Hi guys, it´s been awhile so here´s the latest update from Brazil...
So, after leaving Rio I was lucky enough to meet some great guys on the minibus to Ilha Grande (four dutch guys and three swedish boys affectionately known as the tigers from Sweden!). It was quite an eventful journey - I was sitting at the back and suddenly heard a bang, looked behind me to see one of the suitcases from the roof-rack bouncing down the motorway! I shouted stop and there was a moment of panic and chaos as the driver slammed on the breaks and had to run down the road to retrieve the suitcase! We eventually made it to the port and got a boat over to Ilha Grande where there were 20 Brazilians (friends of Norma and Donato) waiting for me.
It was great to spend the weekend with Brazilians, picking up some Portuguese too - caraca!! We went on a boat trip to some beautiful beaches including Praica du Amor (the beach of love) where the sand is supposed to be an aphrodisiac! I did some snorkelling and kayaking (although getting in the bloody thing was a hilarious sight). Ate lots of fresh fish and I tried caldo verde, a green soup made from peas with potato and sausage in it. We also went to a club where they taught me lots of Brazilian dance moves including samba (too fast and difficult!), forro which means ´for all´ where you swap dance partners after each song (I didn´t really know what I was doing but got swung around the dance floor by a local Brazilian guy!) and baile funk which is all about shaking your booty!
My new Brazilian friends had to leave on the Sunday to go back to work but I met another Brazilian at my hostel called Midia. We went on a 3 hour trek through the forest (we even saw some monkeys) to get to a beautiful beach called Lopes Mendes whish is 4km of perfect white sand. Some parts were quite steep and at one viewpoint Midia climbed up a dusty rockface to get even higher. After getting up about half way, I slipped and slid down, ending up covered in orange dust and dirt (not a great look)! We passed through three smaller beaches including Las Palmas - turquoise water, golden sand and a peaceful pier (which became our catwalk and perfect location for a photo shoot!) Eventually we made it to Lopes Mendes and were very proud of ourselves because the dutch boys had tried it the day before and only made it as far as the first beach! Our reward was acai - a traditional snack in Brazil (acai, bananas and guarana syrup blended up and frozen like a slush puppy, then topped with granola). It looks like a brown mush but is delicious!
I didn´t want to leave island life but had to move on! Next stop was Paraty - a quaint town with many boats, cobbled streets, horse and carts, pretty buildings with colourful doors and frames, tiny shops, lots of bunting and some lovely churches. My hostel was great too and we had breakfast on the beach every day.
After only a couple of days in Paraty, I had to move on to Sao Paulo where Fernanda (a Brazilian friend from London) was waiting for me! It was so nice to see a familiar face and I spent nearly a week with her and her lovely family and friends in and around Sao Paulo. The first night we went to a great bar in Villa Magdelena (quite a posh area of Sao Paulo) where the waiters there make sure your glass is never empty! The next day me and eleven Brazilians drove a couple of hours away to Maresias to a beach house for the weekend. The weather was perfect, the caipirinhas were flowing and we had lots of fun! Back in Sao Paulo on the Sunday night, four of us decided to carry on the party and went to a club called Loca which lived up to its name in being a little crazy!
Over the next couple of days, Fernanda showed me around Sao Paulo. I can´t get over how big the city is. With around 20 million people living there, skyscrapers for miles and miles, traffic like I´ve never seen before and lots of pollution you can see why some tourists don´t get a great impression of Sao Paulo. However, I was lucky enough to see a different side and see a snippet of life with a local. Fernanda took me to the main market where I tried calabreza (Brazilian sausage), the hottest spicey sauce in Brazil (my tongue was hanging out my mouth for about 10 minutes after!) and countless fruit that I had never even seen or heard of! For lunch we had a mortadella sandwich which was more ham than bread and a traditional pastel de bacalao (filled with cod). We did some shopping including spending about an hour in a havaiana shop (I´m not going to say how many pairs of flip flops I bought!). We visited Avenida Paulista and also went up to the 41st floor of the Edificio Italia where there was an amazing view of the city - it is so huge you can´t even see the where the buildings end in the horizon. My time in Sao Pualo came to end on Wednesday when we dropped Fernanda to the airport to go back to London and I had a 12 hour overnight bus to Florianopolis.
I have been told by all the other Brazilians so far that Florianopolis is where all the beautiful people live! Let´s see if it lives up to its reputation...
Lots of love,