Sunday, June 3, 2012

Good Bye Sao Paulo -- on to Beech!

Well, our days in Sao Paulo have come to an end and I have to say my favorite things  here are the Afro Brazilian Museum, The Monument To The Independence of Brazil,  Paulista Museum, Pinacoteca, the Central Post Office of Sao Paulo and the Municipal Market of Sao Paulo  .  All of these are truly must visit spots in the city and I am sure they will be destinations for my next visit as well.  I have great memories of Sao Paulo and thanks to Thais, Jakeline, and Raphael for showing us around.  I look forward to my return visit and seeing those places that were closed or just outside the realm of our proximity.
Today is a short drive to Santos and then to
the beach.  We start off a little slow but we are anxious to get to the beach with the sun still in the sky.   We leave Sao Paulo and the city seems to go on and on and up and up.  Like other Brazilian cities,  it is filled with high rise residential buildings, but in Sao Paulo there are a number of business skyscrapers distinguished by the helicopter pads adorning the rooftops.   As we drive along "imigrantes highway" we pass favelas followed by wealthy neighborhoods and more favelas as we travel the hour journey to Santos.  A small city of around 400,000 residents located on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.  Santos shares an island with the first Portuguese settlement of Sao Vincente where the priest who started Sao Paulo were from.  The shoreline community
Streets of Santos 
was founded 1546 and is known today as the largest port in South America.  It is truly the gateway for all imports and exports of the mega city Sao Paulo so it is not hard to see why it holds that title.  We arrive in the city and its narrow cobblestone streets just before noon.  Our car is full of our traveling stuff and a parking spot is hard to locate so we take only a couple of brief stops to look around.  When I say brief,  I mean we stay near the car and walk just fifty feet or so away.  It is hot and we are anxious to get to the beach,  well at least the Brazilians in the car are.  I would have preferred to spend time exploring the coffee museum, the beachfront garden considered the largest in the world by Guinness or the memorial to Pele - the great Brazilian Futebol player who played for the local Santos Futebol club.  I know the beach is calling for the rest of us in the car,  so I don't raise too much of a fuss.  The history to explore in Santos is intriguing and I add the city as a place I will want to visit again and spend more time.
The cobblestone streets are narrow and lined with historic buildings, Portuguese tiled store fronts, and of course the influence of the Catholic church fill the port city with grand cathedrals.   We drive around for about a half and hour and then we find the beach and the ocean front.  Waves crashing against the shore line and beach goers all along the shore.  In between the avenue and the sand is a well manicured walking path,  beautiful palm trees and an occasional fountain.  It is a beautiful afternoon  for driving along President Wilson Avenue with the windows down enjoying the ocean air.  Luiz, Junior and Beatrice discuss the reputation of Santos' shoreline, which is one of being dirty, but we acknowledge how clean it looks and are impressed.  The city must be making an effort to clean it up
in order to attract vacationers from Sao Paulo.  We drive along the shore until we come to the ferry at the tip of the peninsula that will take us across to Santo Amaro island and the city of Guaruja.   Known for its beaches and proximity to Sao Paulo,  Guaruja is a weekend destination for many of the cities families.  It is currently not high season so this is where we will look for a hotel and spend the afternoon and evening enjoying a little beach time.    My agenda also includes a good seafood meal while we are this close to the Atlantic.  The short ferry ride and we are on Santo Amaro island heading towards Guaruja.  Minutes later we drive through a tunnel arriving into the downtown business district.  With a little guidance from the Ipad map,  we head towards the tourist area of the city and the beach to begin our hunt for a place to stay.  After stopping a couple of places we agree upon the Pousada blocks from the beach.  A nice little place with a room in the back with beds for four.  Our room is right next to the barbecue pit so we are hopeful there will not be too much activity late into the evening being in the off season.  I would probably give the hotel a one and a half star rating in the U.S. but it is good for Brazil and what we want to spend.  Situated only a few blocks from the beach allowing us to split up,  we decide to take a little time for ourselves.  Some heading to the beach while others of us use a little quite time at the hotel.  I don't do a lot of sunning so I choose option two and plan to head to the beach around three or four in the afternoon.
The hotel quiet time is nice and soon 3:00 arrives and I get ready and head to the beach.  Guaruja has beautiful beaches and it is obvious we are not here on a weekend or during peek holiday season as there are very few people enjoying the afternoon with us.  I spend a little time swimming in the refreshing waters of the Atlantic and catching some sun.  It is truly a relaxing afternoon, but soon the sun is setting and it is  time to find my seafood dinner.  A short distance down the beach we come across a little restaurant and decide to give it a try.  After the meal is ate,  my critique would be that it was not all that special.  The service was lacking.  the food was just ok, and it seemed
very touristy.  I am not sure what else I expected but was disappointed.  Beatrice and Junior had decided to wait and eat some place else so afterwards we headed McDonalds where I elected for desert.  This was only my second McDonalds experience in Brazil,  but the Snickers McFlurry and apple pie are the same as in United States and I am not disappointed.  I observe that there is  cheese bread on the menu and their sandwiches are a little different.  In Brazil a fast food meal is not as affordable as in the U.S.  - no $1.00 menu here.  After our meal/desert we head back to the shore, roll down the windows and drive along the avenue enjoying the sunset and the cool ocean breeze.  Soon it is time to retire as tomorrow is another travel day.   Our time at the beach  is not very long on this trip but then again I can spend time at the beach in the United States if I want.  Good night for now.. until the adventure continues tomorrow...

(thanks wikipedia for a detail here and there)
Santos Beach 

Portuguese Tile 


Santos -- beautiful sidewalks 

ferry ride 

ferry ride 

 Guaruja Sunset 
 Guaruja Sunset 
McDonalds Sandwich - Cedar Bacon Onion 

McDonalds Apple Pie 
McDonalds Receipts 

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Hotel Fazenda said...
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