This was my first time to South America! When most people think of Brazil they think of Rio. Most people don’t know much about São Paulo. It is a metropolitan city that is the capital of the state of São Paulo and the largest city in Brazil. Rio is like the vacation and party city of Brazil while São Paulo is like the business city. I was expecting it to look like Rio but was quite surprised at how developed it was with its big buildings, streets and highways.
São Paulo was a last minute trip and so I didn’t get to do any research before I went. One of my colleagues did a little bit of research and was interested in going to the Mercado Municipal de São Paulo or, in English, the Municipal Market of São Paulo. It was about a 25 minute taxi ride from the hotel we stayed at next to the Octavio Frias de Oliveira bridge. So I was interested and I must say it was a good choice! The Mercado Municipal houses a huge variety of dairy products, meats, baked and cooked goods, nuts, souvenirs, vegetables and, most of all, exotic fruits from all over South America! They had fruits I have never seen before and, hands down, were the sweetest and most flavorful fruits I have ever tasted in my life! The vendors allowed us to sample any fruit we wanted! You all already know: if it’s free, it’s for me! So my colleagues and I enjoyed sampling the exotic fruits on display.
After sampling so many fruits then purchasing some for ourselves, we perused the market some more, taking pictures and purchasing food and souvenirs. It was a great Brazilian market experience!
Outside of the Mercado Municipal there are tons of shops and vendors that line the streets. It is definitely a shopping area. In the streets walking among the people is where you really feel the Brazilian culture and their people. Samba music playing from certain stores, sellers speaking in Portuguese trying to entice you into their stores, shoppers moving swiftly through streets via walking, bicycles, motorcycles and vehicles and the Brazilian flag spotted on different items to purchase. It’s definitely a big city experience. In addition, so many of the faces resembled my own! No wonder many people have asked me if I was Brazilian. LOL I fit right in! However, Brazilians come in all colors! What I didn’t know is that there is huge Japanese population in Brazil. Actually, the biggest population of Japanese people, outside of Japan, is in Brazil.
After our fill of São Paulo, we headed back to the hotel by taxi . My colleagues returned to the hotel while I ventured to find a salon that I was told was in the vicinity. I wanted to cut my hair real short and where I presently live in the East, many of the salons are not used to doing natural, curly hair and, in addition, cutting it short. I was advised by another natural colleague that I can get my hair cut when I go to Brazil. She got her hair cut very short there and they are use to the different textures of natural hair and I could also find good products for natural hair there, too. So I gave the salon a try. It was not bad and it was cheap! I would have paid probably triple the price where I live!