I think I last left off after Buenos Aires. I took the ferry/bus to Montevideo, Uruguay and spent two nights there. My hostel was super cute, I loved it! It was much smaller than usual which I liked. It was in an old house and there were only 9 bunk beds all together, in three separate rooms. My favourite part was the living room with a wood burning fireplace they kept going all the time! It was so cozy and warm and smelled great :). I didn't have much planned in Uruguay and the weather was really gross during my stay so I sat by the fire most of the time! The day after I arrived I did do a bit of a city tour on my own. They had a map with all the important things marked out for you so I just took the bus downtown and followed the map. It was a very cold and windy day and there was a possibility of rain but it was going to rain for sure the next day so I decided to brave the cold. However, I came to be a bit disappointed with it because it was Sunday and absolutely everything was closed! The positive was that not many people were out and about. Mostly I just saw some "important" buildings and a few nice plazas. There was supposed to be some cool craft and artist markets but they were closed as well. There was a public market open with everything for sale from gold fish and puppies to vegetables and cell phones (the pet thing was really weird because it was all outdoor and makeshift so it just looked like there were animals everywhere). I ended my little tour at Puerto Mercado, a little market by the port! It is mostly Parillas set up in an old warehouse. It looked very cool and it was packed inside! I walked around the bustling building for awhile and then picked a Parilla and had lunch. I tried to catch the bus back to my hostel but I only got part way before it started going the wrong way so I hopped off and walked the rest of the way. Unfortunately that was when it started hailing and I walked back in the hail and was glad to get back to the warm fireplace. The next day rained as promised so I didn't even leave the hostel. I just relaxed by the fire, it was quite nice. I caught my bus to Porto Alegre, Brazil that night and didn't realize until I got there that I forgot my towel!! Rats. But I had a lovely sleep on the bus, the trip went quickly! My hostel was 15 min walk from the bus station so I walked there and arrived at about 10 am. I was greeted by the front desk lady who spoke only Portuguese (the main language of Brazilians) so my English and my limited Spanish was useless... Something that I have come to get used to already. I was surprised but many Brazilians don't know English or even much Spanish. Thankfully there was another guest there who helped translate and his friend who was super crazy (I think he was probably high). He was super excited to hear I was from Canada and had to take like 10 pictures of me and then got a picture with me while he was holding my backpack cause he thought it was funny how big it was. It was an interesting welcome to brazil. It was nice that my hostel was by the bus station but it was far from downtown and, I found out later, in a really bad area of the city (actually on the known prostitute street). I was actually surprised to learn that because I didn't have any trouble with it besides it being far from downtown, and all the reviews online were really good. At my hostel was where I first met the true stereotypical gorgeous Brazilian girl. She was my roommate and very nice, and unbelievably gorgeous. But anyway I only had one day there so I settled in and decided to go downtown to see some sightseeing. I walked downtown, seeing some things along the way and then I decided to take the tourist bus around to the important sights. Porto Alegre is not a real big tourist spot so it was just a bunch of cool buildings again. There was probably some interesting things to learn but the commentary was in Portuguese so I couldn't tell you what they were. It was very cold and windy that day as well and I was on the open air second floor of the bus so I was absolutely freezing for the two hour ride and was so happy when we finished! Then I got some groceries where I stuck out like a sore thumb. First I didn't know you were supposed to weigh your veggies in the veggie aisle and put a sticker on them so when I went through the till the cashier had to get the bag boy to go get my stickers for me which took 5 mins but the line behind me was just getting longer and I felt bad. Then when I tried to pay with visa I was confused because it wasn't working and I didn't know why. I finally figured out she thought I wanted to pay with debit (in Brazil their debit and credit cards are in one and she kept choosing the debit option on the machine). Then I didn't know I was supposed to put in my pin because it said the price and then "sache" which apparently means pin but I didn't know that so I just kept clicking ok without putting it in... It was quite an ordeal but I did finally get through. I read about a cool pizza place in porto Alegre where they make frozen pizzas to take away so I went and bought one for that night. Unfortunately I didn't realize my hostel kitchen didn't have an oven... So I ended up cooking my frozen pizza in the frying pan with tinfoil over top. It actually worked pretty good! So that was Porto Alegre.
I took an early bus the next morning to Florianopolis which took about 12 hours when it should have taken like 6 because we stopped a lot and took a lot of 30 min breaks for the drivers which was very annoying. But when we finally got to Santa Catarina island, where florianopolis is located, I was so excited!! It was so gorgeous! Beautiful sunshine, beaches, little towns, green grass! But when I actually got to the city of Florianopolis it was raining and it rained straight through the night and all the next day! Depressing! But my hostel here is so great! A young brother and sister own it and it is in a little neighbourhood, kind of like its own town, on the edge of a lagoon (within the island). It used to be their home! It is cold because it is definitely a summer house. It is very open and there are no heaters or anything but it is a beautiful house. They make awesome and inexpensive dinners most nights for the guests and the included breakfast is awesome! I spent the whole first day there because of the rain but I had a good time. The first night I met two girls, Marie from France who is 21 and Helena who is an English teacher from Porto Alegre who is 33, but I had no idea! She could be 25. I went out for supper with them and then hung out with them the next day. Marie left that day so I've been hanging out with Helena but she just left this morning. After it stopped raining Helena and I went for a beer across the lagoon and watched the sunset! It is so beautiful here!! That night we had pizza made for us in the clay oven at the hostel. It was all you can eat and I ate a lot!! They made many different kinds including two dessert pizzas with chocolate and strawberries for the toppings! Delicious! That night we went out to a local pub to see a famous local band play. We got there at 11:15 ish and waited over an hour in the line (which actually moved fast but was 3 blocks long). The pub was really nice and the band was great, even though I didn't understand a word they were singing. I had a lot of fun and we stayed out until 5! The band didn't actually finish until 3 but then you have to pay for your drinks and cover on the way out so there was a huge line up to get back out of the pub. The next day I went to the beach with Adam and three people he is now traveling with. Adam (the one I said goodbye to in Argentina) just happened to be in Florianopolis again when I was and he stayed at my same hostel for a night as well! It was nice to see him again and we plan to meet up again in Paraty! It was a really windy day so we didn't stay long at the beach. We came back to the hostel and I laid out of the wind in the sun and it was very warm and nice! That night we had BBQ at the hostel and I went to bed early because I was exhausted from the night before! Today I had to do EWB stuff and then I attempted to make lunch. I was trying to make a quesadilla but I couldn't find any tortillas at the store so I got a pizza crust and was going to cut it in half so it was thinner and use that! Unfortunately it was super super dry so it just crumbled when I tried to cut it and was a big mess! Then I went back to the beach for awhile and am going out for supper with a new friend, Paula, because there is no hostel dinner tonight. Quick blog but not much has happened over the last week. I leave Florianopolis tomorrow and I don't want to go! It's so beautiful here, but I look forward to even warmer weather to come.