When it comes to services Brazil reminds me a lot of Romania, but it’s funnier because I don’t actually speak the language and I can’t ask for information. I was on the bus from Sao Paulo to Florianopolis and I asked the driver to let me know when we get to Florianopolis. He told me it was the end of the line so I didn’t have to worry about that. But after this he woke me up in a small station telling me we’ve reached Florianopolis. I saw a different name in the station, but I assumed it was the name of the terminal, not the name of the city. I only realized I was in Balneario Camboriu when I asked for directions to the Lagoon and they explained to me we were two hours away. These are things that could only happen to me. In the end I made the best of this situation because I didn’t have to pay for the ticket and I only waited for 2 hours for the next bus.
Another interesting thing happened while I was waiting: a police patrol with dogs were searching the terminal. I was afraid they were going to search me because I had the pepper spray with me and that’s illegal in Brazil. But the dog started running after a bus that had just entered the station and they searched all the luggage, not allowing anyone to leave the bus. There were many people around the bus, so many that I couldn’t see anything. They were literally running with their suitcases around just to get a glimpse of the scene. In the applause of the crowd the police arrested a guy that probably had a lot of drugs on him since the dog could feel the smell from so far away. It was an interesting episode to watch, I’ve never seen anything like this.
Finally I got to Florianopolis which is referred to as Paradise. I was skeptical about this commercial strategy, but when I got there I could understand the difference between this region and other areas in Brazil. People are very calm, the rhythm of the entire city is slow as a perpetual siesta and it has a good vibe. It is situated on the Santa Catarina island, but it also enclosures other small islands and a continental part. It’s no surprise that it’s called paradise if you think about the fact that it has 43 beaches!
It was difficult to walk around with my 30Kg backpack, but it was worth the trouble. I visited the old city, the central park and the old fish market. In the evening I took a bus to get to my host’s house. My Couchsurfing host lives close to Lagoa de Conceicao, a beautiful lagoon in the eastern part of the island. It’s a charming area with many restaurants and artizans’ fairs. We went for a walk in the evening and the next day I walked to Mole Beach and to Praia de Galheta. These beaches are quiet and charming. It reminded me a lot of a 20 year younger version of 2 Mai or Vama Veche.
I’m really glad I’ve made the decision to visit this city. I think I could live here although I don’t like beaches so much and I don’t enjoy small quiet cities. But the impression it made on me was so strong that I could get over these inconveniences. In the end, I have 40 more beaches to visit, so I have to get back here.