Paulistas call the elevated highway Minhocão ('earthworm' in Portuguese). The legendary earthworm-like creature supposedly created enormous trenches as it dug through soil and swallowed everything in its path. Indeed, Minhocão is a fitting nickname for the massive highway structure. Walking on top of it was rather peculiar. I couldn't help but feel a certain disconnectedness from the city around; it was calming and exciting at the same time.
São Paulo is one of the largest cities in the world, with a current population of over eleven million. It is incredibly diverse, lively, and chaotic. But like many rapidly growing cities today, it has been struggling to solve its transportation problems and expand the alarmingly insufficient public transportation system.
The controversial elevated highway, called Via Elevada Presidente Artur da Costa E Silva after Brazil's second president, was built in 1971 to solve the city's traffic problems. During its construction, entire neighborhoods were demolished to make way for the busy artery. However, since it was completed there have been talks about its demolition, due to the constant pollution and noise. As a compromise, since 1976 the highway has been closed off to motor vehicles on Sundays and holidays.
I was lucky to be in São Paulo on a Sunday.
Stream of conciousness: Minhocao - Haussmann in Paris... deluzian space... cars & pedestrians do not coexist they replace each other... speed... experiencing the city from within yet somehow detached as a kind of spectacle... city as a backdrop to all the activities happening on top of the asphalt... gypsy-heavy-metal band, marijuana stand, bikers, runners, strolling lovers... peering into people's bedrooms... graffiti...