Val and Gord's South American Adventure travel blog

Hola. We arrived in Sao Paulo at 8.30 a.m. Gord made arrangements to go to the metro station 1 1/2 hours away. A nice lady on the bus suggested we take a taxi from there and showed us where to catch a cab. We showed the address of our hostel to the cabbies and no one knew where it was. They got out a 4 inch directory and Gord asked if they had GPS. They said, "But of course!" And Gord asked why they didn't use it. So our bags were loaded and the GPS was retrieved from the glove box. We were off down the freeway following directions for an hour's ride. Only at the end did we go around the block...and only once. The GPS tells all. Sao Paulo is a large modern city of 20 million people. Tu Casa is but one small cog in Saude District. The owners were very friendly and helpful with lots of useful suggestions. We had intended to do a tour of town but our 24 hours did not fit with the tour we took the metro to Se Station and toured the streets radiating off from the square for a short distance. The Se Cathedral in the square is one of the oldest in town and is where the Pope will visit. Close by, was the Jesuit Church--the oldest in the city. It is the original building in Sao Paulo. It is now a museum as it was destroyed several times depending on whether the Jesuits were in favor or not. Part of the original wall still stands and is encased in glass. We did not find the Mercado although we were close. In the evening, Alex (one of Tu Casa's owners) sent us to the Paulista Avenue area. He said there was lots of neat little restaurants. We couldn't find any but just down a street close by, we found a bar and stopped for a drink and appie. Gord asked a girl if there was a good restaurant close by. She asked what kind of food he liked and when he said Italian she beemed and said 'come with me". She led us back the way we had come and beyond the metro station. She made sure we knew our way back as she took us to an excellent family-run restauramt for one of the best meals we've had since coming to South America. We had an agnoletti stuffed with Brazil nuts and walnuts with a cream sauce. Olives, cheese and both french bread and garlic bread were brought with the red wine--an excellent Argentinian malbec. Delicious! And we had no probleme finding our way back to the metro and Tu Casa. The next day we went off to another district to explore. By noon we were back to check out and headed to the domestic airport early. Our flight was at 7.30p from Viracopoulis--unfortuneately it is a hundred kms from Sao Paulo. Alex was sure we could catch the free Azul bus to Viracopoulous but we were flying TAM and they had no bus. An enterprising fellow said he'd take us for 270 Reals. Yikes! We managed to agree on 225 Reals--still far too much but we had to get there and taking the local buses would have taken too long. At 140 kms an hour it took us an hour and twenty minutes. We arrived 1/2 an hour before check-in. All went smoothly and we were soon on our way to Rio de Janeiro. When we arrived we taxied into the hanger and waited and waited....20 minutes went by and they announced they had a probleme but we would soon be off the plane. Another 20 minutes went by and finally we disembarked. It seems the walkway wouldn't co-operte. Our bags were supposed to be on the 2nd carosel but showed up on #3. This was not a good start to our visit. It was almost 10p before we arrived at Rio Theresa. Chau

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