Notes from Sao Paulo, Brazil

This is my first time in Sao Paulo, Brazil. In fact, it is my first time in Brazil. Why not throw in the fact that it is my first time on the continent of South America? Some quick notes/observations:

  • The people are toothsome. I’m told that lots of Miss Universe/World’s come from Brazil, and its possibly quite true. You’re also told to explore areas like bars/clubs and drop in “where the beautiful people are”.
  • Sao Paulo is very multi-cultural. Its very easy to blend in, till someone speaks to you in Brazilian-Portuguese.
  • In this market, you need Brazilian-Portuguese. The bookstores are filled with titles. Going to large malls and speaking to wait staff is a challenge if you only speak English. Taxi drivers speak no English, so be prepared ahead of time.
  • The language is important, so there are always simultaneous translators when you give presentations.
  • Traffic jams are redefined here. Sitting in a car for two hours, when the journey really should take fourty-five minutes is quite common. Helicopters are generally available (as are helipads), and there are plenty of options for getting armored cars are.
  • There’s plenty of Brazilian fashion brands that we never see overseas.
  • I had a meal at Bob’s. It reminded me of a local McDonalds. Their website points to Twitter, Facebook and Orkut. Yes, Orkut is still a fairly used social network in Brazil. Only in Brazil (previously also in India, but I think Facebook has killed it there).
  • Nokia’s are big in Sao Paulo. Followed by Android-based devices. There are plenty of accessories for iOS devices (iPhones/iPads) in higher end malls (I noticed 2 push carts in one mall, for example), but they don’t seem as prevalent in terms of usage. There are Apple Premium Resellers as well.
  • K-POP videos are being used to sell TVs here in Sao Paulo.
  • There are really good concert acts happening in Sao Paulo (via Time Out Sao Paulo). Cities like Kuala Lumpur/Singapore can learn a lot from them.
  • HSBC is really here.
  • The Interlagos F1 Grand Prix happens here too. It is a pity I’m here a week earlier and won’t get to catch the F1.
  • Sao Paulo will be one of the host cities for the World Cup 2012 while Rio gets the Olympics in 2016 (save for some soccer matches which will also be in Sao Paulo). Infrastructure and language is going to be interesting for this.
  • People are very civic conscious and clean up after themselves (in fast food joints, after their dog poos, etc.).
  • Jardines area is definitely very pet friendly — see plenty of dogs walking around. It is also human friendly, less cars on the street. However it is hilly, so if you have a pram, it is not impossible but you have to be careful with negotiating the sidewalks.
  • Cycle friendly Sao Paulo is.