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The Urbanist’s São Paulo: Talking Points

Want to rile a Paulistano? Broach one of these hot topics.


Traffic Jams
In a city of roughly 11 million, traffic is a serious issue: Gridlock can stretch for 100 miles at a time. The answer for the one percent? Take a helicopter. For everyone else, the metro plans to expand another 30 or so miles. There’s also a multilane 110-mile loop around the city, estimated to be completed in the next several years—but by that point, traffic experts fear, there will be so many more drivers on the road that it’ll make little difference.

The Bieb in Brazil
Justin Bieber’s recent visit didn’t go exactly as planned. First, paparazzi reportedly caught him running out of a Rio brothel under a blanket. Then, he stormed offstage during a concert in São Paulo at the Arena Anhembi after being hit by a water bottle, never to return—for which he was heavily criticized in the local media.

Butt-Gate
The Miss Bumbum competition (yes, it’s what it sounds like), which turns winners into national celebrities, has been plagued by scandal. In 2012, the big news was that the two runners-up were caught kissing. This year, two contestants have been accused of bribing the judges with tens of thousands of dollars to enter the finals of the third annual event, which will be held in a São Paulo hotel later this month.

The World Cup
Brazilians love their futebol, but São Paulo residents are wary of this summer’s World Cup, objecting to the $13 billion price tag (and most of the stadiums are far from finished). With the cost of flights and hotels during the tournament much higher than normal, many fear price gouging will make a bad impression on visitors.


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