The weather stayed cold and we kept riding through small mountains towards the coast. It was crucial to stop every half hour to drink some Mate to warm up our bodies and we nibbled on local salami every time my right hand wasn’t twisting the throttle. Brazilian salami is a bit different from Argentine or Italian salami. They don’t use garlic or peppercorn in the mix hence it’s milder. For the brine, they use their local wines and that tends to make it a bit sweeter too but they are delicious nevertheless.
Santa Catarina is a big state and is most famous for its beautiful sandy beaches and cooler climate compared to the rest of Brazil. Some of the best oysters and seafood comes out of its waters and when sunny (or when you have a sweater), it truly is a wonderful place. The weather started to warm up as we descended from 1100 meters to sea level and the sun came out for a minute or two. As we rolled into Florianópolis, it started to drizzle a bit so we stopped at a Subway sandwich shop (the first I’ve seen since leaving US) to use the internet to find a hostel. It turned out that they had no internet but we had a great time with the kids who worked there. Ordering a sandwich at Subway in English is a long process but doing it Portuguese is just pure comedy.
Finding a hostel in Florianópolis center turned out to be impossible and the rain made it even worse. Florianópolis is tourist destination and everything is priced as such. A run-down hostel was asking $25 a bed in a shared room and I wasn’t going to pay this kind of extortion. As we searched we got soaked and finally settled in a beautiful ocean view hotel for $55 including breakfast.
The next day the sun came out in full blaze and temperatures went up to high 70’s. For the first time we could appreciate the beautiful Brazil without shivering and being wet, and we decided to make the best of it. We went out hostel hunting and the prices started to go down and the scenery turned spectacular. We stopped at a seaside restaurant for lunch and we lucked out. After a few beers, I met a local named Clayton and we got to talk. He gave me the rundown on how to survive in the expensive city and told me about the house next-door which was owned by the restaurant owner. After a short talk with the owner we moved into our beach house, no more than fifty feet from the water and best of all, we got it for $15 a day. The house was fully furnished, with complete kitchen, shower, and it was at the end of the road.
The food at the restaurant was exquisite and I had the best seafood I had in a very long time. Live music every night on the beach and a roof over our heads was a nice retreat from the cold days of the week before. Florianópolis is a wonderful city and packed with warm and beautiful people. This is a place that I wouldn’t mind calling home.
Beach and good food out of the way, we had to start heading north but my motorcycle didn’t quite agree. We were ready to get on the road but the ignition switch wouldn’t turn and the bike was not going an inch without fixing the issue. In any other place, I would have been bummed but break-down in paradise is just an excuse to stay longer.
I got to work and removed the ignition switch and the steering lock and with my meager tools, performed the required surgery and fixed the broken lock. I won’t bore you with technical details but if you find yourself in this situation, I wrote a complete tutorial on it which you can find here.
Now that everything is fixed, we have no excuses and have to leave the paradise behind and head north. I’m very impressed with Brazil and can’t wait to explore more of it. Stay tuned.