January 23rd 2016
My parents and I arrive at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle Airport. My flight, AF 442, leaves at 11:35pm, destination Rio de Janeiro.
I am meeting my friends Julia and Hélène, who will be studying in Rio de Janeiro for a few months, in Florianopolis. They decided to visit the country beforehand, and I decided to join them.
Once my bag is checked and the border passed, I find a seat in front of my boarding gate and open my laptop to watch a movie while I wait. “Ouija” is the horror movie I pick. A few minutes into the movie, my neighbor, a stranger, accosts me. He tells me that “Ouija” is not a great horror movie and recommends a few other films that would be “way better”. I don’t agree but we still talk for a while. I learn that he’s waiting for the Boston plane. He was in Paris to scout for an apartment because his company is sending him to France for a year.
My gate opens and I pack my belongings before entering the plane, the stranger offers me his email address so we can continue to debate on our movie tastes (but that’s another story!). The plane takes off. From my seat, I witness a wonderful sunset over Paris.
11 hours 30 later, my plane lands in Rio, from the airport, the view is breath-taking, but I don’t have time to explore so much, my next plane leaves in an hour.
I board on a small aircraft to Florianopolis.
Once we land, I take a taxi to Paula’s (Paula is a Brazilian friend that I met in Berlin, but that’s another story!). The drive takes 45 minutes, I am exhausted, but the landscape is so beautiful that I take some pictures from the taxi.
Florianopolis (or Floripa) is the capital and second largest city of the state of Santa Catarina, in the South region of Brazil. The city, also known as “Ilha da Magia” (The Magic Island) is supposedly one of the safest destinations for tourists in Brazil, because it holds popular resorts with heavy security means. It’s an amazing destination if you love to windsurf or to hike! The island also gets its nickname from several legends, one of them says that the boulders you can see from the beach of Praia de Itaguaçu are witches (“Das Bruxas”) turned to stone… If you ever get the pleasure to tour Brazil, I recommend adding Floripa to your list!
January 24th 2016
I arrive at Paula’s and notice that my passport is missing from my handbag, I try to find it in every corner of my belongings… It’s not there: it’s my first day in Brazil EVER, and I have lost my passport… There is no French consulate nor embassy in Florianopolis, so I will have to wait to be in another city to sort this out. Fortunately, the sunset view from Paula’s balcony, calms my nerves.
January 25th 2016
I decide to go for a walk in the city and take some pictures.
Julia and Hélène are landing in Florianopolis later today, and I will join them on the beach. There we order a feast, with Coconut water from the fruit!
Among heaps of visits and fun, I file a complaint for my lost passport and spend a few hours at the police borders… They advise me to not get lost and keep a precious eye on my phone… I only have my French health card as ID for the next 3 week!
January 27th 2016
Julia, Hélène and I took a bus to Curitiba. We are hosted by Diogo’s family and discover homemade Brazilian cuisine and cocktails.
Curitiba is the capital and largest city in the Brazilian state of Paraná. The city is known for its botanical garden, the “Jardim Botânico de Curitiba”, that we visited with Julia’s friends who have accepted to be our local guides, and for its numerous other parks.
We spend a few days in town, just enough time for me to discover Brazilian music (mostly Anitta) at the Karaoke, try out more local food and explore more beaches.
Of course, I recommend to add Curitiba to your list as well, if it wasn’t already there! The parks are incredibly nice to visit, the city is easy to navigate and the restaurants have lots to offer!
Thankfully, I am able to reach the French consulate in Rio by phone and get an appointment to receive papers allowing me to travel back to France.
I hope my diary notes took you to Brazil for a short moment, and that you enjoyed it!
Coming up: Brazil – The Atlantic Rainforest.
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