it's difficult to travel here...
it's difficult to travel here without knowing some rudimentary Portuguese (even Spanish helps a lot! for some reason most Brasilian/Portuguese people can understand Spanish, but not the other way around). My big regret is that I didn't learn enough; it would have really helped out! Not so many people speak English, but sign language helped
Hair done and a free back massage
Have your hair done and enjoy a free back massage at Soho Hair.
Soho Hair is a zen place to get your hair styled.
I used to go to the one on Alameda Santos.
For the closest Soho Hair, visit their site and click on "04. salões". They offer services to Women, Men, and Children and walk-ins are generally OK, IF there is a hair stylist available, otherwise set an appointment by phone.
When setting your appointment by phone, ask for the best hair stylist according to your needs. The prices are reasonable and the hair stylists are experienced and up to date on the latest fashions and trends.
Food for All Tastes... and Pockets! Part I
São Paulo boasts having anything from 10,000 to 12,500 restaurants. Some years ago, it tried making a plug for a self-proclaimed title as something like the “Gastronomy Capital of the World”.
I confess I was a little embarrassed, and much relieved when the slogan did not catch on and the city dropped the whole "Gastronomy Capital" tagline. Relieved? Why would someone who loves this city's upsides be relieved, rather than proud?
Because I am very down-to-earth.
There certainly are *excellent* restaurants, but this title was based more on sheer numbers than on quality. I suspect that more than three-quarters of those so-called "restaurants" are joints whose kitchens you would not want to visit!!!!
There are good on-line guides (in Portuguese) listing nice restaurants. If you have a small pocket-sized dictionary you should be able to understand the essentials. One is www.guia4rodas.com.br, listing 284 good restaurants (from the main page: Cidades > São Paulo > São Paulo > Restaurantes > and select “Ordem Alfabetica” - alphabetically - or “Classificação do Guia Brasil” - star rating). Another good on-line guide is www.guiasp.com.br, "gastronomia" tab. This is less intuitive, but still not that hard to get.
In any case, the best thing is to always ask a local you will make friends with...
Sâo Paulo has restaurants suitable to all pockets, and even the most expensive eateries get fairly cheap, when the tab is converted to stronger currencies.
Instead of talking about specific restaurants, at this point, I just want to outline São Paulo’s restaurant scene.
Generally speaking, not too many restaurants offer a “menu compris” – starter, main course, dessert. Yet, servings are usually large, and ordering a starter plus a main course for one will often result in food enough for two. Of course, the more upscale the restaurant, the smaller the order, mais oui?
I have split the restaurant scene into three major groups of restaurant goers. 1) "Spending Money on Food? What for?" (or "My Budget is Tight. I'd Rather Save it For the Night")
- The simplest restaurants (street corner bars/eateries) usually serve “pratos feitos” (a single plate heaped with rice, beans, a choice of meat, sometimes cooked vegetables, and a small salad – not always on the side) or “pratos executivos” (basically the same, but slightly larger amounts served on several small platters). Despite very low prices (sometimes as little as R$7 – around US$3), sanitation is more-than-often questionable - to say the least.
- Fast food. You know what to expect. You watched Supersize Me, right? If you go to any shopping mall, the food court will have several healthier options than just burgers.
- “Kilo” Restaurants. The best bet, if you still want a more balanced diet. You help yourself at a food buffet (cold salads, hot main courses and side dishes) and pay according to the amount of food on your plate, desserts and drinks charged extra. Most operate only at lunchtime, and you will not find many in mostly residential areas. But you probably won’t be spending much time at such areas, right? A good meal for less than, say, R$15 (some US$7), with the added plus you actually get to see the food before helping yourself. Does not look too good? Just try the one on the next block.
More in Part II.
Contemporary restaurant, Chakras is a comfortable and inspiring space. All its different ambients pass a sense of ease and equilibrium between colours, rhythm and light, all seasoned by the refined flavors of its passed by its gastronomy. The harmony and well being exist in every detail, balancing the chakras of every one that come to enjoy this gastronomical and sensory journey.
Praça da Sé (Catedral Metropolitana)
The church is an impressive sight, and the various choas in the plaza (protests, venders, etc.) are interesting for people watchers.
Be realistic, however. This building was completed in 1954 (after 42 years of construction). It is impressive, but it is the meotropolitan cathedral of the largest city in South America. It should be impressive.
The Brazilian guide book I have (Guia Quatro Rodas) rates the Basilica de São Bento (1922) as a much more interesting place for those who like visiting historic churches. The Ordem Terceira do Carmo (1632) is a much older building and is supposed to have wonderful details throughout the church.
Since there are so many that have visited the Metropolitan Cathedral (also called Catedral da Sé) I would suggest one of these lesser known churches might be more interesting.