I’m going to apologise in advance for the long post here. It’s been a busy week (and a bit). We’ve gone from paradise island to natural wonder to bustling city, covered thousands of kilometres in the process and it’s been something of an adventure, both for us and our Lego selves, who you can see standing in front of the Iguazu Falls.
When we last left you we were in Boipeba, a paradise island in Bahia state. We had to drag ourselves away, especially since we were faced with roughly 24 hours on the road to get to Iguazu Falls. We took a boat from the island to the mainland and met a kindly Paulistano who was heading in our direction and kindly offered us a lift, sparing us two taxis and a bus, not to mention a few quid. The only downside of this was that it meant we arrived at the airport a full 11 [not a typo: ELEVEN] hours early. We watched a fair whack of TV, did a decent bit of work on the sketchy-as wifi and had the obligatory squabble induced by lack of sleep and boredom.
Anyway, by the time the sun came up we had arrived at Iguazu Falls, the airport, not the waterfalls, absolutely knackered. The next morning held the exciting prospect of the falls themselves, so we killed the rest of the day by eating and monging out, a wonderful concoction. Our hostel had a pool which was a lovely treat. The following day at the falls was absolutely amazing, one of the most incredible things either of us have ever seen. The sheer size and power of the waterfalls was an awesome sight to behold, and even surrounded by thousands of like-minded tourists it was still a brilliant sensation to be stood in the spray in the middle of the Iguazu River.
Following Foz do Iguacu was Florianopolis, the little matter of a 15 hour bus ride away. We were expecting to be thoroughly miserable for the duration but actually the bus turned out to be really comfortable (a common theme with Brazilian buses) and it wasn’t too much of a chore. Florianopolis, or Floripa as the locals call it, was a cracking city. We split our time there between two different parts of the city, one night in an old fishing village and two in the more energetic centre. Our night in the fishing village turned out to be anything but quiet. While we were looking for a restaurant (Trip Advisor failed us) we were invited to join a barbecue outside a pub. Wary, we asked in pathetic Portuguese how much it would cost us, to which we received a friendly reply in English: “Nothing!” We simply popped into the supermarket next door, bought two enormous steaks for a few quid, then grilled them while the beer flowed freely. Our new Floripan friend, Diego, was kind enough to show us his favourite beach and buy us beers while we watched the village practise for Carnaval. It was loud, chaotic and brilliant fun. At one point he turned to us, and explained that he was sometimes concerned that Brazilians don’t always appear overly welcoming to tourists, and that if he ever visited our country, he’d hope people would make him feel at home. We’ve actually found Brazilians to generally be very friendly people, but after the fifth free beer was forced upon us, we decided we liked them very much indeed.
The next morning, with slightly sore heads, we took an Uber (seriously, a godsend in this country) to our second place in the city. We spent the next two days shopping in markets, sandboarding with limited success (honestly, it gets everywhere), walking in baking heat because we couldn’t figure out the buses and generally just having a very nice time. The best thing? Insanely cheap oysters. Being the travel wankers we are, rather than (sensibly) sit at a restaurant and have 12 fresh oysters served to us for a measly BR$35 (£9) we went to the fish market, bought 19 oysters for BR$15 and bought our very own oyster shucker for BR$35 – we had left ours at home, because we are uncouth. The fact that we actually spent more, and the fact that we will most likely never use the damn thing again, were momentarily forgotten in our seafood-fuelled delirium. Never mind.
Read Part II here.