São Paulo, Brazil
The beginning of Sao Paulo was a bit hectic as I arrived at the bus terminal in the evening at dark (around 7pm). The bus ride itself was comfortable with a window seat at the very front of the bus on the second level so I could see everything in front with no one sitting next to me - score! The bus terminal had no Wifi, so I asked the Info Desk person where I could go to get Wifi for an Uber and the guy informed me about a Burger King across the street. It took me a while to find as the terminal was attached to this huge hub-like mall/metro center...I had gone up and down elevators, asked other Info desk people (rude people), but finally found the freaking Burger King to order the Uber. There were a lot of people around as I was trying to carry all my backpacks including many homeless people, but thankfully my Uber came quickly and I was off to my hotel. Driving through the city of Sao Paulo at night, I could tell the difference right away from Rio was that it seemed dirtier and much more populated and chaotic. When I got to my hotel, it was not what I was expecting, but then again, I'm almost always surprised when I first arrive at a new place (no matter the case - if I had done a lot of research or not). I checked in to this OX hotel that was very old-fashioned and was lead up the elevator to my room, and was so ready to do some yoga as I hadn’t been able to do any in Rio and especially after that long bus ride, my body was aching. So I did a smooth hour practice and had my own big room which was perfect but then the Wifi wasn’t working that great so I finally fell asleep around 1am after waiting for the Wifi to load. I was trying to save some money by not getting another SIM card, but it took a lot of time sometimes when relying on Wifi so it would have been worth it after all. I woke up to go on the free walking tour at 11am which included different hipster-like neighborhoods with graffiti, famous "Batman Alley", coffee shops, restaurants/bars, and shopping in the Pinheiros area. Then it started raining before the tour ended so we all went out to lunch afterwards. Met an Australian girl at first and then ended up becoming friends with her and a few other people staying at the same hostel as hers (a guy from Belgium, girl from Germany, guy from Germany). As well as a very sweet Irish couple and a guy from LA who I ended up meeting up with that night to watch some Jazz. Before Jazz, I met up with the others at their hostel and we played some beer pong while sipping on Caipirinhas. It was a fun night and I went to bed late again, so of course slept in and then went to try to get an adapter (since I still hadn't bought my own from when I borrowed the receptionist's in Rio), but couldn’t find one anywhere so I started to walk to the other free walking tour in another part of the city - more downtown with a corporate/modern-like feel. Everyone I was with the night before was also on the same tour which was funny (because we were all obviously hungover) and I met another girl from Turkey. The tour guide was great yet again and I really got a taste of the culture from walking through the busy streets and markets, parks, churches, universities and corporate office buildings, noticing a lot of homelessness. After the tour, some of us went to get those famous big bologna sandwiches at this market close by, which was packed with locals walking up and down the streets, trying to sell random junk. I’m telling you, it was all junk pretty much...you know those decorations and things you just don’t ever need...that’s what they were selling...all over the streets. And this was probably one of the few times during my trip that I felt a bit in danger because of how many people and chaotic things were happening around me while I was trying to see where to go on my phone, weaving in-between people left and right. Thankfully I was with a group so didn't stand out as much and I really held on to my bag because it was a prime pick-pocket zone. After walking through this huge fish, fruit, sandwich, dessert market, and devouring the huge bologna sandwich, I met up with Dev who had also gone to Sao Paulo a few days before. We went to a few coffee shops and walked around another part of Sao Paulo called Itaim as we discussed India (he lives there) and how we are going to meet up there in early December. Dev had to catch a flight that night so I went back to pack and the next morning went to this Japanese village for some coffee and pastries that were absolutely delicious and to my surprise ran into a cosmetics store that was named "Audrey"! Then I got an Uber to the airport right on time and I was off to see the largest waterfalls in the world at Iguazu - on the Brazil side first.