After a very lazy weekend, today it was time for a change of scene. I had one last lunch in the hostel (can you guess what I made?!), and then headed to the bus station in the city centre. This was a rather convoluted process, which first involved taking the metro to Centro, and then a large amount of wandering before giving up and getting a cab to the bus terminal. From there I used my best Portugese (‘Ingles?’, ‘No’, hand waving involving buses, mimed boarding passes, and the word ‘Sao Paulo’) in order to get safely onto the 3pm bus to Sao Paulo.
Since the buses are so regular, the one I ended up on wasn’t busy at all, and everyone on the bus had two seats to themselves as a result. This made the six hour journey a lot more comfortable than it might have been otherwise, and it also felt safer since I had no one right next to me to be wary of. In fact, the whole experience felt a lot more organised and safer than any of the buses I took in Peru, where I often felt like people were staring at me and eyeing up my bags. The journey itself gave me my first glimpses of the Brazilian countryside, which is lined with the type of second world housing I was used to seeing in Peru, and I would expect to see in favelas here. There would often be people wandering around the motorway, sometimes simply strolling down the central reservation, which I found quite baffling. As for the scenery, it was rolling hills on my side of the bus, and looming mountains in the distance on the other side – nothing particularly noteworthy though.
During a pleasant sleep on the bus, I was unpleasantly awoken to the sound of everyone disembarking; I had arrived in Sao Paulo. I have been doing some research and this is arguably the largest city I have ever been to, or at least by measure of population residing within city limits (something like 11 million). If you take the whole metropolitan area into account, that’s when you begin to see huge numbers around the 20 million mark. This is a similar number to the New York metropolitan area, though I didn’t quite get that same feel of sheer density of people that I get in New York – perhaps due to the lack of abundant skyscrapers. Sao Paulo certainly is sprawling though, and as I got the metro from the bus terminal to my hostel for the night, you realise the city simply goes on and on and on.
Once at the hostel I ordered a takeaway pizza and just chilled out since tomorrow I have to be up early to collect my rental car from the airport. Fingers crossed I make it to Florianopolis for the night!
Photos of the day: taken on my phone since my camera was deep in my bag. The bus to Sao Paulo, and an example of some typical roadside favela scenery.