Central / South America

Emerging Destinations: São Paulo, Brazil

Photo credit: Marcos Leal

Given our natural curiosity, our ease with different cultures, and a willingness to trust, Canadians have been known to venture off-the-beaten-track in search of the most authentic travel experiences.

Such adventures, say vacation pundits, are readily found in “emerging destinations”, a reference to the undiscovered up-and-coming places now emerging into the global spotlight.

As one example, surveys often show that Egypt is both off the beaten track, and on it. A good number of Canadians have already witnessed first-hand the eye-popping antiquities of the Nile River valley, yet so many of us still want to do so, or to return and see and do more.

Similarly, other rising stars include Brazil, India, China, South Africa, East Africa, New Zealand, the Cook Islands, plus many cities in Eastern Europe such as Prague, St. Petersburg and Berlin.

It is, in places like these, where authenticity is found in simple happenstance:

Happenstance: The quickest way to get to know the people of Brazil is to spend just one or two hours in the Central Market of São Paulo. This famed, centre-of-gravity in Brazil is a microcosm of ethnicity including Portuguese, Italian, German, Spanish, as well as Japanese, Arabic and Amerindians. And of course, it is also a place to see, taste and smell thousand of foods. Pork, for example, is the mainstay of Brazil’s national dish, and a butcher here will sell you the nose, tongue, ears, tail or any part of a pig you like. It was the hotplate of aromas, however, that held my interest most.

In a survey conducted by Readers Digest to appoint the most courteous cities in the world, the city of São Paulo ranked among the top five courteous cities in the world, along with New York, Zurich, Toronto and Berlin.

The State of São Paulo covers in land area just three percent of the country’s’ geography, but the economy of the State is the largest and most diversified in Brazil. São Paulo is also the most populated State of Brazil (more than 40 million inhabitants) and the one which receives the highest number of visitors. The capital of the State of São Paulo is the city of São Paulo. In Brazil, only the States of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro have a capital city with the same name as the State.

Today, São Paulo is the richest and most important State of Brazil, and São Paulo is also one of the oldest cities in the country.

Don’t be surprised at the diversity of Paulistanos. For example, São Paulo is home to the largest Japanese population outside of Japan. It is not uncommon to see businesses and churches being conducted by Chinese and Korean-Brazilians in the Bairro Oriental, which was originally Italian, then Japanese and which is heavily populated by other East Asians today. The city’s Italian influence is also very strong, and São Paulo is said to be the second Italian city in the world. The large Arab and Jewish communities are also well represented in all levels of society, from art to real estate businesses, and notably in politics.

Did you know …

São Paulo is devoid of billboards. The Clean City law passed in 2006 outlaws any such “visual pollution.”
Residents (and we assume visitors) consume approximately 1 million pizzas per day.

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