It is impressive to see how busy Sao Paulo already was back in the 1920's.
We love to see how beautiful the architecture was and how dressed up Paulistas already were, hence the present formality in our way to dress in Sao Paulo today.
My grandma always told us how elegant people used to be in Sao Paulo when she was growing up, she thinks people dress up like crap nowadays and never wore a pair of jeans her entire life, she is as old school as you can be.
Bus drivers used to wear perfectly clean polished shoes, white gloves and every one wore nice hats. She also noted that everyone smelled nice in the bus, French colognes were not expensive and were readily available.
Women wore make up all the time and had impeccable hair and nails, many still do it today.
The first time my grandmother visited the US she got emotional when she found products she and her mother used to buy at a traditional department store downtown Sao Paulo called "Mappin Stores", it was a specific brand of make up, and a couple brands of perfume that were no longer found in Sao Paulo in the early 90's. Her experience stuck with me because she cried when she saw the packaging and smelled those products she hadn't seen in several decades and it reminded her of her childhood growing up in Sao Paulo.
Nowadays we go to the Mall, back in those days, my grandmother and her mother used to ride the bus all the way downtown Sao Paulo where the nice department stores were located.
Sao Paulo also had many other department stores such as "Dillard's" and "Sandiz" and they were mostly located inside Malls such as Iguatemi, Ibirapuera and Morumbi Mall.
She also tells me they went to Sears because they loved the smell of fresh roasted peanuts and cashew nuts, who knew that is what Sears was famous for in Sao Paulo! :)
|Shopping Paulista, former Sears Paulista near Paulista Avenue, Sao Paulo|
Most Sears in Sao Paulo were located in such gigantic multi level buildings, and when Sears went out of business in Sao Paulo in the early 90's, their buildings became Malls, Jardim Paulista and West Plaza are two good examples of former Sears turned into Malls.
|West Plaza Shopping, formerly Sears Lapa, the largest Sears in Sao Paulo|
In those days, Sao Paulo had HUGE cinemas that accommodated between 3000 and 6000 thousand people.
They were luxurious and everybody loved them. Sadly today, most of the traditional large cinemas in Sao Paulo slowly faded away in the 80's after a couple decades of porn movie exhibits and anonymous gay sex, and have finally become "evangelical churches", how appropriate!
Another Sao Paulo tradition of the early days, as described by my grandmother, was enjoying a cheeseburger with frech fries and a banana split before heading back to the suburbs on the bus driven by a driver with impeccable white gloves and a nice dark navy blue hat in an nice dark navy blue uniform.
This is some of the things people used to do in Sao Paulo before TV and facebook.
I was lucky because growing up in the 70's and 80's my grandma used to take us downtown Sao Paulo for a movie a cheeseburger and a banana split, my brother always had a hot dog and a sundae, yeah, he liked to be different that way.
I was born all crooked, and grandma was the designated person to take my brother and I downtown to the eye doctor, the same one my great grandmother knew, I know, he was very old, but he was the best.
She also took us to the dentist for braces and even the orthopedic specialist for specially made, super heavy orthopedic shoes, I told you I was born all crooked, it wasn't pretty, I was bully in school like nobody's business.
I have to say their efforts paid off, you couldn't tell today, I am almost all fixed up now , almost ;)
One memorable downtown afternoon with grandma was when she took us to the movies to watch "Superman", the 1978 version with Christopher Reeve, yep, I was already gay in those days trust me! :)
That special day was also the first time I realized I could order my banana split inside a half pineapple, and that was a life altering moment for that 7 year old boy from the suburbs who loved ice cream even more than Christopher Reeves, hey , I was already gay, but I was 7, give me a break, ice cream was an absolute priority.
|The George Cloney of the 70's, Christopher Reeves|
Mappin, originally known as "Mappin Stores" was the most popular and probably the most luxurious department store in Sao Paulo for a good part of the last century. Sears was also present in Sao Paulo with huge multi level stores but Sears was more of a suburban department store with huge parking lots far away from downtown while Mappin was the ultimate cosmopolitan experience downtown, with no parking available, you had to walk in the downtown streets where cars weren't allowed.
Here is a cool "Mappin commercial" I found from the late 70's or early 80's.
And here is the most popular "Mappin jingle" of all times, it was super catchy and anyone growing up in Sao Paulo in the 70's and 80's remembers it.
|"Mappin Stores" where my great-grandmother and my grandma bought make up and leather gloves|
Our last stop before heading to "Parque Dom Pedro", the largest metropolitan bus station in Sao Paulo, was at Lojas Americanas to buy candy by the weight, they gave us little plastic baskets that we could fill with our favorite assortment of candy and it was weighted at the end, we enjoyed all different sorts of delicious candy on the 40 minute bus drive back to our suburban corner of Sao Paulo.
|Parque Dom Pedro, downtown Sao Paulo|
|Parque Dom Pedro, the largest metropolitan bus station in Sao Paulo|