Friday, April 23, 2010
I went to bed last night with my backpack sitting by the door and my Google map printed. First thing this morning I headed to São Paulo's infamous street 25 de Março (March 25th), an enormous commercial area in the center of town. Many Paulistanos (São Paulo natives) avoid this area. It used to be the commercial center of the city in the 30's and some of the historical buildings still remain (incredible architecture). But for the most part it is crowded, dirty, and confusing. I love it. You can find absolutely everything you need for crafting. Plus there is just tons of junk you don't and do need--costume jewelry, housewares, shoes, bootlegged designer wear, costumes. Just name something and, well, it is there. Best of all, it is at least half the price of the same product in a more upscale neighborhood. But you have to go with stamina and a discerning eye (BTW, don't dress nicely and keep your money close in a fanny pack). But it is worth it. For something you buy at vinte-cinco really takes on another value-added dimension when you get it out of vinte-cinco. (i.e. cheap can look expensive)
I went with a pretty strict list of items needed for an upcoming party--otherwise I know I'd lose my day wandering. On the list: grosgrain ribbon, fabrics, felt, paint, pillow stuffing, and colored steel buckets. And I also did something many Paulistanos avoid: I walked there. And I took the bus back home. I live in a town that does not have many pedestrians. Cars, cars, cars and traffic, traffic, traffic. Public transportation is pretty lousy. And, in third world countries (this will take a whole other post and will not sound politically correct) buses are the primary mode of transport for those who cannot afford a car. But I hate to drive. And I love to walk. I would have come back on foot if I didn't have so much loot to haul. Because, by the way, a huge traffic jam (a bomb threat downtown--don't ask) halted traffic. It took me 1 hour and 20 to get there on foot and 2 hours and 20 (sitting in a bus thinking about my time away from Georgia) to get home.
With the exception of a random costume shop (Snow White for little G), I stuck to my list and only visited three of the more than 1,500 shops:
Malhuy Tecidos - 100% cotton fabric prints
Rei do Armarinho - Ribbon, notions, and craft heaven
Aycrem - Felt
I'd love any other tips on 25/3. Do share.