Practical Information in Sao Paulo

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Just like in any big South American booming metropolis, you need to use common sense. Avoid shady areas, keep your valuables within sight and stay clear from dangerous situations.

Tips for Riding the Bus in Sao Paulo

The bus is a great way to cheaply get around Sao Paulo and stay as far as possible from the hectic traffic during rush hours as thousands of commuters are either getting back or to work. When riding the bus, make sure to keep your wallet or purse near you and don't carry large amounts of cash. It's better to prepare your fare in advance before boarding the bus and have it ready once you aboard the bus. You don't have to worry about having the exact fare because there will be a person who can provide change, if necessary. Still, don't use large bills or foreign currency to pay the bus fare.

During rush hours, the buses can get quite crowded. You need to be aware that Brazilians are more comfortable with smaller personal space areas, so if you're not comfortable with people brushing against you, it's best to avoid the bus when it's really crowded. Ladies should beware of crowded buses and act confident by looking into the eyes of the men they walk by to avoid any uncomfortable situations. The more assertive and confident a lady appears, the smaller the chance that a man will behave inappropriately.

Finally, refrain from boarding the bus with large and heavy suitcases. Don't be surprised if the bus driver refuses to let you in while carrying around really heavy and big suitcases. To make sure that everybody pays the bus fare, there is a turnaround at the bus that will make it almost impossible for you to get by it while carrying a big suitcase.

Driving Around Sao Paulo

It's always a good idea to apply for an international driver's permit at your country of origin before arriving to Sao Paulo (or any city in Brazil), especially if you're planning to rent a car or borrow a car from a local friend. Having an international driver's permit will make it easier for you to rent a car or deal with local authorities if you get into an accident.

The traffic in Sao Paulo gets really crazy around 8 a.m. and at 6 p.m. At these 2 times because you can expect traffic to be congested for about 2 hours.

Finally, it is very important that you remember the last digit of the license plate from the vehicle that you rented or borrowed because there is a law (highly enforced by the local police!) that forbids cars to be on the roads on certain days according to the last digit of their license plate. Don't expect the local police to make an exception because you are a foreigner because this law is very strictly enforced.

December 28, 2009 new by damiandavilarojas

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