Lovely if you close one eye.
A friend once said, when I decided to move from Porto Alegre to São Paulo a year ago, “São Paulo is not for amateurs.” And the metropolis does seem scary from above: an urban landscape that spreads for miles and miles, looking endless. But after landing, things feel quite different from the urban hell usually associated with this city. The first sight that impressed me was that there were people on the streets—walking around, doing errands on foot, and using public transportation. I was used to Porto Alegre, a place where cars dominate the streets and the pedestrian has become an exotic animal. The image on television of São Paulo is of a city filled with larger-than-life traffic jams and pollution—maybe that was the reason I felt shocked to see people walking at night, returning home from bars and parties in the wee hours on foot. And, even though it was known for its crime rates, the city felt safe. In Porto Alegre, nobody walks at night anymore, scared of mugging and armed robbery. I quickly found out, though, that this safe city bursting with life was not São Paulo, but middle-class São Paulo.
An aerial view of The Copan Building designed by the Brazilian Architect Oscar Niemeyer. The Copan is a 38 story residential building. (Joao Pina/Redux)
Unlike many other Brazilian cities, somehow a middle-class bubble has emerged in western São Paulo. This secluded and isolated portion is the city that everyone interested in art, culture, and gastronomy immediately falls in love with. If you have the time for it—that is, if you’re not a workaholic—there are things to do every night: on Monday, you can go to an ambient music festival; on Tuesday, to an exhibition of Andrei Tarkovsky’s Polaroids; on Wednesday, to a screening of the new Pen-Ek Ratanaruang movie. If you stay at home, you feel like you’re missing out.
But this part of São Paulo hides a much darker place. I believe that what best showcases the contrast that lies in the heart of the city is a huge neoclassical building called Sala São Paulo, a cultural center built in what used to be a historical train station. If you’re a classical-music enthusiast, there’s nothing quite like this place in Latin America, a beautiful temple to music with a lofty ceiling. You leave Sala São Paulo feeling like you’re walking on clouds—only to find yourself in the middle of “Cracolândia,” an area overtaken by the poor and drug addicted. It’s a grim vision of the underside of Third World capitalism, filled with dilapidated buildings and streets filled with trash. Take a wrong turn and you’ll witness a scene worthy of The Walking Dead—people wandering around aimlessly, like zombies, people whose lives were completely ruined by crack. The city government tried to remove these addicts by force, but it is pretty clear that repressive actions will never fix a problem so central to Brazilian urban life: the terrible, unequal distribution of wealth.
Visited any amazing places recently? The Daily Beast is calling on all globetrotting readers to inspire wanderlust and email us the coolest pictures they’ve taken on their travels.
Escaped the winter weather for a glorious beach this month? Embraced the snow and skied on a perfectly powdered mountain? Checked off an exotic item on your travel bucket list? The Daily Beast is calling on all its globetrotting readers to send the coolest photos from their recent travels. Using Instagram or old-fashioned digital photos, submit the best snapshots from your recent trips to email@example.com. Include your name, location, and one sentence describing what we’re seeing through your lens. The Daily Beast travel team will take a look and pick their favorites to run each week. Let the travel envy begin!
(Please note: sending us a photo is your way of telling us we have permission to run the photo on the site.)
Eriko Takahashi of Yokohama, Japan, snaps a photograph of the Brooklyn Bridge from the DUMBO section of the Brooklyn borough of New York, Thursday, July 15, 2010. (Kathy Willens/AP)
Designer says it's the "most safe cruise ship in the world."
We all know what happened the last time someone tried this, right? A "sequel" to the doomed 1912 ship, the Titanic, was announced on Tuesday, with its designer claiming that the Titanic II will be the "most safe cruise ship in the world." That apparently translates into having "more than enough" lifeboats (whereas the original Titanic had only 16) and a hull made from steel composite. Australian mining billionaire Clive Palmer, who masterminded the project, wisely refused to call it "unsinkable," however. The new ship will take pains to recreate details from the original ship, including splitting passengers into three classes and barring them from moving between classes. Passengers will also be provided with early 20th century-style clothes and undergarments. See video from the New York launch event (which, appropriately, kicked off with a rendition of Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On") below.
The warning signs before the triumph disaster.
On the afternoon of February 7, Matt and Melissa Crusan boarded the cruise ship the Carnival Triumph in the port of Galveston, Texas, wearing their vacation best. For weeks, the middle-aged couple had been looking forward to four leisurely days aboard the ship as it sailed south toward its destination of Cozumel, Mexico.
Arriving in Alabama, the ship looked like a floating refugee camp. (Dave Martin/AP)
Like a floating Las Vegas, the ship had a “Great Cities” theme, with a Paris dining room, a London ditto, a Rome lounge, and the Club Rio. A few days later, however, the impressive-looking vessel was gaining infamy as the “Floating Petri Dish” and the “Ship of Stools.” And the Crusans had become lead plaintiffs in a class-action suit over a weeklong ordeal that began in the pitch dark on Sunday morning February 10, when the ship’s crew and 4,200 passengers scrambled to the muster stations for life vests after a fire broke out in the machine room.
Matt, a retired Marine, describes those moments as “chaos.” However, it was what came after that is really burnished in his memory. While the crew was able to extinguish the fire without too much damage, the power, sewage, heating, and air-conditioning systems were no longer working, and the ship was adrift off the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in the Gulf of Mexico.
The city of Kipling's 'Kim.'
Lahore. If I toss up the word and close my eyes, it conjures up gardens and fragrances. Not only the formal Mughal gardens, with their obedient rows of fountains and cypresses, or the acreage of Lawrence Gardens, but the splendor of thousands of private houses with their riot of spring flowers. The winter and spring air are heady. They make the blood hum.
To belong to this Pakistani city of 11 million is to be steeped in its romance, to inhale with each breath an intensity of feeling that demands expression. It is a city of poets—and not just giants like Muhammad Iqbal or Faiz Ahmad Faiz. Given half a chance, the average Lahori will quote from an Urdu ghazal or from Bulleh Shah’s mystical Punjabi verse, and readily confess to writing poems. In the West, Lahore is most famously the city that inspired Kipling to write his novel Kim. An insomniac, Kipling explored the narrow lanes of the walled city, which forms the core of Lahore, and wrote about his observations.
The very spelling of this city causes one to indulge in linguistic antics. Lahore: the ancient whore, handmaiden of dimly remembered Hindu kings, courtesan of Mughal emperors, bedecked and bejeweled, savaged by marauding hordes, healed by the caressing hands of successive lovers, an attractive but aging concubine ready to bestow surprising delights on those who care to court her.
Booker Prize-shortlisted author Deborah Levy takes us on a tour of her literary London. From her cozy garden shed to the medical museum she revisits to why you can wear a bikini on the bus and no one cares, she explores her city with Henry Krempels.
Deborah Levy was born in apartheid South Africa. Her father—an academic and member of the ANC—was a political prisoner for four years, and it was following his release, when Levy was 9, that the family moved to England.
Levy trained as a playwright, writing frequently for the Royal Shakespeare Company, among others, but it was last year’s Man Booker nomination that has pushed her firmly into the spotlight. Her shortlisted novel, Swimming Home, follows a “philandering poet” as he takes a family holiday in the French Riviera. Things turn unsettling when a naked woman emerges from the villa’s swimming pool to a mixed reception.
Now her new collection of short stories, Black Vodka, is about to be released, and she finds herself again concerned with her two favorite topics, swimming and travel.
Before an emergency landing took the Dreamliner out of the sky, Boeing had been lobbying regulators to approve the plane for longer, riskier flights over open water. Clive Irving reports.
Two high-profile battery meltdowns have sparked a nightmare for Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, leaving the expensive fleet of next-generation jets grounded in the U.S. by order of the Federal Aviation Administration—and by its counterparts in Europe, Japan, India, and Chile.
A Boeing 787 takes off at Narita International Airport in Tokyo. (Itsuo Inouye/AP)
But just months before the incidents, Boeing was pressing the FAA to allow the plane to fly longer distances over water—routes in which the nearest airport in an emergency would be over five hours away.
The ability to travel these “long legs” is an essential part of the business model for the Dreamliner, but any new airplane must demonstrate a flawless safety record before it gets to fly such a route. Boeing, despite its use of relatively unproven technology in the new jet, appears to have been impatient to get such clearance, according to officials with knowledge of the certification process.
When airlines merge, who wins?
The mass cancellations of flights along the East Coast in the face of a ferocious blizzard earlier this month once again fixed travelers’ attentions on the chronic problems of airline customer service, and so it may not have been the best moment for American Airlines and US Airways to announce a merger, a move that will create the largest airline in the country—and possibly, the most-complained-about one.
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg, via Getty
News of the agreement to combine the two carriers into a single, $11 billion company, operating under the American Airlines name, raises the question: is bigger really better? American is set to emerge from bankruptcy protection soon, and executives at US Airways have been desperate to acquire another airline since they led tiny America West’s takeover of US Airways in 2005. What remains to be seen now is if the combination of the two legacy carriers will be a win for customers.
“The merger was inevitable,” says Timothy O’Neil-Dunne, an airline consultant and frequent traveler based in Redmond, Washington. “But it was not desired.” O’Neil-Dunne says that’s especially true for passengers, who can’t seem to answer the question: what’s in it for us?
Da Chen on a city of infatuation.
Shanghai is an enigma. It was wrapped in gaunt beauty in 1979, when I visited the magical metropolis by the sea. I was a scrawny and bigheaded village boy who had never been anywhere outside my southern village, and the city was a broken giant languishing in its tattered costume, the vestige of her distant colonial past. The Bund stood guard at her Huangpu post, vigilantly looking to the sea. Nanjing Road stretched tiredly, welcoming its multitude of untiring shoppers journeying from far and near to glimpse the city’s faded glory and lament its bygone glitter.
Shanghai: Magical metropolis by the sea. (Aly Song/Reuters)
For three unforgettable days, I wandered amid a maze of winding streets and narrow alleys, marveling at the exotic foreign architecture in the city’s French Concession. I dreamed my own dreams of the city’s old grandeur and relished the sensation of touching the sacred ground of this majestic Paris of Asia.
The wonderment of a fast city life overwhelmed me, a country boy. Crowds of people bicycling to work in the morning light reminded me of flocks of autumn geese flying in the sky. Neatly trimmed trees lining the streets and hidden behind tall buildings, temples, and pagodas seemed to yearn for the sun. Its citizens appeared undaunted by the city’s magnitude as they wound their way through the bazaar-filled cityscape. Yet the most lasting memory, by far, was catching the rare and forbidden glimpses of the shapely legs of city girls in short skirts on fast bikes. The city of Shanghai mystified me so.
He’s a photographer who was lucky to grow up during Australia’s surf revolution. The pioneer talks to Josh Dzieza about his new book.
Kara Cutruzzula combs the beaches—and blackjack tables—of Puerto Rico for the meaning of ‘vacation.’
In ‘Mapping Manhattan,’ explore the city via 75 New Yorkers’ personal geographies. By Allison McNearney.
Travel writer Sara Wheeler, famous for her stories of polar expeditions, returns home to her city: Bristol.
Need to plan your next grand adventure? From Burma to Cuba, 12 places to see this year. By Nina Strochlic.