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Sao Paulo, Home of Both Rich and Poor

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Kids getting the city ready for the 2014 World Cup starting in two weeks

Initially we were supposed to stay two nights in Brotas, a small city four hours outside of Sao Paulo known for its outdoor activities such as rafting, canyoing and mountain biking, but instead we after just a night we decided to jump off our organised tour and travel to Sao Paulo by ourself instead.

Mauricio, a Brazilian guy from Sao Paulo that I studied with in the US met us when we arrived and drove us around to show us his city. And in a place with 22 million inhabitants there were one city center for each of the many districs so a car was more or less neccessary to get a good overview of the massive city. On our bus ride on the way into the city we had seen huge areas with settlements of shabby huts known as favelas. It was a bit sad to see that the majority of people in the suburbs were living under poor conditions while the nicer areas in the city housed people with several cars in their garages. Mauricio and his friends were of the latter and for us that had gotten used to roughing it with our overland truck and tents it was great to relax in a nice house with good food and a soft bed.

In the evening we went to a couple of parties of his college friends. Friends who belonged to the few percent of Sao Paulo who are super rich. As a contrast to the upcoming Favela tour in Rio it was a true experience to see their multi floored houses that had swimming pools, tennis and basketball courts, gyms and plenty of other rooms, all protected by tall walls with electric fences on top and security guards. They also drove bullet proof cars and had drivers, maids and gardeners to help them in their daily life.

At both house parties that we visited we felt very welcome and people were very interested in hearing about our home country and our journey so far. Everyone also told us that the North of Brazil was the place to go, and since we will fly home in just a week and will not have time to do so, we will definately have to come back some day. And then we we will also make sure to spend some more time with our new gotten friends in Sao Paulo, the biggest city in South America.

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One of the houses we visited in Sao Paulo

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The huge areas where the poorer people live, this one taken from Rio

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