12 comments on “Dazed and confused on the streets of London and São Paulo

  1. Cool reflection Sampa is a huge megalopolis and reminds me of the caotic sprawl of Mexico City.

    Andy does Sampa not have an AtoZ guide like London? Or does everyone just use a smartphone?

    • I know what you mean about the comparison about Mexico City – although Sampa is far more vertical I guess. I remember going onto the roof of the Cathedral in Mexico City’s main square and seeing the city stretching as far as the horizon. Was pretty breathtaking.

      I guess SP has an AtoZ but smartphones are so ubiquitous that I guess they’re pretty much obsolete these days. Apparently you can also call 156 to get further information on transport.

  2. Excellent article. What drives me crazy about Sao Paulo’s streets is that with the ones that are named after people, e.g., Av. Professor Fonseca Rodrigues, only one of the names will be displayed in large letters (in this example Fonseca.) And there’s no standard method as to which name is displayed — sometimes it’s the first name, sometimes the last name, sometimes one of the ones in the middle.

    • To be honest, street names have never bothered me that much (either in London or São Paulo) apart from the immediate necessity of finding an address or where I am. But, I think that’s probably because I’ve never driven so I usually navigate via mental maps – people often tell me the directions somewhere and I never have a clue what roads they are talking about because I don’t know their names, yet once explained I often absolutely know what they are talking about!

  3. Ok, we have signs , but I don’t rely on it… What’s the use of knowing the name of the streets if you don’t know anything yet? I mean, of course it’d help a little in case of being lost, but.. I still rather to use my smartphone to set up directions and save locations… It’s really helpful when you’re somewhere that you’ve never been before 🙂

    • Sure, having a smartphone basically does everything for you. However, it’s still nice knowing that whatever happens you’ll have a pretty good idea of where you are – especially, as you said, if you’ve never been to a particular place before.

  4. Wonderful article. On my visits to Sao Paulo I always get lost but I had never realised there was so much information on the street signs. I’ll use that to my advantage next time.

  5. Wow, Andy, I had never realized how wonderful our street signs are! And I believe this is standard for most major Brazilian cities (at least all I’ve visited, including my hometown in Santa Catarina state). Does London not count with such a system?

    What lacks here, though, is signs showing directions to places. Those aimed at drivers certainly do abound, but, more often than not, if you’re on foot, you’re a tremendous fool if you follow those directions. I mostly miss having signs showing the way to the nearest subway station. Those would definetely have to be aimed at pedestrians.

    But then again, this isn’t really a city made for us poor non-drivers.

    (By the way, maybe you’ve noticed/read/heard about it, but drivers don’t make up much more than 20% of commuters… still the city is designed for them in its utmost detail, or lack thereof…)


    Daniel Ávila

    • Yeah, once again the car driver is given priority, both on the road and with signs giving directions. However, it is quite nice just to be able to wander aimlessly and come across things randomly, although if you are in a rush and need to find somewhere you probably won’t be thinking that is cute!

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