Buenos Aires to Florianopolis
10.05.2009 27 °C
I think I may have finally wondered off the map and into paradise. I´m in Florianopolis. I´ve come here by mistake, but it´s one of the greatest mistakes I´ve ever made.
MY BRAZILIAN BUS EPIC
My passport wasn´t ready in time to jump on the magical mystery tour to Peru, but it was just in time to board a bus to Porto Alegre, Brazil, my intended next destination. I´d heard mixed things about Porto Alegre, one of the most important cities in Southern Brazil, but I was curious enough to want to check it out. I also figured it would be a convenient point in Brazil to stop and decide whether to travel further north next or head back down south and into Uruguay. I braced myself for a gruelling 20 hours bus ride. Little did I know. The view from the bus was constantly amazing and surprising: gorgeous forests, vast lakes, tropical trees. You don´t see all this when you travel by plane. Can I be blamed for slipping into a daydream? Somehow I just wasn´t paying attention when we stopped at Porto Alegre. It seemed to me sometime later that it was taking longer than expected. I asked a Peruvian woman sitting nearby ´When do we arrive at Porto Alegre?´ ´Porto Alegre? We passed it three hours ago!´ Whoops. She and a couple of other fellow passengers were very nice and helpful in communicating to the driver what had happened (I´ve only just started learning Portuguese, though the similarities with Spanish are very helpful). When we next stopped for lunch I was told I could jump on the next bus back to Porto at no extra charge. As we ate a Brazilian guy told me that the next stop was Florianopolis. I wasn´t entirely ignorant of Florianopolis. I´d heard a bunch of Australian surfer dudes I met at my Spanish classes raving about it. In fact I had the name of a hostel in my notebook, just in case. ´So which is nicer? Porto Alegre or Florianopolis?´ ´Oh Florianopolis. It´s like comparing Paris to Brussells.´ ´Hmmm...do you think the driver would let me stay on the bus if I payed the difference?´ ´I don´t know. I can help you ask if you like.´ And so I stayed on the bus for the small fee of fourty Reils, about twelve pounds. The other passengers were quite amused by this directionless gringo and were nattering to me all the way there. I was already beginning to realise just how warm and friendly the Brazilian people are. Finally, with an optimistic sense of adventure, I set foot in Florianopolis. It was mixed with a certain ammount of nervous exhaustion too. I´d travelled 750 miles in 28 hours.
I began my stay at the hostel in my notebook, the Backpackers Sharehouse in Barra Delagoa, near some of the major beaches. It was mostly filled with surfer dudes and party animals, which was fun for a couple of nights. But it was quite far from the town centre. There were some people there who had been in Florianopolis for a couple of weeks and they hadn´t ventured any further than the end of the beach outside or bothered to learn a word of Portuguese. This morning I decided to jump ship and head to a hostel I´d heard recommended in the centre of town, Tucano House. It´s rated as the 2nd best hostel in South America by the Guardian. The Guardian usually seem to know what they´re talking about (The Lonely Planet by the way often doesn´t!) I definitely made the right decision. The staff and the people here are lovely and chilled out and the amenities are spot on. They organise walks and tours and are generally more proactive than the Sharehouse. I can´t wait to explore more. I´ll definitely have some more spectacular photos for you soon.
I´m not going to be too pro-active. Florianopolis is a great place to chill out and absorb thew wonderful atmosphere and I intend to do as little as possible today and possibly tomorrow. Also, its one of the safest cities in Brazil so I don´t have to be quite as paranoid. I don´t know how long I´ll be here, or what´s up next. Meh. I´m in no hurry to leave that´s for sure. Aaaaah. Where´s my caiparanha?