Dr. Chun
Sao Paulo, Brazil

April, 2015


Our next stop during the study trip to Brazil was Sao Paulo. It is the most populous city in Brazil, with a city population of about 11 million and almost 20 million in its metropolitan region. Brazil's economic powerhouse was once thought of as the ugly sister to Rio de Janeiro's beach-fronted glamour. But, over the past few years, Sao Paulo's fashion, music and design scenes have gained such momentum that it's tipped by some as a cooler destination than more touristy Rio.

013One of our favorite plant tours in Sao Paulo was Natura, Brazil's number one cosmetics manufacturer and the country's leader in the direct sales sector. We tried some cosmetics products at the gift shop. (e.g., lipstick on a pig!) 023The office visit to Chilli Beans was also cool.  The largest fashion accessories brand in Latin America, Chilli Beans features frequently updated collections of sunglasses, optical frames, and watches created exclusively by the Chilli Beans team.
033Our MBA students participated in Entrepreneurship Challenge sponsored by Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing (ESPM).  They were group with their Brazilian counterparts. 043During the day-long competition, I walked to Ibirapuera Park and had good time at various museums: Oca Ibirapuera, Museu Afro Brasil, and Museum of Modern Art.  The park has a large area for leisure, jogging and walking, as well a vivid cultural scene with museums and a music hall.
053The graffiti art at the entrance of Museum of Modern Art, which is modeled on the Museum of Modern Art in New York.  hungry and exhausted, I had a good lunch at the museum cafeteria. 063The Monument to Bandeiras pays a tribute to the Portuguese explorers and to the native indian guides, aside from other races represented in the monument that took part in Bandeiras (exploration expeditions), all together carrying the canoe of the explorers' bands.
073On the way back to ESPM, I came across Sao Paulo International Art Fair at Fundação Bienal de São Paulo.  So many contemporary artworks under one roof! 083Graffiti, or street art, is everywhere in Sao Paulo. The popularity of graffiti has been growing in Brazil for decades, and some of the country’s most talented artists have built an international reputation.
093In the evening, I ventured out to Japanese town in Liberdade. It is home to the largest Japanese community outside of Japan in the world. A bowl of Japanese udon for dinner! 103I walked to the downtown area alone at night, visiting Municipal Theatre of São Paulo, São Paulo Cathedral, and Mosteiro de São Bento.  I felt unsafe, although I consider myself to be street-smart.
113Walking tour this morning! We first headed for Pátio do Colégio, which is a Jesuit church and school.  It marks the site where the city of Sao Paulo was founded in 1554. 123We then walked to Martinelli Building.  Built in 1929, it was the city's first skyscraper. The whimsical penthouse is worth checking out, and the rooftop has a great view.
133Municipal Theatre of São Paulo is regarded as one of the landmarks of the city, significant both for its architectural value as well as for its historical importance. 143We kept walking towards Mercado Municipal de São Paulo.  The municipal market is one of the most traditional gourmet points of the city.  We had lunch there, while enjoying the architectural beauty of the building.
153We came back to the hotel, changed clothes, and were ready for an office visit in the afternoon.  Everyone looks sharp! 163We visited the headquarter of Itau Unibanco, which is a global Latin American bank.  The bank is also an important patron of the local arts.  We took a group picture in front of a sculpture.
173In the evening, I ventured out alone to Bom Retiro. It was the entry gate of the immigrant arrivals from the port of Santos, who landed in the city by train via Luz station.  I had a great sashimi dinner at a Korean restaurant. 183Next morning, a few of us decided to visit São Paulo Museum of Art, which is within a walking distance from the hotel on Paulista Avenue. I was excited to see some paintings of my favorite painter, Amedeo Modigliani.
193After a few hours at the museum, I crossed the street and walked to Parque Tenente Siqueira Campos, which is a small park full of  trees and sculptures.  On the way back to the hotel, I bought a wooden duck and an owl as gifts. 203On the way to the airport, I stopped by Museu do Futebol, which is a soccer museum and a stadium.  Soccer must be an integral part in the identity of the Brazilian people, and they erected a temple to the gods of soccer!
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