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  1. #1

    Default Driving in Brazil

    For those of you who love to drive, Sao Paulo Brazil has a lot of action.

    On my last 5 trips to Brazil, mainly to Sao Paulo I have had the pleasure of renting a car and driving around the "controlled" chaos.

    First let me provide you with some background on Sao Paulo. It is either the second or third most populated city (depending on where you get your results) in the world with an estimate of 10,677,000 habitants, not including the suburbs which can push the figure to 15 million. It is the economic engine of Brazil and the largest city in South America.

    My rental car was a Chevrolet Corsa 5 speed, 1.8 Litre engine. Enough to get you around the city, but anything over 140km/hr and the car feels unstable, even though the speedometer read 220km/hr. At least it inspired me and gave me an objective.

    For those of you who have not experienced "controlled" chaos here are a few rules to keep in mind while:

    One rule of thumb, especially if you want to keep your thumb(s), is to keep your arms inside your car. Do not put your arm out the window to point at something or stick your head out the window to talk to the pretty girl or guy in the next car as a "motoboy" can and will ride his motorcycle in between both of your cars. The quickest way to get around such a large city is by motorcycle. They race in between cars with their horns honking and they all make their way to the front of the intersection.

    #2 Don't talk on your cell phone. It is illegal to do so in Sao Paulo.

    #3 Running red lights is not customary in North America and took some practice and courage for me to do so. But in Sao Paulo if you're driving at night and approach an intersection in a neighbourhood that you're (a) not too familiar with (b) are really scared or (c) you simply like to drive through red lights, you're in for a surprise. You can. But be discreet about it and try not to run a red with a police officer on the corner. Remember to look both ways before you do though.

    Apparently though, the police are trying to crack down on this.

    #4 Defensive driving skills are essential. I had a motorcycle drive up the wrong way along the curb side as I tried to turn onto another street. Almost took him out.

    #5 Watch out for potential T-bones at four way intersections, especially at night. If they don't stop for red lights, what makes you think they'll stop at signed intersections?

    #6. If you drive a flashy car, for example a Honda Civic sedan or anything in that price range and higher you will notice the cars to have very dark tinted windows. This provides protection to the occupants inside as those on the outside do not know how many people are inside the car. Some cars even have the front windshield tinted!!!

    #7. Keep your doors locked at all times and keep your eyes open.

    #8. Bring a GPS unit or a loaded GPS mapping device with you. This will help considerably in your travels.

    So there you have the simple rules to adhere to should you try driving in Brazil. I hope this does not discourage or provide people with the impression that Sao Paulo is a dangerous place. A large city does have vast differences and yes it can be dangerous, depending on where you go, but it's a city that must be visited and drive in too.

    Unfortunately as I only had two days off I was unable to drive the curvaceous road runs along the coastal Serra das Araras mountain range toward Rio de Janerio but did enjoy the bus ride along the route on my previous visit.

  2. Default Irony...

    It seems a little odd to me that running red lights is acceptable, but talking on a cell phone is not. How is one less dangerous than the other?

    Interesting information, thanks for posting it! (But no WAY would I drive down there!) You are a brave, brave man! Bob

  3. Default

    at first, after reading topic, I thought you really drove from the state to brazil, gosh !(Is it possible ? sounds like motorcyle diary the movie).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France
    Posts
    761

    Default Brazil

    Sportscar dirver,

    thanks for the input, I'd love to visit some parts of Brazil someday. Actually I have a friend of mine who is from Portuguese background and has some kind of condo in Sao Paulo...hum it's tempting:-)

    On my last 5 trips to Brazil, mainly to Sao Paulo
    What other places did you visit there?

    sounds like motorcyle diary the movie
    What a great movie, I really enjoyed it. It is a must have for any road tripper!

    Gen

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default

    Gosh, driving there sounds like a real adrenaline rush. I'd love to try it someday. But I don't see any trips there in my future. Darn it anyway!

    Haven't seen The Motorcycle Diaries yet. I'll have to check it out.

    Yes, you can drive from Brazil to the states. But it sure isn't easy. You might enjoy "Road Fever" by Tim Cahill which chronicles his trip from Tierra de Fuego to Prudhoe Bay. Funny and fascinating!

  6. Default Road Fever

    Absolutely! Great book! (Find it here)

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Moderator Bob
    Absolutely! Great book! (Find it here)

    I agree, it is a very good book.

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Judy
    Gosh, driving there sounds like a real adrenaline rush. I'd love to try it someday. But I don't see any trips there in my future. Darn it anyway!

    Haven't seen The Motorcycle Diaries yet. I'll have to check it out.
    A must buy movie, Judy.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 10-12-2005 at 04:00 PM.

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gen
    Sportscar dirver,

    thanks for the input, I'd love to visit some parts of Brazil someday. Actually I have a friend of mine who is from Portuguese background and has some kind of condo in Sao Paulo...hum it's tempting:-)



    What other places did you visit there?



    What a great movie, I really enjoyed it. It is a must have for any road tripper!

    Gen


    Rio de Janiero, Sao Paulo and Recife. All the times I've been to Brazil have been for business purposes. So personal time was very limited.

    Recife was the only location where I had several days to enjoy myself. It's a 2hr plane ride from Sao Paulo. Recife has some great diving locations.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Sportscar driver
    A must buy movie, Judy.
    Is this the one about Che?

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