In his book, On Writing, Steven King suggests a minimum commitment of writing at least 1000 words each day. Perhaps one could take Sundays off, but otherwise, 1000 words each day. In addition, he suggests sitting in a very distraction-free (a.k.a. boring) room until you have achieved the daily goal. Given that he is a successful author and I am, as yet, and unknown writer, I figured it was about time to take his advice. Alas, what to write. This question has plagued me. Do I merely free write? I recall a Bob Newhart skit where he proposed that if given and infinite number of monkeys and an infinite number of typewriters, that eventually the monkeys would produce the Great Books. Well, I recently found myself with a topic on which to write.
My wife,Thene, is in Sao Paulo, Brazil for two weeks, leaving me utterly alone. As such I can either lie nose-nose with the family hound pining her absence (ok, that’s just pathetic) or I can use this time to summon my muse. I choose the latter. So over the next two weeks, I’m going to write about what I’m doing and, more importantly, why you should care. It’s going to be something of a travel expo, I hope you like it, but more importantly, I hope the little Greek shows up. So let’s get started.
The most logical place to begin seemed to be Sao Paulo. Other than my wife, I know only two others who have ever been there. That’s not really saying much because Sao Paulo is far from being some obscure dot on the globe like Bandar Lampung in Indonesia (where I went last September). With more than 12 million people in city and 20 million in the metro area, SP has the rather regal distinction of being the largest city in the southern hemisphere. OK, so 20 million is hard to wrap your brain around. If you count the city alone, SP ranks number 12, Mexico City, New York and LA are 19th, 21st, and 64th respectively. In addition, SP has 6.2 million cars, making driving a daily nightmare made only slightly better by the statute that regulates traffic by alternating driving days based on license plates. Effectively limiting one-half of the population from driving through the city on any given day.
Oddly, SP is far from a tourist hub. This is Thene’s fourth trip to SP and I have yet to join her, not from a lack of opportunity, but rather from a lack of interest. According to Trip Advisor, Sao-Paulo.com, and wiki-travel the top ten points of interest are museums, parks and buildings. Using Trip Advisor as a basis, SP has 750 sight-seeing points of interest. By comparison NYC has 2,962 and LA has 1,101.
OK, so let’s not judge a city by its TA rating, but rater by the quality of its offerings. The top 13 attractions are (much of the following has been copied and pasted):
According to the description. This is an urban park akin to Central Park
Sao Paulo Museum of Art
Containing one of Latin America’s most important collections of impressionist paintings, this attraction exhibits works of art by distinguished artists such as Degas, Renoir, Modigliani, Bonnard and many more.
The Sacred Art Museum
It is said that this museum is the best on its subject in Brazil and therefore attracts many visitors.
Located in a commercial center of the city, the area is well known for its skyscrapers and a lot of restaurants, book-stores, fine hotels, shops and all major bank branches.
University of Sao Paulo
Well known as USP, the University of Sao Paulo is the largest university in Brazil and the third largest in Latin America. The main campus of the University is situated in the Cidade Universitaria district. This state university is open for all and has a large place for cycling and jogging.
Famous for being one of the biggest meccas of Italian culture outside of Italy. The city’s most important theatre venues and several energetic nightlife hotspots are situated in the area to fulfil the needs of tourists.
A Chinatown-like district of Sao Paulo city where oriental-related things can be watched all around the district. Originally, it was the settling place of Japanese immigrants. In the last few years, the joint activities of Japanese, Chinese and the Koreans have made this district more vibrant and colorful.
Vale do Anhangabau
In Vale do Anhangabau, an attractive arranged square is built in the 1980s revitalization works. Very popular among the skateboarders and office workers.
Well known for walking, eating, partying and shopping activities including a large selection of cuisine from some of the city’s best restaurants.
Vila Mariana and Ibirapuera
A residential part of the growing as a popular spot for bars and nightlife scene. The city’s major Ibirapuera Park is located in this area which usually attracts many people on sunny Sundays.
Paulista and Jardins
A 2.8 kilometers long attraction situated on the top of a ridge.
Vila Madalena and Pinheiros
A traditional attraction for artists, writers, journalists, movie directors and many more.
Lapa, Pompeia and Barra Funda
Mainly famous for their industrial activities, now offering a perfect spots for culture-hungry people. Located here are attractions such as the Memorial da America Latina and the Latin American Parliament, that offer exhibitions and occasional political/cultural debates
So hardly a Time Square, Piccadilly Circus, or Spanish Steps kind of place, but hey, ya just never know. If anyone has any suggestions, I’d love to hear from you, my passport is starting to look a bit fuzzy (from mold) and I’m always willing to explore if only to discover that the place is a dud. For now, I await the morning phone call and anticipate the opportunity to travel to a new land in July. If nothing else, it is an opportunity to try the local foods, meet new people and drink the local libations. After all, what is travel if not to stretch and test the senses?