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São Paulo

Brightly costumed dancers on display during São Paulo's Carnival. (©Jefferson Pancieri - SPTuris) Brightly costumed dancers on display during São Paulo's Carnival. (©Jefferson Pancieri - SPTuris)
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    Hostage released at the Trumbull County Jail

    Hostage released at the Trumbull County Jail

    A five hour hostage situation at the Trumbull County jail ended with the safe release of a corrections guard taken hostage by 3 inmates.
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    A five hour hostage situation at the Trumbull County jail ended with the safe release of a corrections guard taken hostage by 3 inmates.
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  • Ohio women held captive seek Joan Rivers' apology

    Ohio women held captive seek Joan Rivers' apology

    (AP) - Attorneys for two women held in a Cleveland home and abused for a decade say Joan Rivers should apologize for comparing living in her daughter's guest room with the captivity they experienced. Rivers and her daughter were discussing their reality show Tuesday on NBC's "Today" show when she complained about her living arrangements, saying, "Those women in the basement in Cleveland had more space." A Wednesday statement from attorneys for Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus calls Ri...More >>
    (AP) - Attorneys for two women held in a Cleveland home and abused for a decade say Joan Rivers should apologize for comparing living in her daughter's guest room with the captivity they experienced. Rivers and her daughter were discussing their reality show Tuesday on NBC's "Today" show when she complained about her living arrangements, saying, "Those women in the basement in Cleveland had more space." A Wednesday statement from attorneys for Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus calls Ri...More >>
  • 2 school stabbing victims released from hospitals

    2 school stabbing victims released from hospitals

    (AP) - Two students injured in a stabbing and slashing rampage at a western Pennsylvania high school have been released from the hospital. Forbes Regional Hospital in Monroeville said a 16-year-old student was discharged Wednesday evening. The hospital has two students remaining, one in fair condition and one in critical condition. Seventeen-year-old Jared Boger was released Wednesday afternoon from UPMC Presbyterian hospital, according to family members. Doctors had said Bo...More >>
    (AP) - Two students injured in a stabbing and slashing rampage at a western Pennsylvania high school have been released from the hospital. Forbes Regional Hospital in Monroeville said a 16-year-old student was discharged Wednesday evening. The hospital has two students remaining, one in fair condition and one in critical condition. Seventeen-year-old Jared Boger was released Wednesday afternoon from UPMC Presbyterian hospital, according to family members. Doctors had said Bo...More >>

Look out the window as your plane descends to São Paulo's airport, and you'll see nothing but high-rises as far as the eye can see. It's a truly awesome sight.

Now the largest metropolis in South America -- and, with 17 million people spread over 3,000 square miles, the third-largest city in the world -- São Paulo nevertheless sprang from humble beginnings. In 1554, Jesuit priests founded a mission on a small hill, strategically close to the River Tietê. The mission developed into a small trading post and then, in the 17th and early 18th century, into a jumping-off point for Bandeirante expeditions traveling into the interior. In 1711 the little market town was incorporated as the city of São Paulo. The seeds of its future prosperity showed up just 12 years later with the arrival of the first coffee plants in Brazil.

The climate and soil surrounding São Paulo turned out to be perfect for coffee. With the arrival of the railway in 1867, large-scale cultivation exploded. São Paulo became one of the largest coffee exporters in the world.

When slavery was abolished in Brazil in 1888, coffee growers started looking towards immigrant labor. Italians and Japanese, and later, eastern Europeans, Spanish, Portuguese, and Germans, made the trek to São Paulo. To this day São Paulo remains the most culturally diverse city in Brazil.

In the mid-1950s São Paulo surpassed Rio in population and kept growing. Foreign investment by car companies such as Ford, GM, and Volkswagen transformed the city into South America's largest car manufacturer.

Unfortunately, little foresight and only rudimentary planning were devoted to the growth of the city. So while wages are the highest in the country, São Paulo's traffic regularly snarls into nearly endless traffic jams.

Prospective visitors often hear of this chaos and shy away from Brazil's big city, which is a shame. Visitors to São Paulo get all the benefits of a sophisticated, cosmopolitan city -- they can eat at the finest restaurants in Brazil, shop at boutiques that even New York doesn't have, browse high-end art galleries, check out top-name Brazilian bands most any night of the week, and take advantage of one of Brazil's most dynamic nightlife scenes to party until the wee-est of hours. They can do all this, without ever experiencing the big drawback to this city, which is traffic.

The challenge to living in São is the commute. Visitors get a free pass. Stay in the Jardins, Higienópolis, or Centro, and all the sights and shops and galleries and restaurants are within easy reach. The word commute need never enter your consciousness.

Best of all, time in São Paulo is a chance to get to know that sub-species of Brazilian known as the Paulista. They're proud of their work ethic and their "un-Brazilian" efficiency. Lacking beaches and mountains, Paulistas have devoted themselves entirely to urban pursuits. They dominate Brazilian politics. They run Brazilian business. Dining out is an almost religious observance. And in São Paulo, the music and nightlife never end.

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