Sao Paulo Pride, Brazil - June 2006

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The biggest Gay Pride in the World

The Brazilian city of Sao Paulo, one of the world’s largest cities, held its tenth annual gay pride parade on Saturday 17th June 2006. It’s the largest annual gay pride in the world, with this year a record attendance of 2.4 million people. Many dressed up (or down should I say) in lavish carnival costumes, skimpy trunks and of course there were lots of yellow, green and blue, the colours of the Brazilian flag. The theme of this years parade ‘homophobia is a crime’ was to highlight proposed anti-discrimination laws. But in typical Brazilian style, participants turned a sombre topic into a huge street party, dancing, drinking and kissing along the parade route. The route is about 4 kilometres long with go-go boys and drag queens dancing on the roofs of massive slow moving sound trucks. These trucks are purpose built and blast music out as they slowing roll down the skyscraper-lined Avenida Paulista, turning the whole area into a jam packed party amongst the financial heart of Brazil's biggest city.

Founded in 1554 by Jesuit priests, São Paulo was born destined to be the economic and cultural heart of the country. From the arrival of the first immigrants who settled here for the work in the coffee-growing sector, at the end of the 19th century, the city has seen a trajectory of constant growth. The world's fourth largest city and Latin America's biggest, São Paulo is Brazil's main gateway for foreign visitors, arriving by air, totaling 1,623,543 arrivals in 2001. Business tourism has made the countrycity a strategic point within Mercosul, linked directly to the main world capitals.
However therefore, it is not without reason that today, in Brazil, things happen first in São Paulo, a city that houses 6% of the Brazilian population, represents around 9% of the national GNP and commands the country's third largest budget.


Luxury, sophistication and refinement: São Paulo has them all. This cosmopolitan city - the country’s wealthiest – exudes glamour. There are glamorous and sophisticated restaurants run by renowned chefs, private clubs, high standard hotels as well as exclusive products and services developed for discerning and special customers. The great Broadway shows, performances of national and international artists and musicians, along with concerts in refined halls such as Sala São Paulo, provide unique experiences for those who want to enjoy all the sophistication São Paulo has to offer. The true extent of São Paulo’s glamour can be seen in a single visit to the stores and streets that are home to the most famous brand names in clothes, jewelry, cars and beverages.


Although São Paulo is known for its frenetic pace, it also offers options for those seeking well-being and quality of life. There are numerous venues for practicing all types of sport, both outdoors and in covered gyms and exercise areas. The 21 parks and squares are open spaces for relaxing, reading, practicing yoga, tai chi and other sports, walking or, simply, contemplation. Moreover, São Paulo offers specialized venues for diverse types of alternative and beauty treatments, sports centers, aesthetic centers, restaurants and natural products shops. The city is also home to top of the line medical centers where one can take care of body and mind. This is São Paulo: hospitable, beautiful and concerned about its visitors’ and inhabitants’ health and well-being.


It is difficult not to fall in love with a city that supports and promotes so many cultural happenings simultaneously. São Paulo has the richest art collection in the country, and is considered the cultural capital of Latin America for simultaneously hosting exhibits, festivals, plays and concerts to suit a wide range of tastes and styles. The city strengthens its identity as a “city of all peoples” through its galleries, cultural centers, museums, monuments, as well as its popular art, in fairs and ateliers. But, São Paulo is also art in the architecture of its gracious buildings, religious temples and modern skyscrapers of colored glass, steel and concrete. This is São Paulo: hospitable, cosmopolitan and cultural.


São Paulo at first sight may look like a huge wall formed by buildings and skyscrapers. However, the grandeur of this metropolis can also be felt in the green areas that it boasts. The mountains of the Cantareira Range, one of the biggest urban forests in the world, and the Tree Nursery form a broad greenbelt to the north of the city. More to the south, this greenbelt is filled out by the native species of the Botanical Garden, as well as the Capivari Monos Environmental Protection Area, with its native Atlantic rainforest vegetation that houses two Indian villages and is an excellent option for eco-tourism. The parks in the urban areas of the metropolis, such as Ibirapuera, Villa Lobos, Aclimação and the Burle Max are the lungs of the metropolis, breathing life and beauty into the city.


It is very difficult to know how many nationalities make up cosmopolitan São Paulo. There are about 70 different peoples that coexist harmoniously with the city’s inhabitants, known as ‘Paulistanos,’ forming an incomparable cultural melting-pot fueled by a rich diversity of traditions, religions and customs of the immigrants who have made São Paulo their home. It is from this mix that São Paulo diversifies and keeps putting on new faces, becoming evermore interesting and unique. It is possible to get to know the world without leaving the city. One has just to take a stroll through traditional neighborhoods like Liberdade, Mooca and Bom Retiro, or go shopping, to appreciate the traditional dishes or take part in an open-air festival like Achiropita. The faces that make up the city are so numerous that São Paulo keeps changing every day. And this constant change brings color and joy to a city that embraces all who seek it.


Everybody has already heard of São Paulo as the capital for work. But, the city that never sleeps is much more. It's the capital of culture, entertainment and gastronomic pleasure. And Paulistanos know how to enjoy all this like nobody else. There’s nothing better than a happy hour in the evening at one of the famous São Paulo bars, with a cold beer on tap and hors d’oeuvres, only to continue on for a quiet movie or a lively night out at a club. On the weekends, after a little exercise in one of the city parks, go to the open-air market to sample a delicious savory pastry, before meeting friends for a traditional feijoada bean stew. For those who are less sporty, there is always the option of looking for a bookstore where reading a good book and sipping fresh expresso coffee go hand in hand. Later, the stroll can continue with a visit to one of the handicraft or antique fairs dotting the squares of the city’s many neighborhoods. The night also has options in store for all tastes. Ranging from the pricey and sophisticated to the affordable, the activities are endless, 7 days a week.


There are 2 main gay area’s in the city that have countless bars, clubs, shops, restaurants and saunas.

1)       Jardins (Paulista-Consolacao) is the more upper class area;

2)       Republica Park (Praca Da Republica) is a more old town and sexual gay area.

The big gay club of the moment is The Week, which is located at 324 Rua Guaicurus. This amazing venue is complete with an outdoor pool & put on some of the best pride club nights.

Then there’s Ultra Lounge at Rua da Consolacao, sumptuous sofas and velvet curtains under an enormous crystal chandelier.


Eldorado Boulevard:

Ibis Sao Paulo Paulista:

Maksoud Plaza:


Hotel Unique (very posh):


Sao Paulo definatelly is one of the world's greatest cities, but its sheering size, combined with its workaholic way of living can seem way more overwelming than any other place on Earth! You'll be shocked by it! Sao Paulo is not the kind of city that you will fall in love with at first sight. It will take you a while to assimilate the impact that the city will have on you! Sao Paulo is the kind of Metropolis that grows in you as you get to know it better, and learn how to admire it's grandiousness! Sao Paulo has a spell that no one knows how to explain, a spell so strong that until this day attracts immigrants, people from all over the world that settle here and seem to never get enough of this wonderful city! If there is one time in the year to visit Sao Paulo, I’d recommend during the cities Gay Pride weekend.


Recommended Sao Paulo web sites: