São Paulo's Beaches

domingo, 14 de dezembro de 2008

If you're familiar with geography and the physcial location of the city of São Paulo, you are probably wondering how the hell I'm going to talk about beaches here. This is because they are non-existent in the city of São Paulo. So what are the "beaches" of SP?

Shopping Malls.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen... Cariocas go to the beach for family fun in the sun, and Paulistanos escape to the malls for family fun in the A/C.

There are currently
44 shopping malls in São Paulo and 13 more in the greater São Paulo area. Most if not all are relatively large with over 150 stores, a movie theater in each, and quite a few even have large supermarkets in them! Parking garages are packed and you'll encounter lines in stores at all mall operating times.

What is it people in São Paulo find so fascinating about shopping malls? I personally have never been a fan of malls. I hate the crowds; I hate the expensive window shopping (since I'm always broke; and super cheap when it comes to shopping for clothes); I'm not a fan of food court food; I get instant colds when exiting overly air conditioned spaces and then entering unbearable hot and humid weather; and I'll take a downtown boutique over a copy/paste chain store anyday. But in São Paulo... despite having all of the above... malls are almost a safe haven away from the pollution, traffic, noise (okay, not so much noise), heat/rain/wind - depending on what horrible weather is outside... not to mention, you can do everything in one place! You can go to the pharmacy, to the grocery store, get lunch, catch a movie, grab coffee, go to the bank, pay your bills, get dry cleaning, and catch some occasional in-mall entertainment (live music, fashion shows, etc.) all in one day and in one place! Sure, Paulistanos are all pale, but try to do that at the beach!

And before you start jumping to conclusions, don't take me for a small town USA girl who grew up deprived of shopping malls. I grew up shopping at the Danbury Fair, only one of the largest malls in New England (brushing dirt off my shoulder - however inappropriate that may be), and have been privy to a number of other malls in the U.S. Yet in the U.S., I suppose strip malls are more popular? I have no idea... all is know is São Paulo malls are O.D. (over done? - haha, remember when everyone said "O.D."?), but I'm not complaining, because after all... the convenience helps.

Now all they have to do is work on the ridiculousness of prices in stores at malls here! More on that some other day...


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