Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sao Paulo: Free Walking Tour

We signed up for a free 3 hour walking tour around the new downtown of Sao Paulo. It was very interesting and we had a super enthusiastic young guide from Sao Paulo. We're not sure all of his stories were completely based in historical fact, but they sure were entertaining.
Our guide Rafa in the red shirt telling us about the different residential areas of Sao Paulo.
A view of the electrical wires in the city. There's a high end shopping district where the cables are buried, but throughout most of Sao Paulo, this is what you see. 
Graffiti is EVERYWHERE and usually very ugly - just black gang symbols and letters. This area in a tunnel, however, was pretty cool. No idea who the guy is standing there, but I thought it was funny as it looks like he's showing off his work. For all I know, maybe he is.
Every Sunday, the city encourages Paulistas (residents of Sao Paulo) to get out and get some exercise riding bikes. They supply bikes for rental as you see here and block off one lane on the main streets for bikers to ride throughout the city.
A view from the end of Avenida Paulista - the main thoroughfare through the 'new downtown' and business district of Sao Paulo. This was the center point of our walking tour.
One of five original old houses on the avenue. As you can see, this one is neglected as were the majority. According to our guide, the government deemed them historical landmarks with the rule that the external structure could not be changed. The family who owns this house is angry because they could have made a lot of money selling to a developer and now they can't so they refuse to do anything with it and just let it rot with time.
Here's another one, but in better shape. I think this has been turned into a office building for a few small businesses.
This is the Museum of Art of Sao Paulo (MASP). The story goes that the city or the developer, I can't remember which, would allow a structure to be built as long as it didn't obstruct the view of the city from Trianon park which is just across the avenue (see previous post). So, they build the museum as you see it here - no obstruction of view. The tables underneath are a Sunday antique market.
This is an abandoned, and some say haunted, psychiatric hospital a block or so off Avenida Paulista. Rich family built the hospital and when the patriarch died, the kids squandered the money and the hospital fell into ruin. The place is locked up and guarded against the homeless and those guards supposedly told our guide that they hear moaning coming from the building on some nights. (probably just some crackheads that scaled the fence)
I just liked this shot of the older architecture in the foreground and the colorful TV antenna in the background.
This is a private hospital specializing in OBGYN - lots of babies born here. Beautiful building.
One of the old houses that hasn't been abandoned. It's called the Rose House because of the extensive rose garden out front. It's a museum now and they let you walk through the rooms to see what the house looked like.
This is a mural painted on the side of a building. The gentleman is a famous architect who designed a lot of the buildings in Sao Paulo.

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