My very best Brazilian culture exchange @ Florianópolis

Thanks to Kelly, who had insisted that I shold visit Brazil, I finally stepped into this amazing country. My initial plan was to visit her for a week. When I booked the flight, I had to transit either at Rio or São Paulo. At first I thought I could stop by São Paulo and meet Juliana but I changed my mind when I compared Rio and São Paulo. Rio appeared to be a MUST-go-attraction! Also thanks to Kelly, who suggested that I should definitely stay a few nights there and explore the City of God. Rio turned out to be one of my favourite places to live in!

5 November 2011, Saturday

I came back from Lapa Street Party at about 4am, slept for 2 hours, woke up and started packing. The taxi was coming at 7.15am. I managed to go to the bank to withdraw more money and bought myself a hotdog sandwich around the corner. Before I left, two Koreans came in to ask for a place to stay. “Anyonghaseyo”, one of them greeted me. I guess many do mistaken me as either Japanese or Korean. It had happened a lot and I am already used to it. I replied “Anyonghaseyo” and the guy behind started talking in Korean. I told him I am not a Korean so he spoke in English. They were apparently on business trip and had been staying in São Paulo for one month. The same guy who was talking to me asked if I knew any hostels nearby. I asked a map from the receptionist and passed it to them. I did not have a long chat with them as my taxi arrived. I still remember him saying that I was brave to travel Brazil on my own! Haha, felt totally proud of myself! I left after wishing them luck with hostel hunting. It was not even summer but accommodation in Rio seemed to be fully booked whole year round.

The R$45 taxi fare to the airport was reasonable. I reached the departure hall way earlier than expected. I was flying with TAM and passengers were required to check in an hour ealier for domestic flight. I thought I could put on my MP3, then I realised my batteries were running out. I could not sleep as I did not want to lose anything. I was so glad when I could finally check in. I slept most of the time in the plane and only woke up once to eat, was really hungry though!

Kelly was already waiting at the arrival hall when I reached. Gosh, she lost so much weight!! I was really excited to see her again. We had lunch (yes, local food!!), left my luggages at her place and headed out sightseeing at Florianópolis with Amilton. He drove us around the whole island. The scenery was awesome but as usual, I fell asleep easily in a car. We first stopped at Campeche, a beach located south of the island. Although we were both wearing our bikinis underneath, we did not even spend a long time there as it was so windy and cold. We headed to Morro das Pedras, not exactly by the sea but was looking down the beach from the hill. I took a few pictures and we continued our journey to Lagoa do Peri, a very tranquil lake surrounded by BBQ places and a playground. We sat down and enjoyed watching families sunbathing and kids playing in the water. The next stop was Lagoa da Conceição, beautiful town. We walked around a small park and there were a few stalls selling earrings, crafts…etc. The best part was to drink lemon sugar cane, gosh, tasted so good! On the way back, we drove by Mirante da Lagoa da Conceição.


Morro das Pedras

Lagoa do Peri

Mirante da Lagoa da Conceição

We stopped by Kelly’s parents’ house for tea break, or maybe more like dinner as we did not have anything else after that. She has two cute chiwawas! I am not a huge fan of this breed (makes me think of Paris Hilton) but her dogs are adorable!!! Her parents are even more amazing. I did not understand much what they were talking but I enjoyed their company. There is a garden at the backyard where they grew their own vegetables and chickens!!

We left shortly after 8pm. I really thought I would go to bed after shower but as usual, internet addiction and I was stucked by the computer until past 11pm. We were going for a hike tomorrow so I figured that I should really get enough sleep.

6 November 2011, Sunday

We both overslept. Our plan was to leave at about 9am but we only woke up at about 9am. We quickly showered and had breakfast. Her friends, Bruno and Jason were already waiting for us when we picked them up. They suggested to go for a hike across a hill to the other side of the beach at Naufragados. Seriously, I don’t remember when I last hiked or climbed a mountain or whatsoever. I was hoping it would not be too tough. We drove for about 2 hours, passed by Ribeirão da Ilha, a peaceful village famous with Portuguese colourful houses and oysterculture. The hike across the hill was really good. It was quite warm but as the air is not as humid as it is in Malaysia, I did not sweat a lot. I was surprised to find out that the stream water was safe to drink. I would never imagine drinking from the Sekayu stream!! I did not have a watch but I think we reached the beach after an hour hike or a little bit more. The beach was awesome and the weather was really good. The sun was shining hot but the sea water was kinda cold. We found ourselves a spot under the shade, placed a towel on the rock and sat down. Bruno was really friendly and he was an exchange to Egypt. Jason was funny too but he did not speak much English. It took us quite some time to get out of our clothes and get into the water. Seriously, it was not extrememly cold, still cannot compare to Malaysian water. I really miss Redang!! I have been to a few beaches, Redang is still my favourite. I should probably stop by Sipadan Island one day as I heard it is a paradise there too! We did not stay long in the water. We had some fries and drinks before hiking back to the car. It had started to rain a bit but we reached before the heavy downpour. We stopped at Ribeirão da Ilha to take some photos. I was almost sleeping on the way back. I was glad the guys were there to accompany Kelly. When we reached home, her parents were already there. We had some coffee and desserts. Kelly did manicure for me. It was my first time doing it and it was actually fun!! Love the polish shining on my tiny nails!

Later at night we went to Santo Antônio de Lisboa for dinner. The place was famous for its seafood, especially cheese oyster. The restaurant we wanted to go was closed so we went to another one at Sambaqui. I was already hungry when the food was served. Gosh, delicious!!! I had the second serving and I felt so full afterward. I went straight to bed after we reached home.

7 November 2011, Monday

We went to downtown by bus – Centro de Florianópolis. It was an interesting place. Unfortunately we did not stay long there as we had to rush back for lunch. I managed to buy some sourvenirs though. Lunch was so delicious. When I was on the tour in Rio, I met Danielle from Brazil but is staying in the States now. She said I must try Feijoada and when I was in Rio, I thought where the hell could I get that? I was out with only foreigners who definitely did not know where to get that food. It was really so kind of Kelly’s parents to cook that. I have to admit, I love it!!!

An hour after lunch, we drove to Projeto Tamar. We stopped at her university first. On the way to Projeto Tamar, we passed by two beaches – Joaquina and Barra da Lagoa. It is really good to stay in Brazil, surrounded by beaches. Projeto Tamar focused solely on turtle conservation, creating education awareness to the public. It was so good to see turtles again. I was so excited!! They have hawksbill, loggerhead and Olive-Ridley turtles there in tanks. Kelly did help to ask about work opportunities there. Unfortunately they only offer internships. Sometimes I really wonder how hard it is to get a job in conversation. I guess everyone started out working for free! Being able to work in the nature and contribute to a cause is satisfying!

Hawksbill turtle

Loggerhead turtle

Olive-Ridley turtle

Leatherback turtle

It was already almost 7pm when we reached home. I had dinner after 10pm, went online until about midnight. I managed to pack my luggage earlier. Funny was I left UK with 21kg, very confident that by the time I fly back to UK, I would definitely have less than 21kg but my luggage weighed almost 23kg when I checked in. Time really flew by so fast. I did not want to leave Brazil but I was already looking forward to go to Swiss!!! HOME SWEET HOME!

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