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Sao Paulo

Italian, Japanese or Arabic influences

The main financial hub in the country, São Paulo is also Brazil's most cosmopolitan city, with top-rate nightlife and restaurants and impressive cultural and arts scenes. Most of the wealthiest people in Brazil live here—and the rest of them drop by at least once a year to shop for clothes, shoes, accessories, luxury items, and anything else that money can buy.

Paulistanos (São Paulo inhabitants) work hard and spend a lot, and there's no escaping the many shopping and eating temptations. Despite—or because of—these qualities, many tourists, Brazilian and foreigners, avoid visiting the city. Too noisy, too polluted, too crowded, they say—and they have a point.

São Paulo is hardly a beautiful city; it's fast-paced and there's lots to do, but it's also a concrete jungle, with nothing as attractive as Rio's hills and beaches. Yet, even as the smog reddens your eyes, you'll see that there's much to explore here. When you get tired of laid-back beaches, São Paulo is just the right place to go.

The main sights in the city include the different neighborhoods with their special Italian, Japanese or Arabic influences. They have their own character and atmosphere and it is a lot of fun to just walk around, go to one of the many small restaurants or have a drink somewere.

Sao Paulo hosts a number of events in 2011 and 2012, such as the Carnival, in February - colourful street processions are filled with musicians and dancers in the city's favourite carnival, which ends on Mardi Gras; and Cultura Inglesa Festival is one of performing arts, dance and musical exhibitions, which are showcased throughout March in venues throughout the city.



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