Going to São Paulo has never been on my bucket list, per se, but I have always been curious about this massive city, home to at least 17 million people. Knowing many people who have recently moved over there, taking advantage of a growing economic market, I kept hearing more and more positive things about Brazil’s financial and business capital.. so on a recent trip to Rio de Janeiro, I decided to take a little detour and spend 24 hours in São Paulo. And delighted to have done so.
We flew overnight from London and landed at Guarulhos airport quite early in the morning. First hurdle – how to get into the city. Risk a cab? Well no, pre-pay and pre-book one at the central airport booth. May be slightly more expensive, but you know where you are going. Safety is an issue and as you know, I am not one to take unnecessary risks.
We were told, by knowledgeable friends and business colleagues that, basically, there were “3 places to stay” – the Fasano, the Unique and the Emiliano. It was a very difficult choice, but we settled for the middle option – the Unique, and indeed it was!
After a much-needed power shower and a strong Brazilian coffee, we were ready to enjoy what this giant city had to offer us. Time was ticking, and I knew what I needed to do… shopping and eating!
I had prepared for this trip – big time! Brazil, for me, equals bikinis which, in turn, equals Cia. Maritima. Brazilians know their swimwear (and worry not, they have what they call the “European cut”) and I found out that there was an outlet not “too far” from the hotel. The receptionist laughed when we asked her if it was as good as it sounded and confirmed my suspicions. I wasn’t disappointed – a $20 cab-ride later and 6 bikinis and 2 swimsuits, from the current European collection (Brazil is a season ahead of Europe) for the price of 2, seriously 2, swimming costumes, I was ready for Rio.. or was I? For the hard-core shoppers, the address can be found here.
By this time, I was quite hungry, but not sure what my stomach could take. I think overnight flights are quite strange in that sense and remembered a suggestion.. Hotel Fasano. I had booked a table there anyway, and knew it was “the place to be” for lunch, but wasn’t sure if I was in the mood or not.. I am glad we went.
Brazilians have amazing food, but are also very very good at looking after their fab bodies, so a light buffet lunch was just what we needed. It wasn’t a buffet in Vegas terms.. it was a selection of wonderfully presented salads, cheeses, fruit (oh my God) and desserts. That and a diet coke and I was immediately awake and ready for an afternoon at nearby Oscar Freire street.
There is something about Brazil.. and amazing shoes. I “had” to stop at the flagship Havaianas store, would be rude not to… but I wasn’t ready for Schutz. We are talking serious shoe-lust, love, whatever you want to call it!
It hasn’t happened *that* many times, being surrounded and wanting to actually buy 10 pairs of beautiful shoes. I was so excited, I can’t tell you. I looked at the price tags and was in heaven. $50? Seriously? All of a sudden Mr. O looked worried but then started laughing. I didn’t understand, and honestly didn’t care – I work, I earn, I can buy my own shoes.. then he asked.. have you seen the price tags? yes.. they are great aren’t they? Well, yes.. but that is 1 payment of 6 or 10. What? Word of warning, don’t be fooled. It is “normal” for people in Brazil to spread payments over x months on their credit cards (interest free and all).. and the prices advertised reflected that.
I didn’t know where to look – the sales lady was very excited and I had to disappoint her. So I bought a pair.. and went back for another later on. (Want to laugh? One of the pairs of shoes is too small for me. Only realised that last week). Oh well.
We carried on down the street and loved most things we saw. But we were tired, and was time to head back to the hotel, have a swim, a little lie down, a cocktail and dinner.
Could you say no to this? I couldn’t and glad I didn’t!
Of course we then had to say yes to the wonderful caipirinhas and stayed for dinner, and drinks and a bit of fun. I will never forget the view of the São Paulo skyline, from Skye, the name of the restaurant and bar.
If this was part of the best of what São Paulo has to offer, I shall be back next time I venture over this amazing country. Next day, we were off to Rio for a week. Not bad at all, it is all I can say.