Beaches, BBQ's and Bikini's

Trip Start Dec 29, 2009
Trip End Dec 24, 2010

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Flag of Brazil  , State of Santa Catarina,
Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Helllooooo my family friends and blog stalkers!!!

Doing another travel day (ie waiting for 10 hours for a 16 hour bus to then get a 5 hour bus etc,,,) so its high time i told you about FLORIANOPOLIS...
As named by the locals (like us haha) Floripa is the first place we have been where I actually wasn't ready to leave. We arrived off the bus from Uruguay a little sleepy but already excited to get to a beach again. We were having withdrawals from the sea after only 20 hours!

As you can see from the map on this page florianopolis is a big island off mainland Brazil however the great thing about it is that it is joined to the mainland by a faily famous bridge so our bus was able to drop us right into the town centre (no boat or ferry required). We had been told by fellow travellers that the other side of the island (ie opposite to the town side) was by far more beautiful and that if we could get in, the Backpacker Sharehouse on Barra de Lagoa (see map pin) was the best place to stay

We did get in, and they were right. It is by far and away the best hostel we have stayed in (we are up to a grand total of 9 hostels so Im beginning to think we can offer opinions on these matters!)

We got a taxi from the bus terminal to Barra de Lagoa and we dropped off in a cul de sac parking lot... at one end of the lot was the beach, around the left side was some small shops (including an ice cream buffet place which we went to immediately), on the right side was a sand soccor field complete with tiered seating and screaming fans, and at the back was a cute little bridge crossing a river. All we could hear was blasting reggae music and some people hgad opened their car boot, were having caprinhas and dancing like crazy to the music coming from the subwoofers in the backseat of some 1970s kombi van. pretty much sets the scene for the rest of the week. Over that bridge we could see our hostel so we loaded up the purple people eater backpack and off we went. 

The hostel has beautiful views over the beach and the river and big clean spacious rooms (well, the one we stayed in was!) with a sea breezes all night. only slight problem was the previously mentioned screaming fans on the soccor field as there games started at 1am and finish at 4. easily fixed by many caprinhas. cant hear anything after those things! It is owned by a family and run by the daughter, Tish, and her brother runs the sister hostel called Backpacker sunset which we were glad we hadnt stayed at as some reviews had said it was the better of the two as it was newer... however, the week we were there 30 aussies from sydney had arranged to meet up in floripa on the back of their seperate trips in smaller groups, and had booked out the entire hostel give or take 5 or 6 poor souls who didnt know what hit them.  it was a bit of a reunion and word on the backpacker grape vine (its very fast and efficient) was that they caused alot of trouble and were very much happy to talk amongst themselves and ignore the other guests which didnt create a nice atmosphere... plus, you dont come all the way from australia to only meet australians! so we were very relieved and glad to be in the sharehouse with people from all over... kiwis, swedes, english, germans, serbians, japanese, aussies... and our hostel had a great communal atmosphere. This was helped by two things:
1. free caprinhas every night from 7.30pm for half an hour... which of course means the entire hostel is back from their daily activities promptly at 7pm to be showered and dressed for happy hour! amazing how on time people are for these things!
2. they put on a cheap dinner every night at around 8 or 9.. which were SO YUMMY... usually brazillian bbq, rice, pasta and salad, buffet style, all you can eat for about $10 everyone would head down for free drinks, then have more drinks after happy hour while waiting for dinner, then continue with drinks after dinner before heading out.... so from 7.30 - 10 ish the whole hostel was always in the bar and kitchen which meant you met all the new guests every night and played cards or just chatted with everyone so we met loads of really nice interesting people. of course always a few weirdos... i had an asian guy who was on the top bunk of the bed next to me (i was also on the top bunk) and one night i woke up, turned over sleepily and he was STARING straight into my eyes. super freaky. i spent the rest of the week sleeping facing the other way which was quite annoying as im a face-the-left on the side sleeper. grrrr. needless to say i did a happy dance when he left

So what did we get up to on floripa?? (besides drink as i know i've mentioned caprioskas a few times now).. welll... errrm... ahhh.. just kidding!
we would wake up to make sure we had breakfast (finished at very reasonable hour of 11am) and very groggily inhale coffee before anything happened. then we would go and explore the beaches around the lagoa. there is a main beach which the hostel looks over and we went down there a few times as it has loads of beach front kiosks and things for lunch, surfboards and things for hire.. yes we went surfing again! we were a little scarred though as a professional dude literally dropped in on ems wave and of course fellow professional surfers would know that is very poor surfing etiquette. we had some amazing lunches of fresh fish, potatos, rice and salad but our budget brains kicked in and so we had only had two of those (even though only $15 each).. they had those portable carts selling tropical fruit juices going up and down the beach and corn on the cob was a big lunch favourite. another beach we went to was about a 5 minute walk from the hostel but on the other side of the river and that beach was gorgeous,  so peaceful and quiet, only a few locals and a guy selling coconut milk, and the crowds and tourists just werent there so that was definately a favourite. one thing that must be mentioned was our trip to the day club, P12.... its a big pool party in the ritzy end of the island, about an hour away from our hostel. its like the IVY but bigger, better, cheaper and ritzier. quite funny as all the brazillian girls walk around in thongs and massive platform heels in makeup and just pose on there lounges... contrast the aussie girls in havianas, in the pool alllllllll day, zero makeup, wet hair and running around like loonies. It started raining so everyone ran under cover and all of a sudden em and i decided it would be a fantastic idea to get into the pool in the rain... we ran out and jumped in and all of a sudden the whole place was in the pool... except the brazillian girls who could not BELIEVE we would do that! the 30 aussies from the other hostel where there and the girls belle zoe and nic etc were there too and we had a massive day in the sun.. definately a must on the floripa to do list for future reference people!

in the afternoons we would hire an umbrella after lunch and siesta or read on the beach, we are getting quite brown so we dont really need to tan all day and the sun gets reallllllly strong. we had one crap weather day and a few crap weather nights but it didnt matter as the bad day was our first day so we went into town, bought some teennny tiny bikinis (have to blend in with locals) and got money out etc as barra de lagoa has no atms. on the rainy nights it was easy as per previously mentioned communal hostel means that everyone would just sit around and play cards. we had a karaoke night one night which ended up being hilarious. we had settled into a quiet evening as it was australia day the next day, em and i got a bottle of red and some cup a noodles (dinner was cancelled due to preperations for australia day) and we continued our ongoing game of gin rummy (yes jacquie and kate, 14 card boris version! am now a pro!) soon the owners dad decided to come down and get karaoke started (apparently he insists on doing it everrryyyy sunday) and soon some weird spanish music was on and he was -esting and amore-ing away. super cute. the karaoke machine was on of those really dodgy ones with just pictures of flowers and random bridges and people making out no matter what the actual song is.
anyway a few glasses (cough) of vino later and em and i were up singing "like a virgin". it was sooo much fun but man do i feel sorry for our audience. i think it got so bad that at one stage someone just changed the song!! unsuprising. buckeridges arent really known for musical talent (but wowweeee looks and brains in the family are unbeatable! hahahaha). later on, even worse, was that one of the bar tenders challenged me to a duet. of... thriller. unbelievable. photo evidence coming shortly but we got a huge clap. im sure it was because of the coordinated matching dance moves over the singing!!!!

the next day was AUSTRALIA DAY. two of the bar tenders at the hostel are australian and the hostel was awesome and made a big deal of it. a few days before a few posters came up on how to translate an aussie sheilas vocabulary eg
"bloody oath!" = Yes you are correct
"On ya luv" = well done you!
"grouse lippy!" = that lipstick looks lovely on you
"your round mate" = if you dont buy me a beer you may end up dead


very funny

anyway they had posters up everywhere and on the day-of we excitedly ran down to breakfast. they told us the plan - they had setup a tent down on the beach (the quiet secluded one previously mentioned) and had beers and mixers down there.. we'd all go down at 11am and then come back at 4pm for a bbq and to play the triple j top 100 Aussie songs of the year! As expected we had an awesome day. we had spread the word around some other aussies we had met on our travels who were in floripa and they came from all over the island to sunbake and be merry.   all the other nationalities from the hostel and others too came down just to enjoy... it was more like a beach party with aussie flags everywhere! one of the bar tenders donated me his aussie flag sarong which i did not take off allll day it was great. thanks to rita khan em had an aussie flag in her bag... stay tuned for 100s of photos of everyone holding it! The hostel let everyone come back for the bbq (as no one from other hostels is usually allowed in this was really nice) and we danced and carried on like idiots and had celebrated in style. to get everyone out the hostel provided a free bus for the guys from the other hostels which was both smart and super nice as it got everyone out promptly at twelve without any issues (backpackers dont refuse free anythings!)
all in all, as you can tell as i think im bordering on gushing, we loved florianopolis and hopefully you can see why we didnt want to leave! we made some great friends, some of whom we will hopefully see again. it was good timing we left though as alot of people had planned to leave the day after australia day so it would have seemed quite different with a whole new group of people in there!

And so after a day of pottering around we boarded our bus to Iguacu..... 
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