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7 minutes ago, Slvkguy said:

I had the complete opposite impression of SP and it was my first time visit recently too.  
Perhaps because I hired a professional guide and explored the entire city for several days - not just typical tourist areas of Jardins, Paulista & Republica.  If you go to Moema, Itaim Bibi  Lapa, Brooklin, Ibirapuera, Pinheiros as examples, it would be a different perspective.  Lapa looked like a lush tropical residential street in Beverly Hills.  Pinheiros reminded me of the coolest parts of LA near Silverlake.  I found São Paulo to be very sophisticated with Avenida Paulista one of the worlds grand iconic boulevards.

Similarly, I wouldn’t compare SP to a third tier European citiy as its South America’s financial & business capital with all the wealth & sophistication that entails.  It reminds a bit of Los Angeles in the sense that most visitors there fail to grasp what makes LA so great & interesting because none of its charms are obvious. You either have to know someone to show you, or live there for years to figure it out.  SP is the same - with its vast geography and  few obvious tourists sites it takes some effort to uncover, but the treasures are there.  30 million people live in the SP metropolitan area - of course they have the best of everything if you look for it.  Btw - I lived in Manhattan for 10 years, so I have a point of comparison.  The SP subway is so much better than NYC too - it’s not even a discussion. GRU made JFK look like a dump.

Pro tip - if staying at a 5 star hotel, have them send a car & driver to pick you up. It took 30 minutes max from GRU to Jardins.   It was about $65. in a new Mercedes’ and the driver met me after customs. Same thing on the return. 

Of course - we all have different tastes. I find many European capitals to be overly gentrified and rather homogeneous, borderline boring.  São Paulo is the only city I’ve visited that compares with the dynamic melting pot of immigrants and cultures that makes NYC so electric and interesting.  SP felt like parts of a NYC before gentrification.  As I was leaving my hotel in SP for the airport, in came a motorcade with police, flashing lights & dozens of security - a parade of Brazilian celebrities followed and then the Vice President of Brazil w entourage.  Anything but boring.

I’d go back tomorrow - it’s my favorite city in the world by far.
 

Thank you for the tips. I’ll definitely try harder when I’m back. But taste-wise, we can’t be more different. I go to NYC about 4 times a year, sometimes for over two weeks and I never cared too much for it. 

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8 hours ago, endlessdream said:

I happened to see him getting into a black sedan with an older gentleman. At that point, I was sure he was lying

Ummmmm, yes.  Sex-workers tend to say what will get them to the next paying customer without causing offense.  You can bet on that.

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1 minute ago, endlessdream said:

Thank you for the tips. I’ll definitely try harder when I’m back. But taste-wise, we can’t be more different. I go to NYC about 4 times a year, sometimes for over two weeks and I never cared too much for it. 

great reporting.  vacation is all about what makes YOU happy.  
I love urbanism and big complicated cities, so I wanted to see everything in SP and not the typical tourist stuff.  The guide was surprised because he said nobody asks to see the things I wanted to see.  
But, yes SP is very similar to LA in that many visitors leave disappointed that they either missed something, were underwhelmed or just didn’t care for it. 

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3 minutes ago, Slvkguy said:

great reporting.  vacation is all about what makes YOU happy.  
I love urbanism and big complicated cities, so I wanted to see everything in SP and not the typical tourist stuff.  The guide was surprised because he said nobody asks to see the things I wanted to see.  
But, yes SP is very similar to LA in that many visitors leave disappointed that they either missed something, were underwhelmed or just didn’t care for it. 

Yeah. I admire your courage. I used to be more open minded about stuff but now I stick to what I like. When I go to LA, I’d only stay around Santa Monica and Marina Del Rey …

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4 hours ago, Slvkguy said:

yes SP is very similar to LA in that many visitors leave disappointed that they either missed something

That's exactly how I felt about LA, but I didn't really try either. San Francisco for me is so much better, it's much easier to have short conversations with strangers including locals.... and the staff in stores, etc, remain cheerful and outgoing even with the onslaught of tourists.

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1 hour ago, endlessdream said:

Thx. For some reason, I just can’t live fairytales. lol 

I enjoyed reading and seeing it through fresh eyes.....I've been going over 20 yrs.....and we either miss, never saw or forget many things 😉

And for someone like TotallyOz , who hasn't been back in a while might become nostalgic, especially since he spent so much time at the Intercontinental himself......

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4 hours ago, xpaulo said:

That's exactly how I felt about LA, but I didn't really try either

almost everyone has that as first impression about LA- both Americans & foreign visitors.  It’s a tough city for visitors. 

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15 minutes ago, Slvkguy said:

almost everyone has that as first impression about LA- both Americans & foreign visitors.  It’s a tough city for visitors. 

I spend a day walking around in Bogota and it was what I needed to realize what’s missing for me in São Paulo: the history. Just like LA, things are two dimensional, lacking depth. It might not be a problem for people from younger civilizations though. Again, it’s just me. Some people might hate places with too much residue. Lol. 

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On 6/18/2022 at 1:44 AM, Uqtyang said:

Thanks for this! 
did not know there is a Korean / Chinese town in SP, in addition to the Japanese themed Liberdade. 
do you still remember the name of the restaurant in Chinatown?

São Paulo has the 2nd largest population of Asians outside of the continent.  So I know the Paulistas more than likely have encountered "smooth legs/bodies, etc.  Their being unusually interested perhaps was their way of wanting to hook up!!!

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On 6/18/2022 at 9:22 AM, floridarob said:

Great report....lots of truths in there.

Muito obrigado...  I enjoyed the read and look forward to your future reporting about your experiences.  [São Paulo was too large for me; I had difficulty manuevering which was completely opposite when I was in Rio.  ...guess I don't like overly-huge cities per se.

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On 6/19/2022 at 12:32 AM, endlessdream said:

I spend a day walking around in Bogota and it was what I needed to realize what’s missing for me in São Paulo: the history. Just like LA, things are two dimensional, lacking depth. It might not be a problem for people from younger civilizations though. Again, it’s just me. Some people might hate places with too much residue. Lol. 

SP has history too.

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On 6/18/2022 at 5:46 AM, endlessdream said:

Ming Du

What was it like? Chinese food takes on unique characteristics of their foreign locale and there's always that moment of adjustment for those of us familiar with American Chinese food or "real" Chinese food from Asia. Given the quirks of Brazilian Japanese food (fruit sushi) and Brazilian pizzas, I'm curious about Brazilian Chinese.

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On 6/22/2022 at 6:19 PM, Axiom2020 said:

So I know the Paulistas more than likely have encountered "smooth legs/bodies, etc.

Brazil has a large indigenous population that is likely very smooth and hairless. Not to mention all the shaved and primped guys in the videos or at the sauna.

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On 6/18/2022 at 1:44 AM, Uqtyang said:

did not know there is a Korean / Chinese town in SP

The Koreans run the garment industry throughout South America. There's a great, very hip Korean restaurant in Bom Retiro called Komah.

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On 6/17/2022 at 10:17 PM, endlessdream said:

Reinaldo

Reinaldo. Wow. *sigh*

That one needs to be in a museum of natural history. I first saw him 13 years ago and had several repeats. He disappeared for a long time - word was he was taken in by a "cliente particular" - but the bloom must have come off that rose because he's back. (And I did see him last May.) I would not necessarily disbelieve his reason for rushing out. He always comes only on a Thursday and ALWAYS rushes out to catch a bus, no matter how much business you promise him. 

Did you pull the tape measure out on him? I too have a clinical mind and would like scientific confirmation of his size.

Fun fact: He told me he was 1/4 Japanese.

 

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18 hours ago, davet said:

Reinaldo. Wow. *sigh*

That one needs to be in a museum of natural history. I first saw him 13 years ago and had several repeats. He disappeared for a long time - word was he was taken in by a "cliente particular" - but the bloom must have come off that rose because he's back. (And I did see him last May.) I would not necessarily disbelieve his reason for rushing out. He always comes only on a Thursday and ALWAYS rushes out to catch a bus, no matter how much business you promise him. 

Did you pull the tape measure out on him? I too have a clinical mind and would like scientific confirmation of his size.

Fun fact: He told me he was 1/4 Japanese.

 

Oh. That’s bad news. Cos I kinda thinking about hiring him for some extended programas when I’m back to SP. He’s very persistent, even while I was out of Brazil. But I don’t like rushing through things. 

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18 hours ago, davet said:

What was it like? Chinese food takes on unique characteristics of their foreign locale and there's always that moment of adjustment for those of us familiar with American Chinese food or "real" Chinese food from Asia. Given the quirks of Brazilian Japanese food (fruit sushi) and Brazilian pizzas, I'm curious about Brazilian Chinese.

It’s actually quite authentic. Apart from certain minor adjustments they had to do due to limits of ingredients, it’s real Chinese food. 

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