Published: April 21st 2006March 22nd 2006
If anyone wants me to bring back some chicken, let me know. The big story here is that a few Eastern European and Middle Eastern Countries cut off imports of chicken from Brazil using bird flu as a pretext (despite there being no bird flu in Brazil). Most of the chicken in Brazil is raised in the state of Florianopolis, so the supermarkets are overstocked and sellling packs of chicken with Arabic writing for about US$0.25 a pound.
I am also taking orders for Viagra and Cialis, which are sold in big display cases by the checkouts in pharmacies. No prescription needed. What Am I Doing?
Who am I kidding? The weather is pretty nasty today, and I already used up two rainy days exploring the center of the city. So, I am catching up on things at the internet cafe and writing what will probably be my last entry from Florianopolis.
My second week in Florianopolis I began taking private Portuguese lessons in the afternoon. The lessons were okay, but I decided not to continue for a couple reasons. First, at about $17.50 an hour, they are pretty expensive. Second, because I have classes that focus on
grammer in the morning, at this point I need more practice listening and talking, and I can do that without paying for classes. Finally, and most importantly, going to private classes meant missing the beach. I probably didn´t make it clear in the last entry that it takes awhile to get to our house from the beach: by car or taxi, probably only about fifteen minutes. By bus it is closer to an hour after walking to the stop and waiting. The sun goes down at about 6:30 (Floripa is on the eastern end of the time zone), so as afternoon classes get out at 4:00, there just isn´t time to do both.
Luckily, the Portugues is coming along great. In two and a half weeks I speak and understand Portuguese as well as I did Spanish after six months or so in Chile. The Spanish helps considerably, but I am also finding Portuguese a much simpler language then Spanish. The ways sentences are constructed in Portuguese, especially in Brazil, is much more similar to English then Spanish is. The pronounciation is difficult at first, but gets easier each day. More About Florianopolis
The island could be divded
into four parts: the centro (western center of the island), the Lagoa de Conceciao (eastern center of the island), the southern beaches, and the northern beaches. I tried to indicate what part of the island each of my pictures are from. Santa Monica, where I am living, is between the centro and the Lagoa de Conceciao. The centro is pretty similar to the business area of a small to mid-sized city in Latin America.
During the first week I took off after class to visit the beaches surrounding the Lagoa de Conceciao area. Lagoa de Conceciao is a lake in the middle of the island. There are houses around the lake, and a town on the southern edge that has some nice restaurants and bars. On the eastern edge of the island near the Lagoa are Joaquina and Praia Mole, the two best beaches for surfing.
The secod week I didn´t get a chance to see much of anything, but on the weekend one of my Portuguese teachers brought me and my two housemates to the south of the island. The southern beaches are less developed and harder to access then the beaches in the center and northern
parts of the island.
This week I am trying to visit the north of the island. The northern beaches are heavily developed and packed, at least in the summer. Canasvieras is the largest of the beaches, and the preferred beach for all the Argentine tourists. Jurure Internacional is the trendiest of the beaches, and has a very nice open air shopping mall and million dollar homes. Right now, they are all empty, and it is actually quite enjoyable to go to Jurere and sit in a cafe on the beach and read. Overall Thoughts About Floripa
Today is the 22nd, and I have ten days left in Floripa. If I hadn´t already made my reservations, I would probably leave at the end of this week and go to Belo Horizonte. Four weeks is too long to be a tourist, but not long enough to feel like you really are part of a place, especially considering it took me a week or so to be able to understand and communicate in Portuguese. My host family is very nice, but it is also a bad idea for any language school to put three North Americans in the same house,
as they wind up speaking English the whole time (this is way I have been taking off on my own).
Floripa would be a nice place to live, although it lacks the warmth and passion of most of the rest of Brazil. It is also a nice place to go for a vacation if you are looking for beach and a good place to party, but it is off-season now, the Argentines are gone, the clubs are emptier every weekend, and I have already hit most of the island.
In a couple months I will kill to be able to spend a week and a half relaxing on a beach anywhere, let alone Brazil. So, I with that in mind, for these final ten days I will just enjoy the tranquility of it all, learn some more Portuguese, drink a few more Caparinhas, and take in the very bearable lightness of being here in Brazil.
There are more photos below