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Sao Paulo is a mammoth cosmopolitan animal; containing 17 million people spread over 3,000 square miles, it is 3 rd largest city in the world and the epicenter of business and commerce, fashion and politics in Brazil . Paulistanos as the locals are called are hard-workers and the city pulses efficiently like its American and European competition. In the week day mornings, the streets flood with workers in formal western business suits, hair slicked back, briefcase in hand. Markets sell sweet-smelling fruits, large modern skyscrapers rise from the streets, and travelers can binge on any type of cuisine of their hearts content. At night, the cities streets flood with light and energy, as youth flock to nightclubs to drink and dance in abandon and restaurants overflow with people and countless smells and clinking plates sounds emanate from open windows. Portuguese can be heard in long, complex trails of discussion throughout the crowded streets.
Though Paulistanos are very proud of their city, they also have a spectacular, unique range of cultural diversity. São Paulo has a large population of Italian, Japanese, German, Spanish and Portuguese immigrants, guaranteeing a fantastic, authentic array of International cuisine. However, unfortunately, Sao Paulo also battles the affects of poor city planning, as the city is constantly congested with traffic and petty crime is very common (for instance, moto-riding purse-snatchers can be terrors to tourists and the local authorities).
As Brazil increases as a world power, with its energy power and large supply of natural resources, Sao Paulo will only continue to boom. Though it may not have the same tropical allure at the beach paradise of Rio, Sao Paulo holds its own as a city teeming with dynamic art shows, musical performances, night clubs and avante-garde fashion.