Saturday, March 24, 2007

São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro - March 2007

Disclaimer: these are some of my views of these two Brazilian cities I love so much. I'm sure some of you will disagree with me, and please forgive me if I have offended your city. Not the intention, but keep reading if you want to know how I see them.

Perfection would be to spend the day in Rio de Janeiro, and the night in São Paulo, both megalopolis are unique, and it is sickening how well they could complement each other if they were a little bit closer. Not that I'm complaining about the "Ponte Aérea" between both cities; this is an air bridge linking both cities with dozens of flights taking off during the day - it is a 45 minutes long flight.

São Paulo

There are many things to do in São Paulo during the day, but if you are just visiting the city, I can see how you might want to have more excitement after have visited the Ibirapuera and Trianon Park, the Liberdade and Mooca neighbourhood, the Ipiranga Museum and the Municipal Theater. Please don't think those are the only things to do in São Paulo.

My suggestion to you is, do all your shopping in São Paulo before you travel to Rio de Janeiro. If you are in town because of work, then seat down, relax and enjoy the ride, because the combination of working during the day, and partying at night will catch up with you quickly.

I was in the city for work, and because I know how the traffic can be in the city, I would be crazy if were to book more than 2 customer visits per day. You know where you are, and you know where you want to go, but you will never know how long it will take you to get there. I remember once when I had to travel 20 km between my hotel and my customer location, it rain strong for 5 minutes on that day and this created a traffic jam of 195 km in the city, and it took me over 3 hours to make it to the meeting. The most impressive part of all is that Paulistas - as the people from São Paulo are called - do not get stressed about it, they already know traffic jams are part of their daily ritual.

Night time arrive and it feels like a different city is born - there is something for everyone. The numerous restaurants, "butecos", "barzinhos", clubs, night clubs, saunas and everything else. You can go to the fanciest of the restaurants and spend a fortune, as you could ended up in a corner bar and have the best time of your life with very little money. The common ground of all is the vibe you feel everywhere. You are there to enjoy yourself, even if it means traveling across the city to go to that spot.

There are too many places to go, and it would be unfair to name just some of them. Whatever you go, just make sure to drink a "choppinho" during the Happy Hour, and try "Guarana", and please make sure to eat some "pão de queijo". You cannot leave Brazil before trying those evil kind of cheese bread. What a hell, you already broke your diet anyway, so make sure to visit at least one "Churrascaria" while you are in the country.

Saturday night arrived and there was only one place I wanted to be.

The Week - São Paulo - March 10

This club once again thru this amazing party, full of energy, incredible gorgeous people, and super contagious energy. Two full room of tunes to drive you crazy, and I have to say, the minimal techno mixed with the most amazing vocal I have heard in my life, send me to heaven - what a delicious combination of music. The same thing goes to the proggy style of music, which also go mixed with vocals - vocal and more vocals. Obviously the DJs also touched the classic Tribal tunes, and use the work of many Divas the boys love so much to hear. Only the resident DJs were spinning that night.

Room 1: João Neto, Paulo Pacheco and Renato Cecin
Room 2: Morais and Paulo Agulhari

People started to arrive and it feels as if they all move to the smaller room, which rapidly get busy and sweaty. Once the spill over begins, this is when the larger room starts to feel the vibe for the night. The smaller room is more vocal and classic, while the bigger one is more tribal and sexier.

The place has been renovated since my last visit, and looks superb. The only thing they have to do is to work in the sound for the larger room . Only 2 years old, and the club has already started to attract the A world list of DJs, and I'm sure the owners could invest some money to improve their sound system, which not only the clientele would be thankful, but also the DJs.

The Go Go boys were just beautiful. Don't know where they found such incredible good looking guys, and at the end you don't if you are looking at them because their looks, or because their dance moves. Again, I can say the same thing for the people in the dance floor. I probably stayed until 9:00am, and I really wished I could stayed for their afternoon pool party, which I heard are out of control, but unfortunately I had a plane to catch.

Rio de Janeiro

Four days are not enough to get out of Ipanema, I need at least another week in order to make it to Copacabana. I would lie if I told you I visited Rio de Janeiro, in reality I never left the neighbourhood of Ipanema, which is located in the southern zone of the city, between Lebloon and Arpoador. After a long week working in São Paulo, I decided to become part of the Ipanema movement, and I believe I was successful.

Not my first time in this city, and I know it won't be the last either. Rio de Janeiro has this intoxicating energy that can conquers anyone that touches its soil. Not sure if it is because of the beauty of the place, the attractiveness of the people, or just because there is no place like Rio.

If you are planning to go to Rio de Janeiro, please stay for at least an entire week, less time and you will feel frustrate because you couldn't do everything you read or heard about this place. Now if you are the relaxed type of tourist, like me, then you might just settle down in one place and enjoy it by becoming almost a local, giving you an excuse to return in the future to explore the other areas of the city.

What to do? You must go up to the Corcovado and check out the statue of Christ the Redeemer, and if you were a bad boy/girl you might want to climb the stair in your knees - you never know, you might actually save your soul. Do not forget to visit the "Pão de Açucar" (Sugar Loaf), and maybe stay to watch the sunset from up there. Obviously you have to go down to Copacabana and Ipanema beach, and if you really want to blend in, make sure to buy a Sunga (for the boys) and Tanga (for the girls), and please don't wear sandals, in Brazil everyone wears Havaianas You can wear shorts, but make sure you have a surfing board with you, otherwise you will be easily spotted as a foreigner.

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If you are really into soccer, try to go to the Maracanã Stadium when there is a game - capacity for 200,000 spectators - but I cannot remember when was the last time they jammed that many people inside. Check out the Botanical Garden as well, you will fall in love with the Royal Palms. Finally, if you want to experience the wild life of the Atlantic Rainforest, don't forget to visit the Tijuca Forest, located in the south side of the city - not really sure but I believe this is the only rainforest located inside a major metropolitan area.

Now lets talk about Ipanema - because I was only going to stay for short period of time, I decided to pick a hotel in front of the beach, and most important, near the gay spot of Ipanema beach - located a little to the East of Farme de Amoedo street. If you don't know where it is, just look for the rainbow flag, or check where there is a large concentration of men with incredible bodies.

Now lets talk about Ipanema - because I was only going to stay for short period of time, I decided to pick a hotel in front of the beach, and most important, near the gay spot of Ipanema beach - located a little to the East of Farme de Amoedo street. If you don't know where it is, just look for the rainbow flag, or check where there is a large concentration of men with incredible bodies.

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The culture of the body is felt everywhere in Rio de Janeiro, and even if you are not one of those that go to the gym at least 2 or 3 times a week, you will feel the good pressure to start doing it after having visited this city. There are sunken bike paths everywhere, and within the city, some of those paths have a different colour, which makes you more aware of upcoming cyclist or runners.

Copyright by Martin

It doesn't matter what time you wake up or go to sleep, it seems there is always someone exercising outside. Either jogging, cycling, power walking, playing beach volleyball, or futevolley among others. Along the beach you will find areas of work out, where you can do your push ups, pull ups and work in your abs.

The contrast of the rich and poor and visible right from the beach, pay attention and you will notice that those house you see at the top of the hill, are not the usual multimillion dollar mansions you will find in other cities, some of them are actually "favelas".

People are friendly in the beach, and you will find that any excuse is a good reason to start a conversation, and next thing you know, you will start seeing the same people in the "barzinhos", in the night clubs, and in many other unexpected places. As soon as the sun goes down, the boys start their walk towards the Rua Farme de Amoedo, there are several cafes, restaurants and bars, pick one, have a drink and enjoy a good conversation with a local, or just admire the view.

People keep talking about the violence in Rio de Janeiro, but what I can say is that most of the tourist areas in Rio are well guarded, there is no need to panic but also don't be stupid. If you are by yourself at the beach, before getting into the water, ask someone to look after your stuff - and use common sense of course, always walk as if you know where you are going, even if you have no clue where you are.

In the afternoon you will notice some people coming to the beach, to hand out flyers of what is going on at night time. You will get flyers for the Saunas, night clubs and that special party no one knows about it. If you are the type that enjoy going to a sauna once in a while, my suggestion is wait until you return to São Paulo, don't think you are going to enjoy too much what they have to offer in Rio.

You will hear a lot about the place called "Le Boy" in Copacabana. Great night club, but unfortunately I cannot say the same thing about the music played on Saturday, March 17. The place is fantastic, and it is one of the oldest gay clubs in Brazil, but the music was just not there, Not even the Go Go boys were doing what they are supposed to do - dance. I stayed for a bit, but didn't even get curious to know the name of the DJ of the evening.

Later on someone told me if I like the afterhours type of parties, I should have gone to "Cine Ideal", located in the downtown area. I really didn't feel like sleeping in on Sunday morning, and because I did party too much in São Paulo, I decided to check out "Cine Ideal" in another time. Talking to some of the guys that went to this party, they told me DJ Robix, Dj Fernando Braga and Gustavo Jr, did a stellar job entertaining the crowd.

Copyright by Martin

On Sunday night, the place to check out is the "Bunker", also in Copacabana, in just a few doors down from "Le Boys". This is a straight club that becomes gay on Sunday night, and the music that was played on Sunday was super energetic, and not a single person was sitting down - and how could you. The place has this underground feeling, with a sunken dance floor. Good looking crowd, and most of the Barbies places strategically themselves in the stage located in front of the DJ area.

I was told that after the "Bunker" people go back to "Le Boys", and this might explain why the place started to empty out by 2:00am, or maybe it was just because the Cariocas - as people from Rio de Janeiro are called - knew they had to go back to work the next day. I was happy to have an early night, because in a city such as Rio, I don't think you should be sleeping in too much.

Copyright by Martin

When in doubt, always ask a local about what is the best place to go out, and trust me, there will be a Marcelo, Carlos, Gilmar, Eduardo and others, that will happily answer your questions.

Copyright by Martin

The almost perfect city, Rio during the day and São Paulo at night. Don't think about it, just get in the plane and go, you won't regret it.

More Recent Pictures (Jan 2014)


riosun said...

I thought I'd drop you a line to say thanks for the nice review on Rio/Sao Paulo you posted on your blog. I'm a Rio lover like yourself so I went ahead and put up a link on my site to your cool blog.
Rio Gay Life

Anonymous said...

I totally agree on your "rio by day, sao paulo by night". only comments would be that: the week, at sao paulo, whilst still an amazing place, is now really running out of steam. it used to be totally incredible and amazing, and what you have seen is a tenth of what it used to be [i know it sounds so dejavu to say that of any place, but for theweek, it really is true). i've been spending all my saturdays there in the last 3 years [ie. since it opened], and there was just no way you could think of doing anything but going there on saturdays.
in sao paulo, blue space on sunday is pretty fun too, although totally different (it's not for the music, it's more for the cruising atmosphere, and the boys are REALLY hot and without any attitude at all).
in rio, the town is unique and you already said it all [sao paulo is so ugly in comparison]. as for le boy, it is really not a nice place indeed. it is too unfortunate for this town - cariocas deserve better. but come back for new year's eve or carnaval. they put up one-week-long parties that are just UNBELIEVABLE, with people coming from all over brazil and the world.

Anonymous said...

Please post some more pictures! i went to Rio earlier this year and i miss it soo much.

Anonymous said...

are you in any of the pictures? would like to be in touch with you, brazil is one of the cities i want to visit during my lifetime. find me on facebook as joseph zervera.

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