I think Laura pretty well covered the first part of our day at the art museum in the previous post (though I should mention that the museum did have entire floor dedicated to an interesting Max Ernst exhibit), so I’ll just briefly go over some of the other things we did today.

Once we had finished looking at the art museum we ate lunch in the square outside (where the teenagers in Laura’s post had been). The area had mostly cleared out by the afternoon and was now just occupied by workers on breaks (and a teenage couple who made out there the entire time we were in the museum and eating lunch). While we ate a young guy came up to us trying to sell his hand made book of tiny poems, for 2 reais. I didn’t buy it because I typically don’t buy things from people who approach me on the street, but afterward I wondered if I should have made an exception in this case. After all, what better souvenier could I have found than a hand made book of Brazilian poems? The next time something like that happens, I will definitely have to remember this experience.

In any case, after we left the museum we came back to our hotel because I had forgotten our map, which had our directions on it to all the places we wanted to go. Once we had that, we decided to head out to the neighborhood of Liberdade, which is a Japanese area. In fact it is the largest settlement of Japanese people outside of Japan.

The walk to Liberdade was really far, but interesting because it took us out of the more touristy/affluent Avenida Paulista and Jardins neighborhoods.

By the time we arrived in Liberdade it was starting to get dark. That kind if worried me, because the walk back was going to take awhile and we look pretty touristy (ironically, that’s due at least in part to the fact that I’m the only guy on the streets in summer clothes; everyone else is all bundled up in more weather-appropriate coats).

Even though it was getting dark and I thought we probably seemed like ideal targets for theft, Liberdade was pretty cool. Imagine Chinatown in San Francisco, only with Japanese culture, and that is sort of how the neighborhood looks. It covers a huge area too.

We walked around the area for a while and considered buying some sushi, but eventually bought food from a street vendor (R$10) instead because it was a lot cheaper (and if we want sushi we can always get it when we come back to Sao Paulo before flying to London).

By this time, however, it was completely dark. Liberdade looks really cool at night because all the streets are lit with what look like lanterns (but are actually just lantern-shaped street lights).

Unfortunately, however, the darkness also made us hesitant to walk back to our hotel. Instead we decided to take the subway (R$ 2.66 each) but that also posed a problem because we had run out of cash and no ATM machine would recognize our card. Eventually one did though (and in the process of finding it we visited the city’s cathedral), and we got on the most crowded subway I’ve ever seen. It was interesting because many people at our subway stop seemed to be waiting for less busy trains. Following their lead (and because there was literally no way to get on the trains with so many people) we also waited a while until two people near a train car door got off. Then, before anyone else could take the vacant spots (which weren’t really “spots” so much as they were minute gaps between other people) we jumped on, road to another station, switched trains, and walked back to our hotel.

Tomorrow we head to Rio de Janeiro. We’ll be there for six nights and I have high expectations for our hotel, so expect more about that later (though I’m not sure if it has Internet access, so it may take us a little while to post again).


Written by Jim Dalrymple II

Urbanism and travel writer. Also a journalist covering the news.

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