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São Paulo

I travel to São Paulo a lot these days and it’s always such a mixed experience. The people are nothing short of incredible, the warmest and friendliest people I’ve ever worked with, and yet the city itself is utterly draining. Maybe it’s because I’m not the big metropolis type, more into the mid-sized manageable city with its quirks and charms and real sense of community. Being amidst all the noise, traffic, old concrete and new glass just isn’t my idea of a great city, neither for business nor pleasure travel (let alone to live in). But on my last trip there, as I stood on the 23rd floor of one of the city’s many hotels, making small talk with a woman I had just met, I saw the city in a whole new light. For the first time I was able to see above and beyond the constructed mass, to see the edges of the city, to see pockets of green space, and to begin to see the real contours of the build environment. “It’s textured” the woman said, almost imperceptibly as she and I stared out at the city from our high perch. I thought later about her words and realized that she’s right, it really is a perfect description of the city as seen from above. It has layers and depth that you just might miss if you spend all your time caught up at street level. Even if you’ve never been there, just one look at this photo of the city suggests that this woman, who I’ll probably never see again, nailed a pretty perfect description of this teeming metropolis.

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