First Stop: Sao Paulo

29 03 2010

To see all the pictures:

Preparations and the Last Days in Turkey

The last weeks in our jobs are busier than we were expected but we cover the period very well and the last days are quite good actually. We have farewell dinners organized for us, one after another since we will leave our colleagues because we want to live in İzmir, not İzmit anymore. We try to finish the last arrangements we had to do about the trip in these last days. Vaccinations, budget planning, route planning, packing list for the trip, plans for moving the house… Before moving out we begin packing the stuff in the house into boxes and we get exhausted by the trip preparations and the last working days in the jobs.

The last days in Turkey become a great rush. First we move our house furnitures to İzmir from İzmit. It’s a distressed process but we overcome with the help of our families. We finish the last things to do in İzmir by competing with the minutes. Not easy managing the trip preparations and moving the house at the same.

Our families see us off at the airport. Approximately 20 friends organize a farewell dinner for us in Istanbul in our last night before departure.

Farewell Dinner @ Beşiktaş/İstanbul

The flight – 07.03.2010

We begin our trip at 10 a.m. in Istanbul Ataturk Airport. We land to Dakar/Senegal after an 8-hour flight. Dakar is a large city as seen from the airplane. Consisting of white-painted one and two store buildings mostly. We see the clothes hung up in the balconies as we approach the landing.

Sao Paulo flight

Sao Paulo

07.03.2010 – Sunday

After a 1-hour stop in Dakar, we fly 7 hours more and then land to the Sao Paulo Guarulhos Airport with the local time 21.15. Passport police stamping our passports without any questions and we are officially in Brazil. With only a few exceptions, all countries of South America are welcoming Turkish citizens without an entry visa, including Brazil. Sao Paulo local time is 5 hours behind from Turkey.

Sao Paulo, is not only the most populated city of Brazil but also of all South America, with its 12-million population. Probably it is also the most expensive and also the least safe city along with Rio de Janeiro, among all the places we will visit. In addition, Brazil is the only Portugese speaking country in South America.

To reach to our first Couch Surfing host’s house, we get the bus ticket and get out of the airport building to walk to the bus platforms. We feel as we step out that it is very hot and humid outside, but we are prepared. Murat zips off the down part of his trousers to make them shorts. There are not a lot of people around with trousers anyway. Almost everybody is wearing strap blouses, shorts/skirts and Havaianas (flip flops). We come to the stop where Leticia will meet us after a 40-minute bus ride.

First impressions until we reach home: Traffic jam, graffiti everywhere, understanding not-a-single-word of the Portuguese language, all the houses surrounded by strong iron fences.

Our host Leticia has a sister (Fernanda) and a brother (Zeca). The mom (Idely) and the dad (Cristiano) are also at home. Leticia offers us her own room.

08.03.2010 – Monday

International Women’s Day. We go to a lunch with live music organized by Fernanda at Paulista Avenue. Guitar & vocal. Cool and relaxing. Our host Idely is relative of the Frenceh who invented the photo machine, 4th or 5th generation.

Paulista Avenue is no different than the streets of Manhattan. Only people in suits are walking instead of running and there are a lot of people smoking in front of the buildings and business centers. There is police and gendarme on the streets, with frequent kiosks. We feel safe but at the same time consider the crime rate which forces the situation. We can draw cash from the ATM without any problems. We have very little money on us. We increase security precautions.

Paulista Avenue

We go to Ibirapuera Park. It resembles to Central Park, just like Paulista does to Manhattan. Hundreds of people doing sports, running, cycling, and playing football of course 🙂 Mostly having well-shaped bodies. There are couple making love around and nobody cares.

Ibirapuera Park

We have a soup with carrot, potatoes, some Brazilian potatoes and meat for the dinner along with some appetizers, one of which tastes delicious actually. Cooked only with green pepper, onion and garlic. We also eat pulp of a different kind of a fruit, which does not exist in Turkey. By the way it is full of tropical fruits everywhere but not as cheap as we were expecting. Anyway we know that Sao Paulo will be among the most expensive places we will visit.

09.03.2010 – Tuesday

We start the day at the nearby market. “Pastel” is sold at the entrance, drough with cheese, meat or whatever you like. There is also sugar cane juice, prepared and sold at the spot. We will soon understand that both pastel and cane juice are very popular in Brazil. Juice is sweet and refreshing. We see a lot of new fruits new to us in the market. Our curious looks soon get caught by the sellers and everybody begins offering us some samples and we become kind of center of the attention. We love all but the Devil’s Fruit. People are just relaxed and cheerful. We take a lot of photos of the sellers.

Tuesday Market

We see a musical instrument repair shop when returning from the market. It seems interesting and we hop in. It turns out that the guy has Turkish ancestors!

Later we head to Plaça de Se, to see the center. It is so touristy but we do not feel comfortable somehow because of the suspicious crowd around and try to leave as soon as possible. We visit the cathedral of Se anyway. We stroll around some more, trying to see popular places.

Afterwards we go to the local weekly CS meeting and it is more than hundred people there. We meet some other travelers, too. We meet a British girl called Bilkis, who quitted her job just like us and is going to travel Americas for a year. Daniel from Sao Paulo has been to Izmir before and tells us that Izmir reminded him of the atmosphere in Rio de Janeiro.

CS meeting

10.03.2010 – Wednesday

Zoo day!!! Cristiano drives us to the entrance of the Zoo. Lelot family is really hospitable. We are a bit disappointed at the Zoo because we do not see anything different than the zoos we visited before in Europe or USA.

We are about to decide our route. High chances are that we will go to Curitiba tomorrow.

11.03.2010 – Thursday

We decide to go to Curitiba for sure. We find out that there is a CS meeting there in the evening. We also find a host there and leave Lelot House in the morning for the bus station. Time to say good-bye, with sadness in the hearts. Idely gives us some gifts 🙂 We will be in Curitiba in about seven hours.

Idely sees us off

To see all the pictures:


Gülen & Murat

Curitiba, 13.03.2010, Saturday




One response

6 05 2010

Hola Murat & Gulen!

How nice to see the CS meeting picture here! Feels so long ago! Hope you both are well and enjoying your travels! I´m now in Bolivia! In a beautiful city called Sucre, hoping to stay for a month or so here to do voluntary work and take some Spanish lessons. It´s been so amazing this far! I love travelling!!

Kisses to you both! Bilkis xx

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