Brazilian Math

Trip Start Dec 15, 2010
Trip End Jan 12, 2011

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Flag of Brazil  , Santa Catarina,
Monday, December 20, 2010

The cost of things here in Brazil defies all logic - clothing is super-expensive, with Europeans claiming that things are cheaper back home. Miguel from Portugal told me that Osklen, a Brazilian chain selling designer beach and casual wear, recently opened and subsequently closed a branch in Lisbon, because it was simply too expensive. $150-200 for a pair of casual canvas shoes? Who could afford that in Brazil? Even Solange told me that a shirt from Europe that would cost 40 Reais could sometimes be double that in Brazil.

Another quirk of Brazilian math - I had a lunch buffet at Curitiba's municipal market - all you can eat except for the meats, from which you were allowed to choose three items. The stews, salads, pastas, side dishes, and desserts were unlimited. Great value at 10.50 Reais, especially since most of it was pretty tasty - but then I ordered a fresh pineapple juice, which was 5.50 Reais. How does that work? The breakfast back at the hotel was 7 Reais and for that you only got bread, pastries, some fruit, and coffee. But of course, it included fruit juice, so maybe 5.50 of the 7 Reais was to cover that? The relative scale of costs here seems to be out of whack, especially in relation to local salaries in bigger cities like Sao Paulo.

Not much time to do anything in Curitiba before leaving for Florianopolis (Floripa), not that there was much to do in this town, anyway. It's a long 5 hour bus ride to Floripa from here, so the all you can eat buffet was the perfect activity beforehand - nothing like a food-induced coma to make a long bus ride feel only like minutes!

Upon arrival in Floripa, it was a hell of a ride from there to Lago de Conceicao, which is quite a bit farther away than I expected - it ended up being nearly a one-hour bus ride because of traffic, with a further local bus ride to Tucano House, home for the next few days. A massive hostel, it seems like a fun place to rest your weary bones.

Funny - ended up meeting another Miguel, a Spanish engineer from Bilbao who was now living in Michigan. Of course, the conversation turned to the Spanish senoritas, with me lamenting about how difficult it was to get a Spanish wife. He concurred, saying that he had the same problem. Sigh ...

Miguel had some crazy travel stories ... of how one time he was walking along in Colombia and a drug dealer approached him and asked if he wanted to buy anything. Mere seconds after politely declining and walking away, he turned around to hear the dealer mumbling something and loading bullets into a gun. Needless to say, Miguel ran the hell out of there pretty quickly.

He also had a story from Krakow - walking home drunk one night, he was approached by a Polish girl, with whom he chatted with for a few minutes. As he left her behind and rounded a corner, somebody grabbed him from behind and started choking him. Out of nowhere, Miguel surprises himself by pulling out some judo-type throw despite never having any previous training, tossing the guy forward over his shoulder, and then kicked him in the head and ran off. I guess anything is possible when the adrenaline is pumping ...

But the most interesting story of the night was when we all went out for a drink to celebrate the birthday of a girl that was staying at Tucano House. It was a bit of a sausage fest at the hostel, and there weren't too many girls out tonight - so three or four guys ended up fighting over dances with the birthday girl. One guy complained when another guy took her on the dance floor, claiming some type of ownership over the poor girl, and then a subsequent guy tried to grab her away from the second guy mid-dance. Too funny!
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