Just joking! I went to Curitiba today. But I could have stayed in São Paulo for the rest of my life. In the rest of Brazil, even in Rio, I was the foreigner – the
Just joking! I went to Curitiba today. But I could have stayed in São Paulo for the rest of my life. In the rest of Brazil, even in Rio, I was the foreigner – the French (Belem), the American (Brasilia), the Dutch (Rio). But in São Paulo, nobody gives a shit. There are tons of whites, blacks, native Americans and East Asians here. Not a single person from the world would feel lost (if used to large cities that is). It’s a little bit like Hallonbergen in Stockholm where I live, which is also packed with blacks, whites and Asians (and probably some native Americans as well), but with 20 million people instead of 5000. I don’t get as many flirts here as in the north of Brazil, but on the other hand, more people speak English here, which might be good for step number 2, during the year it takes me to get fluent in Portuguese.
The metro kicks the shit out of Rio, Brasilia and most cities in the world, including Stockholm. It’s rough as in Brazil, but plenty of safe areas with metros, buses and Ubers in between them. Just avoid walking aimlessly when alone and drunk (and I’d never do a thing like that). The local murder rate is lower than Hallonbergen :p
With 20-25 million people, you always get friends, you always get a job. And the rents! The nice two-room flat of Giselle, in the very middle of the city, with a magnificent view from the 14th floor, was 400 € a month. Compared to a São Paulo salary, I don’t know, but if you work online it’s not a lot. This summer I paid 350 € a month for a 2.5 m2 closet without windows in Hallonbergen, 13 minutes from central Stockholm.
And the gays! I see them everywhere, both men and women. The São Paulo Pride is the largest in the world. I’m personally straighter than most sticks, but the gayness gives a feeling of this being a place where you can be who the fuck you are, and I like it. And the politeness of the people is crazy. Those I know are all supernice. But also staff in shops and cafes. On the subway, 25% of seats are reserved for the old and handicapped, and they’re always empty, no matter how crowded it is. Or taken by an old or handicapped, of course. Once I saw two old people fight who’d take the place: “You sit here”, “No, please, you sit”.
And it’s easily the richest and most prosperous part of Brazil. And Paulistas (or Paulistanos) brag – a lot. In nice ways. Without even having to. They go like “I love Britney Spears. I went to a concert and it was the best concert I’ve been to in my life, and that’s not because it was in São Paulo.” I like it.
Well, the flag looks a bit Nazi, and Bolsonaro is president.
But the flag is actually a Republican symbol (as different from Monarchism), and the colours red, white and black represent native Americans, white and black people! Poor Japanese though, who came later than the flag. Maybe they could be the yellow stars :p
As for Bolsonaro, Brazil is a democracy. Everyone discuss politics. 90% of people have a sane and sober view of what is wrong and why. People are protesting. The police doesn’t care, more than show up in case there is violence. Here is a black organization protesting something yesterday. I don’t know Portuguese, but it could be that black people are unusually hurt by Bolsonaro’s war on crime. It’s a place where you can fight without getting Chinese bamboo sticks up your nails, and I like such places. (Btw, if Bolsonaro really wanted to curb criminality, he should legalize drugs, which are now empowering the organizations controlling the poorest areas.) And this is the birth place of Bolsa Familia, which is still going on, the biggest basic income-like program of the world. Brazil is getting safer.
What I don’t like is the distance to Stockholm. I’d like to go home at least once per year. And with 99.997 % of humans not giving a shit about our planet, there aren’t enough boat passengers in order for a steady electric cruise that’d do Santos-Göteborg in a week. Right now it’d take more than a month to go there and back, and I don’t love boats that much.
So with my heart full of sadness, I took the bus to Curitiba today. I didn’t even take pictures of the ride, despite it being packed with beautiful mountains. Green mountains, full of forest and not a single cow. With flat-leaved trees, like in the sign for Parana. Here I got a nice, central hotel for 15 €. I ate water melon, green peas and chips for dinner. When Internet died I played Civ I until sleeping.