesn’t even really help as the rain is hitting at you from everyone one of the 360 possible degrees).

A small village like Trindade is easier to fit into straight away. The people you meet on your first night are there on the second. The bars that you go to soon become favourite spots, partly due to the fact that they are only two bars ever open and so one simply has to become a favourite. It’s taken a couple of weeks of being in Sao Paulo but I’ve now got to the point where I can go to shows and know two or three people there, and on the occasional fortuitous amble to the shops meet someone familiar.

Yet for most tourists, myself included on my first visit, Sao Paulo is just here to be explored for a day or two before heading somewhere with a generally more appealing demeanour. The only guest who has stayed here at Oca Hostel for more than three nights was a Dutch guy who had already met a lovely Paulista girl, and was dead set on partying, which is pretty much what this place is all about anyway. This did leave the guy with a final weekly hostel bill of R$800 (£300) on top of whatever crazy prices he paid for drinks, club entrance fees, meals, and all the other high-priced fare he got upto.

Which always leaves me puzzled when new guests arrive and ask me what I would recommend. Get down the fruit market, go to a few museums, have a walk in the park – these are the main suggestions. Yet none of them will really endear Sao Paulo to someone anymore than any other city which has parks, museums and markets (which is in fact all other cities). Maybe the Paulistanos who say that “Sao Paulo works so that the rest of the country can play” has some logic, as even if you want to come here and party you need a pretty flexible bank balance and this rules it out for many travellers as well as people from Rio and other states, as well as many of the people from Sao Paulo itself.

Relaxing in Sao Paulo

23 Feb

These guys have worked it out. On top of the Coban building is the place to take a break from the mayhem. Just look at ’em:

Don’t they look content? Apparently they do this once a month, it enables them to get a bit closer to the streets of Sao Paulo. Presumably they tried sitting on the main road but struggled to get the peace they were after. Ya know I was sitting in traffic the other day. Got hit by three cars. And on that note, I’m out!

This image was stolen from HERE.

Sao Paulo = Hell de Janeiro x 10

22 Feb

My friend Fabiola often refers to Rio as Hell De Janeiro, which seems a little unfair because it is pretty much the best place ever. And, aside from that, there are places where hell seems a lot more apt, and Sao Paulo is one of them. Or at least it is between the hours of 4pm and 6pm everyday when the heavens open and each gloriously sunny summer’s day seems like just a myth. I was in Rio on Saturday and that was the first day of my trip without rain. The six-hour bus journey was a joyous trip through sun-kissed mountains, and then we got to Sao Paulo. You could in fact see it in the distance; a dark, angry cloud hovering above our destination. As soon as we entered the bus terminal, which is on the city’s outskirts the rain started pouring down, huge rocks of water with odd bout of thunder and lightning in case you weren’t quite feeling the hellishness enough yet. It all reminded me why at 4 ‘o’ clock every afternoon, when I see the darkness circling, I run back to the hostel to hide for a few hours. It’s very possible that the huge amount of pizzas consumed every day could be related to this stormy predicament, but I don’t want to draw any conclusions just yet. It’s either that, or the unbelievable amounts of concrete, cars and heat that just cause some kind of unbearable tension to break in the atmosphere each day.

Sao Paulo in Numbers

22 Feb

Numbers are great. Well for certain things anyway. Try telling someone that 3 is a better number than 2 and you’ll get in a whole heap of trouble though. But that’s another story really. These are a few numbers about Sao Paulo, taken from a Brazilian blog. I figured they may help paint a picture.

  • 11,244,365 inhabitants
  • 12,500 restaurants
  • 15,000 bars
  • 1 million pizzas a day
  • 17,000 items of sushi per hour
  • 1,950 banks
  • 148 universities
  • 3 million passengers per day in the Subway
  • 169 thousand public phones (public phones)
  • 4,500 public squares
  • 5,954 intersections with traffic lights
  • R$320 billion is the GDP (15% of Gross Domestic Product of South America)
  • R$5.3 billion is the average volume of the stock exchange / day
  • 3rd largest budget in the country (second only to the Union and State of São Paulo)
  • 300 thousand motoboys (but who are the motoboys?)
  • 6.5 million cars
  • 15 thousand buses
  • 32,766 taxis
  • 600 thousand companies
  • 51 malls
  • 410 hotels, with 42 one thousand quarters
  • 205 hospitals
  • 3885 private schools
  • 3153 public schools
  • 110 museums
  • 160 theaters
  • 600 new buildings per year
  • 4 thousand properties sold per hour in town

I’m not sure about the 1 million pizzas. That seems a bit much!

Free things to do in Sao Paulo

21 Feb

Cultura Grátis em São Paulo is my kind of site; a regularly-updated selection of free things to do in Sao Paulo. It may be in Portuguese but it is still extremely useful, with plenty of free music, film showing and art exhibitions to choose from. If you’re in Sao Paulo this is definitely worth checking out:

Cultura Grátis em São Paulo

Skipping straight through to Monday morning

14 Feb

Something had to give. I’d been on my best behaviour since arriving in Brazil, regularly in bed by midnight and getting up at 7.30 in the morning. My excitement in Brazil has been made up almost entirely of my current obsessions with Brazilian music, namely bands like M. Takara 3, Tulipa Ruiz, Lulina and Karina Buhr, all of whom are based in Sao Paulo. So I’ve been spending the majority of my time going to gigs, writing about those gigs, meeting Brazilian musicians and pitching ideas to hugely-underwhelmed editors. In some ways this culminated in some article ideas which I sent to Time Out SP last night for possible inclusion in the March edition.

After I sent the articles off with hopeful spirit, Isadora (who works at the hostel) asked if I wanted to join her for some drinks when she finishes work. Not having broken loose in a while I could only but agree, and so off we went at 2am to see what Sao Paulo has to offer on a Sunday night. We didn’t get too far. This is a city that has to sleep sometime, and Sunday night/Monday morning seems to be that time. After asking countless people getting chucked out of bars up and down Vila Madalena where was open and getting only negative answers we decided the best option was to go to the petrol station and get some beers there.

With a few extra people in tow, including a ridiculously-upbeat Dutch guy who kept asking us if we wanted to get some drugs, and a Brazilian girl who kept asking me to retort lines from the Harry Potter books and then shouting “Harry Potter! You’re Harry Potter!,” each time I followed her orders, we went to the petrol station. Which might seem a little depressing but was actually the best place you could ever go for beers. First off, the beers are a third of the price of beers in the bars, secondly we had our own table and chairs that were parked on the foyer, thirdly this meant we could get into a bit of banter with all the visitors to the station, fourthly we had a decent, clean toilet right next to us (which was always vacant) and lastly, when I told a taxi driver nearby that I was a big fan of Tim Maia (which he was playing in his car) he became our own little soundsystem, parking himself nearby. It was almost as if we had inadvertently started our own little bar on the street.

Heading home at 7.30am after countless beers, when the city is coming to life, was the strangest aspect of all. God knows what the people on the Metro thought of us as we camped out in the corner of the underground train. It’s fair to say we were past caring.