By Ron and Caryl Krannich, Ph.Ds
“You learn more about a place you are visiting when Impact is pointing the way.”
—The Washington Post
“An excellent, exhaustive, and fascinating look at shopping.”
—Travel and Leisure
“Books in the series help travelers recognize quality and gain insight into local customs.”
“We loved very much the ‘Best of the Best’! It is a wonderful guide, we didn’t have anything like that in Sao Paulo. Many, many thanks, we appreciated to receive one.”
Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo are two of South America’s and Brazil’s most exciting travel-shopping destinations. They offer wonderful opportunities for those who know what to look for, where to go, and how to properly travel and shop these major cities.
While both are popular for beaches, rainforests, colonial architecture, churches, festivals, and obscure historical sites that often characterize Brazil’s travel image, Rio and Sao Paulo also are important shopping places that yield unique jewelry, art, antiques, and crafts as well as excellent restaurants, hotels, entertainment, and outdoor sports.
Identifying the best shops, along with top restaurants, hotels, and sightseeing, this unique guide, representing the thirteenth volume in the highly acclaimed Impact Guides travel-shopping series, opens up a whole new world of travel to Brazil.
It includes everything from pre-trip planning to sound advice on buying gems and jewelry. Unraveling 41 shopping rules, the Krannichs outline the best of the best for savvy travel-shoppers.
Designed to be used in the streets of Rio and Sao Paulo, the book is jam-packed with critical contact information, including many useful websites. 192 pages. 2001.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Ch. 1 – Welcome to Surprising Rio and Sao Paulo
Part I: Smart Traveling and Shopping
Ch. 2 – Know Before You Go
Ch. 3 – Shopping Treasures and Rules
Ch. 4 – Buying Gems and Jewelry
Part II: Great Destinations
Ch. 5 – Rio
Ch. 6 – Sao Paulo
EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER 1: The Tales of Two Cities
Traveling to Brazil inevitably puts you in touch with either Rio or Sao Paulo, but hopefully both cities. After all, there’s a very good chance your international transportation will land and you’ll disembark in one of these cities. If you visit sensuous Rio, you’ll be visiting one of the world’s great visual cities with spectacular hillside, beach, and harbor views reminiscent of Hong Kong, Monaco, and Sydney.
Boasting nearly 10 million people, Rio is a vibrant city of great character, style, and culture, with its beautiful beaches, granite outcrops, efficient subway system and, as they say in Rio, beautiful people or cariocas who populate the throbbing beaches, bars, restaurants, and cafes along the beachfront streets that ring the city’s major beach, hotel, dining, entertainment, and shopping districts.
This is the city of the famous Corcovado, the 710-meter peak with the huge statue of Christ the Redeemer with arms outstretched and overlooking the city, and the popular hill of Pao de Acucar, or Sugar Loaf; both places compete in offering the most spectacular views of the city and surrounding area of beaches, ocean, and mountains. Rio also is the city of the annual glitzy, gay, and often overly exuberant Carnival.
Any way you look at it, much of Rio is all about enjoying the good life of beaches, bodies, booze, music, dance, shopping, and dining. With lots of great things to see and do, Rio is a fun city for most visitors as well as many residents who can afford its many pleasures. Known as Latin America’s playground, Rio is an especially great city to go treasure hunting for gems, jewelry, antiques, and handicrafts.
While Rio also has its dark sides, from the poverty of its hillside shantytowns (favalas) to crime and violence, hopefully during your short stay you will concentrate on Rio’s many treasures and pleasures that especially appeal to the interests and tastes of international visitors.
Sao Paulo, on the other hand, is twice as large as Rio with a population of nearly 20 million. It can be an intimidating city because of its sheer size. However, it’s a much smaller city when it comes to shopping, because the major shopping areas are very concentrated in one area.
While Sao Paulo is not as visually spectacular nor as much outdoor fun as Rio – because it lacks a playful beach and Carnival culture – Sao Paulo is a relatively sophisticated city of business and culture with its own unique beauty and fun.
A major industrial and financial center, Sao Paulo is Latin America’s economic powerhouse. Its tall buildings, wide boulevards, bustling side streets, museums, and cultural centers give this city a truly international character.
A vibrant and cosmopolitan city noted for its large number of Italian and Japanese immigrants, with their own ethnic neighborhoods, Sao Paulo is where you will find many of Brazil’s best shops, restaurants, hotels, and cultural and entertainment centers. Its weekend markets and shopping delights, including shopping in the nearby towns of Itu and Embu, are some of the best in Brazil.
While Sao Paulo also has its downsides, from traffic and pollution to crime and violence, nonetheless, it’s a great city well worth a few days of your attention, especially when it comes to fine shopping and dining.
EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER 5: Rio de Janeiro
Only a few cities in the world can capture the imagination as much as Rio de Janeiro. An electric city of nearly 10 million people, Rio conjures up some of the best images associated with great travel beautiful sites, wonderful weather, lush foliage, 23 expansive beaches, friendly people, great shopping, fine cuisine, plenty of outdoor activities, lively entertainment, romantic settings, gorgeous sunsets, and convenient transportation.
It’s all here in beautiful and seductive Rio. Like Hong Kong or Paris, this is simply a great city, one you won’t soon forget. Spend a few days here and you will quickly get into the fun and sun rhythm that makes Rio such a fabulous place. It’s a city that seems to keep on giving the best of the best to both new and seasoned visitors as well as local residents who blend nicely with Rio’s year-round vacation and festive culture.
There’s a certain degree of justified narcissism in Rio. Known as the cariocas, the locals tend to have a self-possessed and enthusiastic attitude toward their city and life in general. Unlike Sao Paulo, Rio is not a serious, hard-working city known for its productivity.
At least where the tourists and well-heeled gather, down along the beaches, Rio often feels like a big resort where many working locals appear to be on a perpetual beach vacation, socializing and looking for a good time, seven days a week. And they seem to have institutionalized the good times with lots of things to do throughout the day and night.
Visit Rio and you may quickly succumb to its unique ethos and indulge yourself in its many treasures and pleasures. Don’t be surprised to discover you’ve developed a particular carioca attitude toward life without really trying! Two days here and you’ll probably become seduced by Rio’s good life.
From the moment you arrive until the day you leave, you’ll encounter many friendly and easygoing cariocas who often refer to themselves as the beautiful people. Hang around the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana and you’ll see what they mean. There’s lots of sexual energy here, from men displaying well-toned muscles to women presenting lots of cleavage and posterior in public. It’s often wall-to-wall beautiful bronze bodies engaged in a huge beachfront social affair played out as beach volleyball, competitive dancing, sunning, swimming, jogging, or just people-watching.
Many people in nearby bars, cafes, restaurants, and shops also communicate an enthusiastic and passionate attitude which is at times contagious.
EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER 6: Sao Paulo
Sao Paulo is to Brazil what New York is to the United States – a great melting pot of many nationalities and cultures as well as a magnet for new economic opportunities. Indeed, Sao Paulo has a long history of attracting immigrants from all over the world who have helped build this city into a major economic center in South America. Starting near the end of the nineteenth century, immigrants from Europe and Asia came to Sao Paulo to build its coffee, textile, agricultural, and manufacturing industries.
Today you’ll see the vestiges of these early immigrants in the very cosmopolitan feel of the city, from architecture to restaurants. Visitors are often surprised to discover the largest Japanese immigrant community in the world (600,000 of Japanese heritage) resides in Sao Paulo, as well as encounter so many Italian, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese, and German restaurants.
Unlike Brazil’s predominately Roman Catholic cities, at least one-third of Sao Paulo’s population is non-Catholic, with Judaism, Shintoism, Buddhism, and Islam woven into its rich religious texture. If you are looking for the real Brazil in Sao Paulo, you won’t find it in this uniquely structured city of international immigrants.
There’s a certain smugness about this city that contrasts with the amusing narcissism of Rio. The friendly local residents of Sao Paulo, called the paulistanos, often view themselves as more serious and hard working than the more fun-loving, beach-obsessed cariocas of Rio. After all, the paulistanos are the economic backbone of the country. Indeed, many believe the country might collapse without their serious work ethic!
Perhaps this attitude reflects a certain envy that the cariocas may be having too much fun at the expense of the paulistanos. At the same time, the paulistanos see themselves as the beautiful people who live in a modern sophisticated city of art, culture, and great shopping and chic dining opportunities. They love this huge city with its delightful multi-cultural and cosmopolitan environment. All you need to do is to go shopping and dining to understand their attitude toward this city of many surprises.
Unlike Rio, Sao Paulo lacks mountains, an ocean and beaches, and many old sites. Indeed, many visitors initially think this is only a city of big buildings designed for big businesses. Supporting this view is the fact that most visitors come to Sao Paulo on business rather than pleasure. As a result, Sao Paulo lacks the tourist infrastructure found in Rio. But there is a lot more to this city than initial impressions.
Especially for shoppers, this is a wonderful city – much better than more touristy Rio. Shoppers have a wonderful time exploring Sao Paulo’s many chic boutiques, art galleries, antique shops, markets, and shopping centers. And diners are rewarded with some of Brazil’s best and trendiest restaurants.
If you are a lifestyle shopper, you’ll encounter the best of both worlds in Sao Paulo as you shop-and-dine ’til you drop! This is simply a great city for indulging your shopping and gastronomic fancies. And if you venture outside the city on weekends to such towns as Itu and Embu, you’ll find even more delightful shopping and dining opportunities.
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