A business trip led me back to Sao Paulo less than 2 years since I was here last. This time I had the luxury of enjoying the city as a local — or as close of a local as you can get living in the posh neighborhood of Itaim Bibi. Nevertheless this time around I made an effort to improve my Portuguese and speak to other Googlers about what it’s like to live in a city with 20 million people.
Biggest take aways from Sao Paulo:
1) Brazilians love their sweets. Desserts like Brigadiero (pure chocolate covered in more chocolate) at times had me feeling sick from the sugar rush
2) Helicopters are to Sao Paulo as the Tesla is to the Silicon Valley. Almost all corporate buildings and even hotels have heli pads so the rich are not stuck in notoriously backed up traffic to and from the airport.
3) Festa Junina (oddly celebrated in July because of the sales quarter close) – is the country fair red-neck festival of your childhood dreams.
4) Sao Paulo is not such a dangerous city. Use your intuition and don’t wonder down dark alley ways. Don’t look like you don’t know where you’re going.
5) When in doubt, Spanish will help you a long way. Understanding generally how words are pronounced “ou” sound and “je” instead of “de” and when in doubt – add an “ie” or “chie” to the end of everything. Among my favorite words: macabookie and facebookie
6) Labor is cheap! You can hire a personal trainer, yoga instructor, or maid for the fraction of the cost of any service in the US. With the exception of laundry. Apparently laundry done outside of a house or apartment will cost you per article of clothing. There is no such thing as a laundromat.
7) Pao de Quejo and coxinhas are not just bar food, they are a way of life. Genetics have blessed Brazilians to digest these straight towards thighs and booty.
8) All you can eat Brazilian BBQ is an experience. Never have waiters even been so aggressive with the filet mignon! Pace yourself or you will be in for one upset stomach.
9) Driving on the highway turns into an artistic explosion of urban street art and minion stuffed animals?!?
Sao Paulo has a lot to offer and I can’t wait until I get an opportunity to visit again and explore some of the other neighborhoods outside of Itaim Bibi.