It really has been an odd week. For starters, we’ve been airborne three times in one week! Well actually, it was three times for Vivian and just twice for me. How’s that possible? More on that a little later.
We arrived in Florianópolis with feelings that I would describe as indifferent. Neither good nor bad. Very unlike me when visiting a new place. Reaching an island like this, an island that many Brazilians themselves would love to visit, should evoke bundles of excitement. Instead weather on arrival and indeed the subsequent forecast suggested it would be pitiful for our stay and it pretty much was. You see, people come to ‘Floripa’ to enjoy the beaches and we ended up visiting ZERO. An embarrassing statistic.
Consequently we stayed in the centre and enjoyed very few actual travelling pleasures, instead indulging in an abundance of Netflix material in between venturing out for a couple of hours to wander the streets and nearby food and fish market. Before I show you the memorable fish stalls, first enjoy the visual delights of the finished products.
And where did such glorious produce come from? The fish market housed in the very same and rather large building out the back.
We actually only had one full afternoon to get out properly and so we went in search of a viewpoint on higher ground, seemingly favela territory. Still, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Has anyone noticed or considered even from the Rio de Janeiro posts the curious paradox that those considerably less fortunate find themselves having the very best views!
Vivian also managed to capture a creepy crawly in pretty impressive detail. Think how close she got to the thing to have captured this… 😱
As a friend from back home coined in a WhatsApp chat, that looks to be a cross between a spider and The Predator 😂 (from those that remember the film).
As for Florianópolis, if I’m ever asked if I’ve been here before I sense my natural response will first be a sigh for what could have been if the weather had been half decent! At that point, the conversation might turn a little weird as I won’t be responding in relation to their beaches, but instead…
“Yes, I’ve been to Florianópolis. It has the newest, cleanest airport I’ve ever been to. It’s actually quite pretty”.
Yes, I really did just say an airport was pretty. It really was time to leave lol.
So after five long days in Florianópolis and a clear case of cabin fever, we caught our pre-booked flight to get us to São Paulo. As one of the biggest cities and states in all of the Americas and indeed the world, this is the place to move on from Brazil.
There are plenty of countries in South America but presently, none are looking good for us for one reason or another. And the reasons vary, believe me with each country believing, hoping, that their measures are the preeminent Covid measures.
The two countries I personally want to visit above others over here are Chile and Peru. There’s a lot more to see and do in Peru than just Machu Picchu but I was beside myself with joy as I heard just days ago that Machu Picchu reopened on March 1 but my euphoria was short lived as they still require self quarantining on arrival. 7 days we could arguably put a case for considering this but 14, which is it, that’s just a no. Gutted.
As for Chile, if I was looking at their system objectively I’d actually praise it as it’s quite comprehensive and clearly well thought out but alas, our interest is personal so it’s gutting more than anything.
Argentina continues to push back. Previously months now onto weeks for their ongoing travel review. It was January to February, then February to March and now March to mid March before the next announcement. Their cases have dropped by 50% over the last two months so please, please, we beg, at least let us drop into Buenos Aires for a short while.
A couple of notable things have occurred here in São Paulo which has made Vivian and myself reconsider our plan for this next week. A week we very much had hoped to depart this wonderful country to go somewhere, anywhere….
Discounting Wuhan, China, how many of you had remembered that the first registered case of Covid was actually in São Paulo back in February 2020? From there it spread to every state within one month and due to what many believe was an incompetently and ignorantly run Government plan headed by a “Trump-like” figure that has resulted in the dire position they face themselves in with a national lockdown being urged by many. Presently it has been per state to decide and implement the necessary measures. You may recall Manaus went into lockdown around the time we left.
I’ve been asked by many of you over the weeks and months what it’s like over here. In fact, I heard from an old work colleague just last week and I quote…
“Brazil seems to be largely ignoring Covid?”
I can tell you that’s a massively unfair assumption, but admittedly the death toll would suggest so. Everyday people, and I’ve seen plenty since being out here and in different municipal States, are all very Covid-aware (as you’d hope!). I’ve been surprised as to just how well the general public adhere to mask wearing, usage of alcohol sanitation and monitoring temperature checking. Even the less fortunate on the street are street smart enough to mask up when they can.
Sadly though, there’s no denying that it just hasn’t worked. The government and somehow the people just have not collectively done enough. One year later and having clearly unsuccessfully handled the crisis within the state, let alone the country, today, yes this very day, Sao Paulo enters lockdown for it’s reported 20+ million residents.
We of course didn’t know this and casually discovered it when conversing with an Uber driver so we just two days’ notice to get out and about. We briefly managed to visit Paulista Avenue – a vast stretch of road where the streets are lined with museums, parks, galleries and retail outlets. There’s also a mixture of modern and classical architecture. However, I was already planning something for the second and final day of freedom…
This leads on to my opening paragraph and Vivian being airborne for a third time.
I became (and still am) poorly this last week. Not poorly in a respiratory Covid sense but with issues relating to my lower back/pelvis. (We believe the steep walk back down from the Florianopolis favela and mountain trek was the cause).
It’s been a challenging few days but it has also allowed me to see a side of Vivian that I’ve not seen before as the need had never really previously presented itself. She has been very attentive to me and most of you will know I hate a fuss. However, on some occasions this last week I was really quite restricted and her instinctive, sincere and selfless drive to look after me felt very special.
My body might be poorly but my mind remains focused so in my familiar way I started looking at ways to show my appreciation. With just one day left before lockdown kicks in, I managed to find and book her a surprise experience. Something that I had to hope she’d appreciate and not back out of due to any fear. But I needn’t have worried, she both enjoyed and smashed this first time.
At the end of the post do check out her two minutes with an instructor. The end part is pretty cool too. Up, up and away.
And that’s a wrap folks. We very much hoped to use this post to inform you we were moving on but that’s on hold for possibly some or indeed all of next week. As such I don’t suspect there will be anything to blog about but who knows what will happen…
Certainly just one week ago I didn’t expect to be physically constrained, Vivian didn’t expect to have experienced weightlessness and together we can’t quite believe it’s been nearly 3 months since landing in Brazil. Thinking back to when I received a stamp to allow me a three month stay yet I recall thinking that was mildly excessive as I wouldn’t need anywhere near that amount.
Time, huh? A funny old thing in a particularly funny old week in Florianópolis and São Paulo.