From Uruguay I made my way up to Florianopolis and then towards Rio via Sãu Paulo.
It was another marathon 20 hour bus ride from Montevideo in Uruguay to Florianopolis. The views during the trip were spectacular and this part of Brazil is truly amazing. Florianopolis is a very interesting city. It lies half on the mainland and half on an island called Santa Catarina. The island is really beautiful and has literally hundreds of beaches.
On arrival at the bus terminal I finally managed to negotiate some lodging at a hostel. After much struggling with the crazy language that is Portuguese, I got on a bus and made it to the hostel in an area in the north of the island called Canasvieras. It was a very interesting hostel, and different from all those before – I was basically the only non-South American there. There were mostly Brazilians and Argentinians (Floripa is a favourite getaway for Argentines). It was very interesting and I got to practise my Spanish and try my hand at the ridiculously confusing Portuguese.
The beaches were really good and the first day I took a trip to Canasvieras beach. It was really a family beach – the water was calm and the sand was quite narrow. Here I got my first taste of the amazing sucos (fruit juices) made from the astonishing fruite they have in Brazil. Never have I seen such a variety and abundance of good fruit. I also tried a novelty on the beach. Mielies – or as others may say, corn on the cob. They have it boiling in wheelable trollies and then butter and salt it for you right there and then and then serve it in the skins – really nice.
After meeting some people in the hostel, we went to try some new beaches the next day. We went to Praia (beach) Brava. This was a good beach – the water was great (the waves were excellent) and the beach itself was really enjoyable.
The next day it as off to Praia Ingleses. This was quite a dull beach and the water was just too calm to enjoy.
On the fourth day it was off to Praia Mole. This was a great beach. The currents were really strong after a day of rain and I had a good time swimming, until I was struggling to fight the tide back in to shore. But, after all that great Camps Bay swimming coaching, I managed to pull myself back with some fearsome freestyle – worthy of olympic gold!
That night we decided to see what the nightlife had to offer! There was a party to be had in the vicinity of Jurere. We decided to haggle with an informal taxi driver and managed to bargain a good rate to the location. After he was stopped twice by the police and managed to get off with a bribe, we made our way there. He dropped us off in the town and we had absolutely no idea where the place was. After the most exhausing 1.5 hour walk through Brailian swamps we ended up at a place that was holding the party only to find out that the cover charge was a whopping 15 Reals, which we decided was too much. So, after not even setting foot in the party, we manage to catch a genuine taxi back to Canasvieras and headed straight to bed!
The next day I decided we would move to the other hostel in the centre of town to catch a bus the next day to São Paulo. I had to pass time till the bus shopping and watching movies. I watched Alexander – it was pretty bad! It was a 10 hour ride to Sãu Paulo and on arrival seeing one of the biggest cities in the world was very interesting.
Without wasting time and paranoid about being robbed I made my way to the metro and to Liberdade. The area with the biggest Japanese population outside of Japan and, of course, Japanese cuisine – the main reason for my trip to this apparently otherwise boring city.
So, I made it to Liberdade and unfortunately I arrived too early to experience some Japanese culture that morning. After an hour or so of walking around I managed to find a farily decent, if not too cheap, hotel. I checked in, and through the window of my room, I noticed that the shop across the road was just opening. It was time for breakfast. They were still packing out the days goods and never before had I seen so much sushi! All pre-packaged, there was raw fish of all different kinds. It was great. But, I felt that sushi for breakfast was a bit crazy, so, instead I had some stir-fry! haha! It was great.
I had a couple of hours kip before heading off to do some shopping! Found a really nice Japanese-style shopping centre with stuff that you would expect from the east. Electronics, cellphone accessories, food, and video games. And, to my delight, on the top floor there was a per-kilo Japanese restaurant, of course with sushi! I dug in and thoroughly enjoyed it!
Later I went out to explore this massive city, but it was all quiet (the next week I would find out that it was a public holiday! haha!). Then came the rain – a deluge to compete with Moses’ great flood! So, there was nothing more to do than buy some dodgy CD’s and go back to the hotel, after purchasing the very necessary umbrella!
Later, of course was supper time and even better this time, I found all-you-can-eat Japanese food, and of course sushi was the order of the day, accompanied by some great grilled meat and some excellent fruit juice and vegetables.
Well, that sums up my time in Sãu Paulo. And, yes, from the start it was all about the food! 🙂