FINALLY WHAT YOU'VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR: Sao Paulo vs. Buenos Aires...a breakdown.

1. Women

Ahhh...the first question I always seem to get so we'll tackle this one first. This can be further broken down into many categories, so let's give it a shot:

a. Looks

The Brazilian ladies are certainly all that you ever imagined and more. The are more bottom heavy than top heavy...and I'd like to attest that there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. The girls here in BA will also blow you away with their amazing beauty. Everything you've ever heard is true...it's a paradise.

VERDICT: TIE

b. Attitude

While the girls in BA are certainly not hard to look at, they are far less "friendly" than those in SP...if you know what I mean.

VERDICT: BIG EDGE SP

c. Lets just call this one "category X"

At the risk of offending involved parties, I'll just say...no contest.

VERDICT: ENORMOUS EDGE SP

OVERALL VERDICT ON WOMEN: SP easily wins this category

2. Clubs

SP has an pleuthora of clubs and bars to choose from, any night of the week. There are clubs and bars for any and all tastes. As an added bonus, most of the places only charge a consumacao (drink minimum) rather than a true cover. You won't have trouble finding places to dance all night in SP...but they don't go strong into the daylight hours like they do in BA. Most clubs die around 5 or 6 as opposed to 8 or even later in BA. Despite this, I would put SP nightlife up against any city in the world.

BA does have a good scene and arriving at a club at 3:00a.m. is not uncommon. However, the nightlife here is pretty one dimensional. The major clubs play electronic music exclusively and they let them get far too packed. They are also quite discriminatory about who they let in. Going out in BA is good, but it will never, repeat, never compare to the eccletic mix and atomosphere of going out in SP

VERDICT: EDGE SP

3. The City

Although the sheer size of SP is enough to make you gasp, the city itself is a pretty big eyesore. Most buildings are designed with efficiency in mind and few are made to enhance the beauty of the city. Moema and nearby park Ibirapuera are pretty nice, along with a few other areas, but as a whole the city is pretty unkempt and ragged. Sidewalks exist but are often broken and uneven and the untrained walker might end up flat on his face. Besides that, they have an incomprehensible litter problem.

BA, on the other hand, is reknown for it's amazing architecture and it is indeed a beautiful city. You can hardly stop yourself from snapping away at many of the historical buildings and fountains that spread far and wide. You could easily pass a day walking around the city and being marvelled by the designs that surround you. Aesthetically, Buenos Aires does not dissappoint.

VERDICT: BIG EDGE BA

4. The Music

I fell in love with a lot of the music in Brazil...particularly the dance and rock music and what is known as MPB. To the outside world, Brazil is known for it's samba, but from a music standpoint, there is much more to the country than that.

In BA, the music scene is dominated by American music (there was also a lot of this in SP) but there are still some really good national rock groups. Argentina itself, in my opinion, lacks in musical personality and national artists are not publicized heavily. There are probably many great groups out there, but they get little exposure bars and clubs (because they only play electronic music).

VERDICT: BIG EDGE SP

5. Food

BA has some fantastic restaurants to eat in...but it will definitely cost you. The tenedor libres, or buffets, are excellent, especially when they have different sections that focus specifically on Pasta or Seafood, or what have you. The meat here is quite good too...but it can be a bit too fatty. Eating in cheaper places in BA is a crap shoot (no pun intended), so if you want the good stuff, stick to the high end places...but make sure you have time, because they are not in any hurry to serve you.

Eating in SP was always good, whether you want high end or not. You can get a good, square meal pretty quickly and it is more agreeable to the travelers budget. They could use a lesson in seasoning and spices, but over all, the food is great. Bonus points for the hotdogs, which are superior to those in BA in every way.

VERDICT: EDGE SP

6. The People

I could probably write 5000 words on this topic, but I'll tell you something that I think sums this up. In SP, if it is somebody's birthday in a restaurant and the table starts to sing, all the surrounding tables join in and sometimes the entire restaurant if it's a relatively small place. There is all this clapping and energy that goes into it that just makes you want to be a part of it. In BA, you wouldn't see that. People are too cool and want to maintain the image. It almost seems like the people AT the table with the person whose birthday it is don't want to sing. So that's the difference and what is missing in BA...They don't sing.

VERDICT: BIG EDGE SP

7. Public Transportation

Behind Curitiba, I'd say BA has the best public transit system of any city I've been in. The subway stretches throughout most of the city and when that fails you, the buses are there, easy to figure out, AND the best feature is that almost all of them run 24 hours. If you are in more of a hurry, taxis are plentiful and affordable. SP is the exact opposite in everyway...taxis are too expensive for the average person to use, many buses stop running at midnight, and the subway is virtually useless unless you are commuting to work. Not having a car in SP can be a nuisance, but in BA it's no problem.

VERDICT: BIG EDGE BA

FINAL VERDICT:

Both cities are great places, I cannot argue that. BA is definitely more user friendly and anyone coming to visit for a few weeks will love it. SP has all the intangibles though, and while I think it is a terrible place to visit...it is a FABULOUS place to live. In a head to head competition, SP definitely comes out on top.

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