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São Paulo City Trip - Morumbi

Morumbi is home to Estadio Cicero Pompeu de Toledo, one of Brazil's famous soccer stadiums

SAO PAULO DAY 2: São Paulo Art Museum, the Paulista and Morumbi

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If your second day in São Paulo is on the weekend, start it with the impressive breakfast buffet of fruits, breads, cheeses and pastries at Pain et Chocolat. If a weekday, Santo Grão combines excellent coffee with smoked salmon eggs Benedict at a relatively low cost.

Figueira Rubaiyat: A Restaurant
Under a Giant Fig Tree

Once fully fueled, start the day's touring at the concrete and glass São Paulo Art Museum, considered the most important museum of Western art in all of South America. Its collections include paintings by the European masters like El Greco, Goya, Botticelli, Rembrandt, Turner, Van Gogh and Picasso. Brazilian painting is also highlighted in the works of José Ferraz de Almeida Júnior, Anita Malfatti, and Cândido Portinari.

For a taste of the sweet life, the neighborhoods along Avenida Paulista sport some of the chicest quarters of "Sampaul." The fancy boutiques attract shoppers, and the opulent condos with marble lobbies bring the dreamers, or at least the industrial and social elite of Brazil. Not surprisingly, the "Paulista," as the avenue is called, is home to one of the most spectacular restaurants of the city, Figueira Rubaiyat. Its tables are sheltered by a figueira (giant fig tree) under which a Plexiglas roof is cooled off by sprinklers when necessary. An open kitchen complements this theatrical setting, where swarms of uniformed waiters serve large portions of meat and seafood and well-prepared ceviche.

Casa da Fazenda was a
Coffee Plantation

Perhaps the most exciting place to work off the calories is in the Morumbi district on the East Side. Morumbi means soccer and is the home of one of Brazil's major stadiums, Estadio Cicero Pompeu de Toledo, which seats around 72,000 fans. By all means, catch a match if able. Just don't sit on the Argentine side if you value your health.

Also in Morumbi, a former coffee plantation with slave quarters and a chapel, Casa da Fazenda, has been restored and turned into a restaurant surrounded by native trees such as jacarandas, resedas, mango, avocado and Brazilian grape. If you stay to eat, order the lamb chops. If not, stop by the craft shop.


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The Awakening of the Colossus

Despite impressive statistics — Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world with a population increase of one million souls every year — the "sleeping giant" label sticks. But it's certain that the stalwart will wake up someday. The question is when? Why not now? Sure enough, Brazil has been mired by political instability and weak governments incapable of implementing consistent and adequate policies. With double-digit inflation per day, the local currency (named the Cruzeiro) had less value than the paper on which it was printed, rendering foreign investment impossible and economic development problematic. Though still high, inflation has largely subsided. The new money, the Real, has become a reality. Depreciation is only, if one can say, fifteen percent, per year. A moderate, left-oriented, democratically elected government promotes a reasonably balanced economic policy.

While production in Brazil is still based on agriculture, with its large and notorious exportation of coffee, cane sugar and soy beans, it is also more diversified with a surging automotive industry. Brazil is now the fifth largest world producer of cars and experiences remarkable forays into the hi-tech sector, beginning with a very successful aerospace sector (45% of the world regional jets market), cellular phones and computer software. Bordering nine of the eleven South American states, Brazil is the economic leader of the region.



the neo-gothic Catedral da Sé took 800 tons of Italian marble and 40 years to complete

 

 



(Updated: 05/24/13 CT)


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