Santos, Brazil: Pele, Coffee & Carnival

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February 18th 2015
Published: February 18th 2015
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Santos, Brazil: Pele, Coffee & Carnival

WOW another 2 days at sea and we sailed into the largest port in South America, Santos, Brazil, just as daylight was coming. This is a very busy port with 85%!o(MISSING)f the goods arriving and leaving Brazil coming through here. There are 8 miles of ports. One of the reasons for this is the proximity to Sao Paulo, the largest city in Brazil, which is about 45 minutes away, normally. However, it is still Carnival time so with all the extra people, it can take up to 3 hours for the trip. Our Cruise Director has announced many times that it is not prudent to try to go to Sao Paulo in one day and still make the re-boarding time at 4;30. We’ll see if anyone went anyway ;-)

We stayed close to home and toured Santos which is a fairly modern city of about 450,000 people. It reminds us very much of Puerto Rico. First, you need to know that the former soccer (futbol) star Pele, is from Santos and is like a saint here in Brazil. So, the first stop on our tour was, of course, the Santos Futbol Club which was Pele’s home field. The stadium museum was filled with innumerable trophies and photos of all the teams who won futbol championships throughout the years. Pele was hugely prominent in the success of this team from 1976 to 1984, scoring 1091 lifetime goals. Across town there is even a complete, modern museum dedicated completely to only Pele. It includes over 2300 items. Pele has been recognized worldwide as the greatest futbol player to have ever played. We also got to see the actual field where Pele played and across town, the Pele Soccer School for aspiring players.

As we crossed town we saw antique streetcars taking people here and there. We also passed the railway station which looks like it came straight from England. It is modeled after Victoria Station in London ;-) The trolley was passing the station just as we went by… looked like a scene right out of the early 1900’s. Our next stop was the Coffee Museum-coffee is a huge part of Brazil’s commerce, and particularly in Santos as most of the coffee grown in Brazil is shipped from here all over the world. The coffee museum building was originally built in the 1920’s as the coffee stock exchange where all of the coffee prices in Brazil were set for the market. The wood is jacaranda and many of the windows are stained glass by Calisto. As many of you know, the language of Brazil is Portuguese so all the signage in the coffee museum was in Portuguese; however, we were able to pick up a brochure in English which really helped. The displays were wonderful and really made you feel that you were transported back to when the slaves were working the coffee plantations and the “barons” were setting the prices. Later in the 1890’s, 900,000 Italians came to work the plantations.

Okay, the day is slipping by and we need to head to the Santos Aquarium located on the longest beachfront park in the world-almost 4 miles of clean, pristine beach, and a green park with trees and flowers all along the entire beach. The beach was jammed with beach vendors, tents, families playing, and lots of swimmers and sunbathers. Carnival is here! The big partying will start after dark and after we leave tonight. We will be gone long before the traffic and crowds become almost impenetrable. ;-) Pedro, our guide, was a nice young man, but really did not provide us with much information. When Cope asked him to talk about the people and economy, he told us that “Lots of products come through the port”….hummm…no kidding. Most of our Princess tour guides are great but Pedro was a man of few words.

Carnival celebrations in Brazil reach fever pitch late into the evenings and early mornings. In Santos, these celebrations are held on the beach and there are no parades. In contrast to Salvador several days ago where the celebrations are all in town and spread over large areas across the city with major parades. Here in Santos, since the beach front is so huge, instead of lining streets for parades, people (families-kids) come flocking to the beach with their chairs, blankets and coolers, to eat, dance, and party long into the night. The beach sites are beautifully decorated and it is very evident the party tonight is going to be a real event!!!

Okay, one more stop right on the beachfront. The Aquario de Santos… the Aquarium. Now to be perfectly honest, we were not really interested in seeing more fish. ;-) We have seen MANY aquariums around the world. But dutiful tour people that we are (LOL) we trek inside with the hoards of holiday visitors and see piranhas, beautiful orange Citrinelo and excited children ;-). It was definitely worth the time, but we are ready to head outside. We have been saved today as there has been a cloud cover which protected us from most of the tropical sun. The beautiful beach front is lined with luxury condos facing the beach. These high rises are separated from the beach by the beautiful long beachfront park. Our time at this stop is running out so we quickly head to the beach to pick up sand for our grandson’s collection.

Next, Rio de Janeiro and Fat Tuesday, the last day of Carnival!


Tot: 3.6s; Tpl: 0.054s; cc: 11; qc: 52; dbt: 0.047s; 3; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.4mb