Mr Brazil´s Fishballs

Trip Start Jan 24, 2009
Trip End Dec 08, 2009

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Where I stayed
Gustavo´s Pad

Flag of Brazil  , State of Sao Paulo,
Friday, November 27, 2009

We caught a bus directly from Paraty to Santos where we met up with Gustavo - the Brazilian we met in our walking group to Machu Pichu. He probably never expected to see us again but we decided to take him up on his offer and crash at his. 

What a fantastic pad! Situated along the beach front with views of the sea from the lounge window - had we done well or what?! Gustavo, being the perfect host, even offered us his bed but as we were on our hols and he had to get up for work every morning we insisted on sleeping on the rather natty rug in his living room.

First night in Santos, we hit Gustavo's local, Bar Toninho, hooked up with some of his friends and spent the evening eating fish balls - a delicacy in the bar - and consuming beer. In fact this became our local too and we ended up here 5 nights on the run!

On Saturday, Gustavo "located" 3 bikes and we rode along the beach towards a stunning beach on the far side of the port. After cycling all the way there, Jim suddenly realised bringing his swimming trunks along may have been a good idea since we were about to spend the afternoon on the beach...duhhhh! After seeing myself and Gustavo splashing about in the waves, he decided just to jump in the sea in his cotton boxers! Gustavo and his fellow countrymen on the beach were horrified - especially when he wandered back out with them hanging down around his knees. Brazilians are strict followers of fashion - especially on the beach, always wearing the latest trend and the stretched cotton boxer look is one that is never going to take off. Seeing him emerging from the surf clinging to his sodden boxers was one of the most disturbing experiences of the entire trip. Here's hoping that the trend is not repeated in Copacabana!

The following day we took a tour around Santos FC and the Pele museum with Gustavo and his good friend Daniella, who it has to be said had definitely caught Gustavo's eye! Jim contained himself to focusing on the football. He was in his absolute element - numerous old clips of Pele scoring goal upon goal.

Later that afternoon, we headed to the pub to watch the football. It was the penultimate weekend of the Brazilian championship and by the end of the games that day, four teams were in with a shot of taking the title. I think it was at this stage we decided we were going to beg, steal or borrow to get a ticket for the final Championship decider the following week in Rio.

That night, one of Gustavo's friends got us free entry into a play about one of the godfathers of Brazillian music. As you would probably expect in Santos, everything was in Portguese, we didn't understand a word of it but trust us - it was very, very good. Once again we found ourselves strangely drawn back to spending the evening drinking beer and eating fish balls in Bar Toninho - this time with the clarinet player from the play!

Although our plan was only to stay 2 or 3 nights, Gustavo made us feel so welcome that we decided to stay a total of 5 nights. Jim therefore ended up playing 90 minutes of football on the beach with a group of guys one night. The teams contained so many "fancy dans" in the style of Cristiano Ronaldo, with so many step overs that even Gustavo started using the phrase. Jim apparently had a clear chance at goal and even to this day, Gustavo cannot believe that he missed. Although playing on a beach in bare feet helped Jim achieve a long held ambition, he did pay for it. It took him nearly a week to recover from the experience - the pain in his legs and feet was so bad the following day, he thought he'd broken both feet! Old age my friend, old age.

All in all our stay in Santos was superb - very relaxing, and we were made to feel very welcome by a fantastic bloke. We have threatened Gustavo with a re-visit. We're planning on returning to Brazil in 2014 for the World Cup and staying until after the Olympics in 2016! See you then Gustavo!!!
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