Saturday, February 7, 2009

Discovering Bixiga, the Little Italy of Sao Paulo.

A compact neighborhood nestled between the Avenida Paulista and the old city center, Bixiga is Sao Paulo's most accessible answer to Little Italy. The district also boasts one of the city's most traditional samba schools, Vai Vai, one of its oldest professional theaters, Teatro Brasileiro de Comedia, and a high density of bars and restaurants.
At night, cantinas and bars take over. Though Bixiga has lost some of its charm and popularity, it remains an icon to 20th century immigration and bohemia.

You will not find "Bixiga" marked on any modern city map. By 1914, the municipal government made it part of the Bela Vista district but everybody just kept calling it Bixiga.

At the beginning of the 20th century it became a magnet for Italian immigrants. Simple home-builders arrived and set about constructing shotgun homes typically around seven meters wide and 50 meters deep.
The first "cantinas" were bars with a "bring-your-own" policy, at least where food was concerned. Interminable card games determined who paid for the drinks, and around 11 p.m. everybody unwrapped their sausage sandwiches (on Italian bread, of course) and had a hearty snack. The first "cantina" to serve its own food emerged around 1910; by the 1930s, a handful of little restaurants was already in evidence. Today, the neighborhood is home to sundry theaters, dozens of restaurants, and countless bars. The restaurants and bars each have carved out for themselves a stretch of Rua 13 de Maio. Some local cantinas keep the tradition alive with in-house musicians who make the rounds of tables.
Bixiga has a strong samba tradition, thanks in part to the samba school Vai Vai (meaning "Go Go").

Ludus, the best place in town to have a drink and play games with friends!

Ludus is a Bar and Coffee Shop that offers much more than just drinks. It's one of the best places in town to play board games. The public attending this bar are just interest on it. This bar is divided between the ground floor and upstairs room. For those who just wanna have some beers, there are some old games you can choose to play. The feature is the chess game on the floor that you can walk through using huge pieces to play (generaly it's only possible on afternoons during the week). Upstairs is the "arena" where further the drinks, there are plenty of different games you can play. It's nice but costs R$ 15 to get in. A bit expensive, but once you are there, you won't get out. That is an innovative project in the country; unifying a bar, a coffee, a game's shop and a space to play in a single space that provides events related to entertainment. Between the games, you can find ancient board games, modern and traditional. The only goal of Ludus Luderia is to have fun!

: Rua Treze de Maio 972, Bela Vista
: 3253 8452
: Wed-Thu from 18.00 to 00.00; Fri-Sat from 18.00 to 03.00; Sun from 16.00 to 23.00

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Limited editions of Mondrian and Piza

Important contributor of the movement and founder De Stjil of neoplasticismo, the work of Dutch painter Piet Mondrian [1872-1944] displays a complexity that contradicts the apparent simplicity. From an edition of 300, ten serigraphs were chosen for this expo. Admirer of Mondrian, Arthur Piza complete the space with ten engravings on metal, an edition of 99 pieces. At 81 years, this Paulistano living in Paris for five decades the uses creativity to play with small forms that comes floating. [Camila Pompeu by B.Coolt]

Where: Gabinete de arte
Raquel Arnaud, rua Arthur Azevedo, 401, Pinheiros
When: till Febrary 28th
How much: Free

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Sé Cathedral

The Metropolitan Cathedral of Sao Paulo, the Sé Cathedral, is the largest church in the city. It is also one of the largest new gothic temples of the world. Inspired in medieval European churches, it began to be built in 1913, but the latest towers under the original project was in the 90s. Since 2002, after more than two years of great repairs, it can be seen almost as planned by the German architect Hehl.

-In the crypt 16 bishops and archbishops of the city are buried in the chronological order of death. There are the remains of Tibiriçá - the first Indian catechized by the Jesuits - and the priest Bartolomeu Lourenço de Gusmão, inventor of the balloon and aviation pioneer.
-On the top of the columns, armadillos, toucans, lizards, frogs, herons, cattle, corn, coffee and other parts of tropical flora are portrayed in an adaptation of the Gothic style - in European churches, dragons and bats occupy them. Thus, for example, in Notre Dame in Paris


: The most practical means of transport is the subway. Access to Sé station is done by red and blue lines.

: There are guided visits from 9am to 11.30am and from 01.00pm to 05.30 pm (Monday to Friday) from 9am to 04:30 pm (Saturday) and from 9 am to 01 pm (Sunday).
How much
: R$ 4.00.

More Info about Copan, one of the symbols of Sao Paulo.

Designed in the 50's by architect Oscar Niemeyer with the assistance of Carlos Alberto Cerqueira Lemos, the Copan building came at a time when the city of São Paulo was passing through a dynamic growth and astonishing transformation. With the advance of industrialization outside the city limits along with a major real estate speculation in the center, two striking aspects happened in this season: a strong urban expansion and a growth of population, which lead to a verticalization in the central area. At that time the economy was strengthened and São Paulo was preparing to be a big city, need icons representative of its greatness. The Copan for its structural grandeur and bold architecture can be considered one of these symbols. The original project commissioned by the Pan American Hotel Company lies in the residential building of 30 floors and another hotel building with 600 apartments. The two buildings would be connected by a Marquise in the ground floor where there would be garages, film, theater and shops, but only the residential building was built. The work was made by the National Company Construction Industry (CNI), was started in 1952, but only in 1953 the construction permit was obtained. After some financial problems the work was interrupted several times. In 1957 Banco Bradesco purchased the rights to build and in 1961 the parts of masonry and reinforced concrete were completed.
The sinuous form of Copan breaking right angles of the center of São Paulo, is the mark of its creator. The taste for curve line is the main characteristic of the work of Oscar Niemeyer who wrote: "is not the right angle that attracts me, not the straight, tough, ... what attracts me is a free and sensual curves. .. " (Niemeyer, 1998).

Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurants, a delicious and healthy option!

São Paulo is also known as the Culinary Capital of Brazil, so you will find any kind of restaurant in the city. Of course Brazil is famous for the delicious meat, but we are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options. Some of the following restaurants are delicious, and even if you are not vegetarian you should give it a go and try one of them. So choose the closest to you and enjoy the meal! You won’t regret!

Maha Mantra
One of the newest option in the city, the menu gives plenty of choice and you will have the possibility to do culinary class too, it is not the cheapest, but the location is great, in Vila Madalena, this means that you night won’t end after you dinner, the suburb is famous for the night life.
: R. Fradique Coutinho 766, Vila Madalena.
Phone: 3032-2560.

This restaurant is mainly vegan, few dishes are not but they are well signed. While waiting you can have a look at the small bookshop inside the restaurant. The owner offers other activities too, all related to vegetarianism, so the place represents a meeting point for vegans. Have a look on the site to see what is the latest news.
The restaurant works just for lunch, close on Saturday. Cheap price.
Where: R. Padre Machado 51, close to metro station Sta. Cruz, Vila Mariana.
Phone: 5539-3635.

They have two locations, one in the Center and one in Jardins, the best thing is that you pay 10 Reais (the last time I went there) and you can choose whatever you want on the buffet, including juices and desserts.
Where:Centro: Rua Dom Jose De Barros 99, 3256 7909
Jardins: Rua Bela Cintra 1343 3026 3727

Pizzaria Vegan
You are right, this pizzeria is the best option if you are vegan because they invented option to make a great pizza without using animal product, an example? The creamy cheese (requejao) is made with soy. They offer a “rodízio” on Saturday night with dessert included just for 10 Reais, obviously you can’t miss that!
Where: Rua Guaricanga 135, Lapa
: 3982 3030

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Fuad's Bar

Esquina Grill do Fuad is a great place to have a beer with your friends. No one speaks English but it's far to be a problem. Located in a corner between the Higienópolis and Santa Cecília's suburb, this bar has about 40 years of story. Fuad (the owner) is the President of the Association of Residents and Merchants of Higienópolis and also pretty funny. One of his dishes is called "Picanha a La Ronaldo" (Rump a la Ronaldo [photo]) as an honor to the famous soccer player who lives on the neighbourhood. The staff is pretty helpful and the menu has plenty of other smart names. Organize your time, put a sandals and have some beers on this bright corner. Wi-Fi free zone.

Where: Rua Martim Francisco, 244 - Santa Cecília - Sao Paulo, SP
Phone: (11) - 3666-4493 / 3825-1031
When: Every day from 11:30am till the last client.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Website helps people to organize rides in Sao Paulo

Traffic jams and financial crisis are the reason why people rescue an old habit: get ride. The practice is coming back slowly to encourage people sharing car or taxi to go and back from work and school. Among the initiatives there is the site and the project MelhorAr - Mobilidade Sustentável developed by Lincoln Paiva, which was based on American and European initiatives. MelhorAr offers a free program that helps companies to organize rides. The software offers routes, timetables and even radio stations (in Portuguese) for those who want to offer or find ride. It also calculates the cost of fuel to be shared and the amount of CO2 released. In 2005, the Belgian Rik Van brought the idea of the site Taxistop for Brazil to create the This website helps students, colleagues and taxi users to organize a ride. On this website, there is a list available to find when and who wants to split transport. It's prepared for the city of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Have a look!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Subway ticket more expensive in Sao Paulo

The value of subway ticket will rise to R$2.55 on February 9th. The increase of 6.3% was based on inflation measured by the last 12 months. The integration between bus and rail transport using "bilhete unico", will increase from R$ 3.65 to R$ 3.75