The contrast of this place now that the sun has finally come out to stay cannot be understated. We went from experiencing a literal ghost town to being bombarded by families and their over pampered handbag dogs running around on our otherwise tranquil beach. It’s not that I have anything against native Brazilians who have come to enjoy their day at the beach, but being around a concentration of yap yap dogs and screaming children whilst I am trying to enter into a zen-like state is not my idea of a fun (or relaxing) day out.
But really I haven’t much to complain about. These days we are arising when our body clock tells us that it’s time to, making the short walk to the kitchen blurry eyed to have a simple but tasty breakfast of granola with fruit, yoghurt and acai whilst watching the unfolding Trump Impeachment drama’s for our daily dose of laughter, working for a few hours in the local supermarket cafe, our favourite place to work because the air con works properly, the ladies who work there are always very nice to us, they do great coffee and the toilets are always very clean and smell nice, before going off to the beach for the rest of the afternoon. So, not bad at all really!
Finding decent coffee is a little more challenging then one would expect in a coffee growing nation such as Brazil. Alas, they had clearly farmed out all of their good stuff to the Americans and Europeans as there were hardly any good coffee places around. Clearly, to the Brazilians, coffee drinking culture is more of a European thing.
The gardens that our apartment overlooks, and that we have the pleasure to use whilst we’re staying here, is like a tropical paradise. Whoever designed it clearly had an eye for garden design as aside from the pool (which is plastic and therefore not in the least bit appealing) it is truly lovely. Featuring a large grassy area with stone steps leading down to our private and discreet entrance to the beach, the exotic trees, plants and flowers that decorate it are colourful and abundant. A covered terrace made from bamboo wood houses a lovely outdoor sitting area amidst the trees and a jacuzzi bathtub. From the terrace you are able to watch the people go by on the beach which is a mere few steps away whilst being totally unseen by them: Genius.
These past weeks we have seen a steady stream of people in the apartment block come and go (all Brazilian) but now it seems they have all gone again.
Apart from this one family..
Despite the apartments being small (ours isn’t the smallest I know but it’s small nontheless and I don’t think that the others are much bigger), people have actually brought their bloody dogs with them and kept them cooped up in the heat in their small apartment allday long. No wonder they have been barking their heads off and thus spoiling our #luxurynap.
But this family have gone one step further. They have brought 2 children with them. One about 5 years old and the other just a baby, the 5 year old is out of control. He doesn’t seem to have been taught the life skill of keeping his voice down yet, nor does he realise (I’m guessing because his parents have neglected to inform him), that this garden does not belong to him. The garden, and in particular the jacuzzi, which Josh and I like to use in the evening after an exhausting 😉 day at the beach, most certainly does not belong to him and he should therefore not hog it for the entire day.
It’s not that I have any intention of lazing about in the jacuzzi allday and it’s far too hot to sit in during the day when we’re in 30 degree heat but in the early evening, after we have done a bit of work, had lunch and gone to the beach for a couple of hours to top up our tans we like to pick up a few cans of beer (Bohemia beer usually because I like the name :), as the sun is going down we like to go into the Jacuzzi for a daily debrief and a #relaxavous. And despite it being large enough to perhaps host around 4 people without it getting a bit too close for comfort we do not like to go in there when other sweaty bodies are stretching themselves out in it and most definitely not with screaming children who are likely to be splashing about like they are in their bubble bath at bedtime: No thank you!
This family of four had literally been in the garden allday long. We know this because we were in the “Sal De Fiesta” working whilst they were going from the jacuzzi to the pool and back again the entire time that we were there. The annoying child was splashing about, yelling and screaming, and the parents were jumping and/or diving into the pool and playing their very uninspiring music whilst there were at it. Infact the only innocent party was the one family member that I would have expected to hear more from: the baby, who didn’t make a peep. It was quite painful it has to be said.
Why they felt the need to stay holed up in the garden allday long is beyond me. There is a whole island to explore! (unless if like us you were working which they were not). Anyway, I didn’t have anything against them using the facilities that they, like ourselves, had paid for and of course we were getting the enjoyment of using it for the whole 6 weeks we were staying here but when we returned from our beach trip later on that day these people were still at it, still in the area, still hogging the garden (the little boy’s toy’s and clothes were sprawled everywhere), and they were still as loud as could be.
Well, I thought to myself, at least the jacuzzi is free…
We were not going to have this family spoiling our evening routine with their very predictable and extremely dull holiday activities. We put our belongings down and in we went into the awaiting jacuzzi. The jacuzzi temperature was controlled by a gauge on the side and as I like it very hot I set about adjusting it accordingly. But no sooner had we settled down to finally enjoy some peace and quiet in the jacuzzi tub do I see this bloody little boy careening around the corner shouting out the words “Jacuzzi!” back at his trailing mother as if he really had the audacity to think that the jacuzzi was available for his family (and therefore him) to use whenever he wanted it! Well you can imagine that the boy got the shock of his life when he saw that Josh and I were sitting in it. I pointedly ignored him, pretending that I never heard him say a thing and willing him to dare try and come in whilst we were in there. He did not.
Needless to say after a few minutes of them trying to wait it out hoping that we would leave soon so that this little boy could get his hearts desire (the whole family even splashed about in the cold pool for a bit trying to pretend that that was what they were really interested in), but eventually they gave up. Good riddance.
We saw that piglet/hog/weasle/rat thing again..oh, and the gigantic iguana’s who appear to live in our garden. But still no creepy crawlies. Of course I’m not trying to will them to appear, I’m just a little shocked is all. No mosquitoes (well very few in any case), hardly any cockroaches at all (including in our apartment thank goodness), no gecko’s (remember that horrible #geckoinvasion we had in Thailand?), no, not even spiders or flies. Hardly any creatures at all! This is a luxury that simply cannot be understated.
However we have seen a few interesting looking (dead) sea creatures wash up on the beach, such as a swordfish (or something very similar), a giant turtle with his head in the sand (very upsetting to see), a puffa fish and huge grouper fish. Along with the very many beautiful birds I have seen here I have literally never seen any of these sea creatures in the wild anywhere else before. It’s pretty cool. Not that they were dead though, that’s not cool.
Rather then travelling to other beaches much further away, and especially after the ordeal at Joaquina Beach which was far too packed for either of our liking, we have been staying much closer to home this week. During the weekend Jurere Beach was quite busy (though nowhere near like Joaquina Beach was and Jurere is far smaller), but now that the week has rolled around it has emptied out again and now there’s just the occasional dog walker, a few couples and even fewer families. Since Josh found that utterly perfect spot set back from the beach but with a gentle sea breeze and magnificent view we have had the whole area pretty much to ourselves so we have gone back to the exact same place each time. It is utterly wonderful. Aside from someone bringing me the occasional cold drink (we bring our own but in the heat it can get a little lukewarm), or a hot TASTY meal we have hardly known such simple and indulgent pleasure!
On another, slightly more superficial note: my tan, which I have been cultivating with pride these past weeks has finally reached an impressive level, and even my face which is usually stupidly lighter then the rest of my body has evened out and joined the rest of my body in dark brown loveliness. Also my weight, which over the year ballooned suddenly after years of staying the same without fluctuation, has been lost. I’m pretty chuffed I have to say!
Not satisfied with making all of their prior followers lives a misery, JW.ORG aka The Jehovah’s Witnesses have set themselves up in Brazil of all places and are doing pretty well from what I can see with JW.ORG premises all over the island and lots of “pioneers” standing to attention on the street corners (and outside the Supermarket that we go to work in), promoting their #fakenews religious wares. They have been instructed by “the governing body” (a real institution), not to approach people as such but to make their presence known in the hope that someone (anyone!) will approach them interested in hearing about their religion. Personally though I am amused to see them standing around in 30 degree heat with nothing to do (as I never seen anyone approaching them), but I also just find it a bloody terrible waste of time.
I mean can you imagine what all of these religious people could get done in their lifetimes not to mention all of the money that goes to line the pockets of their corrupt religious leaders if everyone just cut the crap and started using their brains, hearts and hands to actually solve the various crisis of humanity rather then standing on the roadside, knocking on doors or praying to an invisible deity that nobody has even seen much less heard from? If the Bible or any other “holy” book proves the existence of a creator then Harry Potter proves the existence of Gandalf. Sound far fetched? – Exactly! Honestly, it really boggles the mind why people continue to waste their time on this nonsense.
I am getting used to the toilet usage here in Brazil, much to my dismay. Basically, you cannot flush toilet tissue down the loo so it means that all of your “spoils” must be disposed of in the bins provided. This is pretty easy to remember when all you have is wee, not so easy when it’s “other things” and women have other other things which aren’t so pleasant to see a momento of.
We went to Lucila’s Bistro today. You know, that place with the lovely pastries that is clean and well designed and very popular that has multiple restaurants in town but that when we went to it we were given undercooked seabass? Yes, that one. Well, we decided to give them another shot seeing as when we went in their to work we saw that their buffet lunch looked okay. Actually it looked pretty good.
Yes, I DO hate buffets but we’re fast running out of food options here. I can’t eat a cheese and ham croissant everyday for goodness sake.
So we decided that after working for a couple of hours in the Supermarket Cafe we’d go there for lunch and see what the fuss was all about. As previously mentioned the movements of these people is a bit of a mystery. Sometimes we see them en masse and other times they are nowhere to be seen but it has to be said that everytime we have walked past Lucila’s Bistro that was the one place where we always saw them en masse, and they looked like they were enjoying the food very much indeed. How buffets tend to work here is that they give you a card, you fill your plate with whatever you want to eat and then they weigh it for you, adding the balance to your card. It’s pretty simple really and the food as suspected (because if i’m ever in doubt as to whether food will be a let down or not I can usually tell just by looking at it), was really good. I had Moqueca, my Brazilian friends will be very happy with me for this as Moqueca is a traditional Brazilian fish stew made with white fish, onions, tomatoes and coconut milk. And it’s really good! I also had chickpea curry, a quiche, carbonara and some vegetables. All delicious. Josh had a lasagne and some other things which he also said was really good. So now that we have officially taste tested their lunch menu they will be seeing us again! So far Lucila’s Bistro has been without a doubt the nicest food we’ve had for lunch since we arrived. It only took us 4 weeks to find out! LOL.
We also found another decent restaurant, as you will remember me saying, here they only seem to offer a limited set of cuisines: buffet, beef, bbq, seafood and italian, there’s not much else on offer and if there is it should probably be viewed suspiciously. The restaurant was called Forneria Paulistana, a pizzeria which we couldn’t find at first and actually ended up walking into a creperie but not the one that Josh kept on trying to go to, and once we’d established that we were in the wrong restaurant walked promptly out again. The waiter didn’t seem to be too happy, lol. But once we’d found the italian restaurant we were glad to have walked out of the creperie and gone there instead as the place had been designed tastefully with high ceilings with wooden beams, a warm and cosy atmosphere, friendly staff and open kitchens. They only served pizza’s which was cool only we could hardly understand what all of the toppings were as it was all written in Portuguese. In the end we ordered a pizza with 3 toppings to share (which was pretty big) and we also had some starters, Josh had some bruschetta which basically looked like a pizza and tasted like cheese on toast with tomato on top, and I had a Caprese Salad. Both were really good so we have put them on the “Good” list along with Lucila’s.
So so far we have:
Lucila’s Bistro (lunch)
And I can now also add Paty’s Garden to the “Good” list as we went there and the food was nicely cooked. Josh had a steak (they didn’t ask him how it should be cooked but it looked like they cooked it medium-rare anyway), and I had a shrimp linguini which was fresh and tasty. For dessert we both had flambayed banana’s which had been slightly burnt to give it texture and flavour. It was served with ice cream and was the perfect ending to a very good food day!
And believe it or not I even have a third entry into the Very Good restaurant division: Bettina Bub. Another French inspired restaurant like Jay’s (but with a silly name), we went there after reading some complimentary reviews online (and by studying the accompanying pictures to be certain). Unlike the other restaurants around town, Bettina Bub (and Paty’s too as it was actually located on the groundfloor of Paty’s guesthouse), whom we met whilst we were dining and who was very friendly, was situated in an intimate garden with it’s dining area in a big greenhouse surrounded by beautiful trees, flowers and decorated with twinkling fairy lights and candles throughout.
The atmosphere was very romantic; the decor original, the food very good and the service excellent. It was definitely somewhere that we would be more then happy to return to. So this week I’m delighted to say, we have done pretty well in the food department! 🙂
US politics are far more entertaining then British politics (mainly because of Tramp Trump it has to be said), and thus we have been tuning in to regularly to watch the impeachment hearing as it unfolds aswell as watching more TV hosts then I can count roast him to within an inch of his miserable orange life. Alas it looks like this Christmas will be a Brexmas Christmas back in the UK and I can’t tell you how relieved I am to not have any part of it. Here in Brazil, they celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve but it doesn’t appear to be that big of a deal here. I’ve seen a few decorations here and there but nothing over the top and tacky and certainly nothing like we have back in the UK along with Brexmas to make us all want to wish we had never bothered with this bloody Brexit nonsense to start with!
We had driven past this area on our way to Campeche and Joaquina beaches and liked it’s laid back surfer vibe plus we could see that it had lots of restaurants and cafes for us to check out so since the weather was going to be overcast allday we decided to take the opportunity to go there for the day. After our disappointing experience at Joaquina Beach, where every woman, man, child and his dog on the entire island decided to turn up on the same day as us despite there being another 41 beaches to explore, I had decided that I wasn’t going to chance it travelling to any of the popular beaches on the island on a weekend again. Unlike other people (the majority of whom were locals), we had the luxury of going to the beaches whenever we felt like it. We had a whole 6 weeks to explore and we weren’t confined by work or taking children to school, which meant that we had the ultimate flexibility really.
It was such a windy day that I was very relieved to have worn jeans instead of my usual shorts and vest or dress. Being a beach town there were lots of surf inspired shops and bikini (or biquini as the Brazilians spell it!) shops too which was exactly what I was looking for. Finally, after all of these weeks was I going to finally get my desired Brazilian Biquini?
After eating an overly salty Green Thai Curry (something that I’d been craving since I’d arrived, dreams of Thailand), we checked out a few of the biquini shops but I was finding it hard to describe to them what I was looking for since I didn’t know the words in Portuguese or even in English, so had resorted to doing sign language to no avail.
We went to a cafe for coffee and decided to try out Tapioca Pancakes for the first time. I’d heard about Tapioca Pancakes before from Josh’s friends wife who was Brazilian but I’d never had them before so I was excited to finally get to try. White, more harder and grittier then a traditional pancake and much less sweet, you could either order them with a sweet or savoury filling. We ordered them with chocolate and banana and it was really good! I would definitely have them again. Infact just writing about them makes me want to have one right now!
After coffee we perused a few more shops until we came upon one called with the name Bali, and since Bali has a special place in our hearts we thought that we should definitely check it out. A few seconds after we went inside a shop assistant approached me asking me my name (in Portuguese of course). This was becoming more awkward for me as it seemed the Brazilians loved to talk and would try and engage you in conversation whenever they could (particularly when you went into their shop). They obviously assumed that I was Brazilian too but I couldn’t understand a word they were saying so naturally could not respond back to them, all I could say was that I was British and only knew a few Portuguese words and then they would look embarrassed and either try and converse with me in English or walk away if they couldn’t.
I recognised the phrase for “What is your name?” (just about!) and answered her, but after that I couldn’t converse with her anymore as her English was limited and my Portuguese was almost nonexistent. Suddenly an older lady appeared who was obviously the shop keeper and she began talking to us in English asking us where we were staying, how long we were in Brazil for? etc. Her English was really good and we soon found out that she had been taking lessons since her daughter lived in Australia and she had an Australian grandchild who didn’t speak any Portuguese so she would be unable to communicate with her if she didn’t speak and understand English.
The lady looked to be in her 60’s yet she seemed to have an even better command of English then even this younger woman who we could tell was dying to converse with us but didn’t yet have to skills too, she just stood there obviously enjoying listening to the conversation going on between Josh and I and this woman. They were both really friendly, and after we told her about visiting Joaquina Beach the older woman told us that her daughter ran a surf school there where she taught people how to surf. She said that if we were around for a bit longer then we should definitely check her daughters surf school out, as she also offered private lessons (in English!). After a few more minutes of conversation between which she confirmed that Portuguese was a hard language to learn, she said that Trancoso in Bahia (our next stop) was a beautiful part of Brazil. She also warned us that it got very hot in Bahia! Apparently, we had come to Florianopolis at a good time, whilst it was still relatively quiet and the weather was hot yet mild. She admitted that for some reason the whole of Brazil tended to holiday at exactly the same time and over December/January so it got really busy, far too busy for her (and therefore probably our) tastes.
Finally, I found a biquini shop! It was just a small shack like shop really but I could clearly see from the window that there were lots and lots of biquini’s, in different styles and colours and most of them had the Brazilian shape that I was looking for. I went inside and thankfully the male shop keeper spoke English because I really didn’t want to have to do hand gestures to describe to him what I was looking for! After no more then a few minutes I found one that I liked – a simple navy blue design with the important out and out backside feature.
I was determined to become a fully fledged member of the Brazilian community on this trip. Now I just need to conjure up the bravery to wear the bloody thing! LOL