Sauntering in São Paulo

Saturday 2019_01_19 (update)

So I did go out to try to sample São Paulo night life.

This pizza must have tasted heavenly!

I walked up to Potato Place because I knew there was nightlife there, and some clubs further up Avenida Brigadeiro Faria Lima There were the usual interesting smells coming from the packed street (Rua Martim Carrasco) and the less packed open space, along with music pouring out of bars and restaurants but none of the music called to my legs.

crowds on Rua Guaicuí (movie)

I wondered into the streets west of Potato Place and found that Rua Guaicuí was blocked off at both ends by small barrows selling drinks and snacks, and that the whole street was lined with bars and filled with people drinking, talking and laughing. I didn’t feel threatened in any way. (I’d left my passports and most of my money in my hotel room, and I kept my hand on my wallet, which was rammed deep into a hip picket. My hotel key-card was in a zip-pocket, and I’d left the cardboard stating the room number in the hotel.)

graffiti on the way to clubland

I bought a beer at one of the bars and walked on towards clubland. Again, nothing I heard appealed, and there were very long queues to get into most clubs. I walked back to Potato Place and stood in the open space, enjoying some dance-ish music from a boom-box. Another lad came along and fixed his boom-box in the tree next to me and started playing some heavy jungle. (I doubt that the jPhone recording from my hip-pocket does it justice.)

bar on Rua Martim Carrasco – Wegene and I ate here during our first few days in São Paulo

Some people (mostly women but also one man) started twerking to this music, while another bloke was jerking gently. (No, not that meaning.) All seemed friendly still, and I tweeted

Serious heavy jungle in Potato Place. Lots of twerking, but not by me – yet!

However, it then started raining, and I realised I wasn’t going to really get in the mood, so I wimped out back to my hotel.

Sunday 2019_01_21

view from Tamanduateí station

Hugo and his wife (Eliana) had invited me for lunch at their home in São André, so after I surfaced (after mid-day), I took the metro to Utinga. Hugo met me at the station and drove me to his flat. Just in case anyone is interested, my route was (1) Faria Lima to Paulista; (2) walk to Consolação; (3) Consolação to Tamanduateí; (4) Tamanduateí to Utinga. I think Tamanduatei station was downwind of a sewage plant.

On the last train, a couple were selling drinks and snacks. Apparently this is illegal, possibly because such commerce isn’t taxed. Moral maze: which is worse – preventing people making a living this way, or these people not paying tax (thus encouraging others not to pay tax)? In the end, I think that forcing people to starve or beg is worse. But how do we deal with such tax evasion? Please critique the following ideas and assumptions:

  • Assume that such vendors don’t earn more than the personal allowance, and so wouldn’t be liable for tax anyway, and hence turn an official blind eye. But this sets an unwelcome precedent, and is ripe for abuse.
  • Assume that the cost of collecting this tax outweighs the cost of doing so again turn an official blind eye. (Back to that unhelpful precedent!)
  • Assume that such vendors are unlikely to keep accurate records of their sales. Hence get them to pay tax in advance by taxing sales to them by wholesalers. (This would probably be hard to implement, open to abuse and unfair in that it taxes assumed sales revenue, not actual revenue.) 
  • Move to a completely cashless society, so that it it is easy to tax any transaction. (Hmm what could possibly go wrong with that? Let me google it for you.)

Bruce, Hugo, Isadora and Eliana

I got to meet Isadora, Hugo and Eliana’s new baby, and hence to gurgle a lot. (Sometimes I get broody, but I know in reality that I’m not trained, and far too selfish, to be a parent.) We had a very pleasant afternoon, talking over lots of food and traditional Brazilian drink (this time made with sweetener instead of sugar) about Brazilian and UK politics and social conventions, parenting and everything under the sun. Far too soon it was time to head back to to my hotel.

My return via metro was uneventful, but back at my hotel, there were preparations for filming something.


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