Shopping and My Police Raid… Sao Paulo and Paraty, Brazil

Highs and Lows of Brazil

About the Photo Above: Street in Paraty, Brazil
I have a thing for colonial style towns and villages; something about the cobblestone streets intrigues me (even while trying to pull my four-wheeler luggage down the street). I found Paraty to be charming and interesting, enough so that I spent a week here.

Sao Paulo and the Shopping Mall
I arrived at my hostel in Sao Paulo and asked the local guy at reception what interesting things there are to see in Sao Paulo. His eyes lit up and he said, “we have an excellent shopping mall only two blocks from our hostel with Armani, Gucci and Tommy Hilfiger! It also has a food court with Pizza Hut and McDonalds!” Hmm… Let me just say, when I am a tourist exploring the world, a shopping mall with McDonalds and Armani suits are not really at the top of my list of things to see. I wandered Sao Paulo the next day with camera in hand thinking I’d find some interesting architecture or nice parks to photograph. No and no. I spent two nights and a full day there and couldn’t find anything I felt worthing of the digital space on my camera. I think for locals, Sao Paulo might be a wonderful city to live in, with a wide variety of good paying employment, quality housing, shopping and fine food–essentially everything a consumer minded individual would enjoy. For me? Well, it was not my cup-of-tea, thus I don’t have any photos to display of McDonalds or Armani… sorry!

Paraty, Brazil
Paraty offers two things I enjoy as a world traveler: interesting streets and buildings as well as nice beaches. The highlight of my weeks stay was the 60RS (about $20) boat trip with unlimited caipriniha drinks. Caipirinha (k-eye-per-reen-yah) is the name of the drink: Cachaca (kashasah) is the name of the alcoholic spirit/liquor used in the drink. Cachaca is a Brazilian distilled liquor that starts from unaldulterated sugarcane juice (unlike rum, which is made from what is left over after the main sugar removal process). The boat tour started at 11am and ended at 5pm (that’s six hours of drinking while lounging about on a boat). The boat stopped at four islands for quick swims and blared party music the whole time (until we were raided by the harbor police). It was quite delightful and the most fun I had had in several weeks!

Map of My Travels in South America
Curious to see a map of my travels in South America? View the map.

Costs in Southern Brazil
While hostels were cheap, food costs were similar to the USA.
Hostel: $10-12/night (shared dorm) including breakfast
Food: typically $7-12 meal for lunch or dinner; I ate lunch “by the kilo” places for $6 to $7 for a large plate of food.
Transportation: City-to-city buses cost about $5/hour. I rode two buses, one for five hours and the other for six. Costs were $25 to $30 for day buses.

Next: Rio de Janeiro!

Awesome Art Guy

While I didn’t see any big street murals or big, giant metal sculptures, I loved this funky art piece of a guy sipping his drink outside a cafe. He was just sitting and chilling much like the locals who like to lounge outside their houses and restaurants and greet friends and neighbors who walk by.

Beach and Brazilian Bikini

Young and old women were baring their butt cheeks in Brazilian bikinis. I saw girls as young as 10 or 11 years old and grammas pushing 200 lbs clad in . It was the norm rather than the exception. Men? Speedos were in abundance!

The Harbor

The harbor had perhaps a hundred of these small boats holding about 15 passengers each. There were also a handful of the bigger passenger ships holding about 100 each. I was told the smaller boats were better for touring the islands.

Drinking for Six Hours

We boarded at 11am and began drinking caipirinha drinks. I rarely drink, but these drinks were quite yummy and the breeze on the boat was quite nice. By the end of the six hour trip I had consumed five drinks and had trouble walking. Thank goodness I was laying down most of the day on the top deck of the boat!

Police Raid!

Near the end of our boat trip the local harbor patrol decided they needed to turn on the lights and sirens and board our boat. Our captain provided documents (and perhaps a bribe?) and after about 10 minutes we were on our way!

Wonderful Water

Although beaches right in front of Paraty had dirty water and were not so nice, only a half hours ride from Paraty were the amazing beaches at Trindade with clear blue waters and nice white sands.

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