Sao Paulo, Brazil

Posted on May 9, 2012

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During my recent work trip to Brazil I was able to do a little sightseeing in nearby Sao Paulo.  Sao Paulo is massive, being the seventh largest city on the planet there is a lot to see and do.  As time was short and many areas of Sao Paulo are not safe, I focused my trip on two destinations – the Mercado Municipal and a Sao Paulo football club game.

Mercado Municipal

Frequent readers of my blog will know that one of my favorite destinations in any city is the market.  Most cities have some sort of market that features the prominent local foods and can be a source of some fun gifts for the folks back home.  As I have seen in other South American countries, Sao Paulo has a very nice, large market.  Built in 1933, the market now houses 290+ vendor booths lighted by 72 large stained glass windows featuring working scenes from the city.

The booths prominently feature fruits, bacalhau, spices, bakery products, and cafes.  Brazilians love fruit and it features into every meal, so it makes sense that fruit can be found in abundance in the market, piled high in every color and shape.  Many are strange but all taste good.

Bacalhau is dried, salted cod fish.  Bacalhau is a trademark food from Portugal and was originally developed as a means of preserving fish in the days before refrigeration.  The drying and salting also amps up the taste of this normally mild fish.  Preparation is time consuming, requiring 24 hours of soaking and multiple changes of water to get rid of the salt.  Bacalhau is ugly looking, hanging dried and flat, but I was impressed with the taste.  One of the foods we tried was the pastéis de bacalhau, which is a pastry stuffed with bacalhau, potato, eggs and parsley.  Delicious- like a fish eggroll without the cabbage.

The other food we tried is called a Mortadella sandwich.  It is essentially a type of salami, with lots of spices and cubes of pork fat.  It was tasty but the grease running out of the sandwich was a bit much.

Sao Paulo Football Club

That night we joined the wild fans of the Sao Paulo Football Club to see the team take on the team from nearby Santos.  Many people told us that this would be a very good game as both teams are tough contenders and send many players to the Brazilian national team.  It was a great game, very exciting.  The final score was 3 to 2 and the home team won.

The fans are what made the experience really special.  They were really into the game, dressed in the Sao Paulo colors, chanting songs through the whole game.  It was clear by the heavy presence riot police that there has been some violence between fans of opposing teams.  In the upper deck (cheap seats) there is a high barbed wire fence and lines of police between the Sao Paulo (red) and the Santos (white) fans.

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Posted in: Brazil, Travel