Monday, 6 December 2021

In the city

No need to rise early. So I don't. It's just after 9:30 when I finally wander down. The breakfast room is pretty much empty. Just one other punter. Not someone from the contest.

Daringly, I give some of the cheese a try. And the ham stuff. The thrill of the unknown.

The orange cheese is pretty tasteless. Doesn't have much in the way of texture, either. I've not been missing much. I feel the fruit working its magic. Or perhaps that's just a fart coalescing in my gut.

With a couple of hours to kill before checkout, I head for a quick tour of the beach. The second I step onto it someone cries out:

"Hello Ron"

It's the woman who organised the Blumenau competition last year. We chat for a while. Until I need to go and pack.

Not that packing takes too long. I haven't a huge amount of stuff. Just clothes and a laptop. And the leftover hotel cachaça.

After checking out I'm offered a beer by one of the other judges hanging around the lobby. From the remnants of the sponsor's. No Bock, so I make do with a Black Princess Gold. When will I get another chance?

One of the Brazilian judges offers me a lift into town. Not going to say no. In daylight, it's clear how hilly the island is. Hilly enough to be untouched by agriculture or housing. Very green.

I've not seen Florianopolis proper. Other than a few fleeting glimpses as my taxi rushed past on Saturday night. As we skirt along the coast, it looks pretty highrisey.

Having lived in Florianopolis, my driver knows the hotel and quickly navigates his way there. Checking in is a doddle and I'm soon in my room. Very nice it is, too. Though with rather too many beds for my needs. In addition to a big double, there's a double sofa bed and a single. 

Not wanting to waste time wandering around, I check Google maps for a nearby restaurant. Something selling Brazilian stuff. I'm not going to waste my time on pizza or Chinese food. I find something suitable looking just around the corner. Called Restaurante Cota e Carioca da Gema, which is a bit of a mouthful.

The street leading down to the restaurant is scarily steep for a Dutch resident like me. I'm really not used to hills. Especially steep ones. I don't fancy climbing back up it.

There's a chav behind the counter about my age. He doesn't speak any English. Disappearing off to the kitchen, he returns with the young person who can speak English. Obviously the chef. Who explains what they have. I go for the pork option. And a can of Skol.

It must be after peak time as one of the staff is getting stuck into a meal in a corner at the back.

I wanted Brazilian and that's what I got. Double carbs, black beans and stuff (I can't remember the name) that someone described to me as bacon-flavoured sand. I get the sandy texture, but not the bacon flavour. It's fine mixed up with the beans and rice.

It certainly filled a hole. Good values, too, at a shade under 3.50 euros. After leaving, I snap the outside of the building. The old bloke comes out and enrolls the specials banner he'd just taken down. Very friendly, these Brazilians.

It's a bit disorientating being on my own after days of always being in company. And having my time scheduled. What to do? Maybe look at the sights.

Further down the street I'm on is the central market. I've heard it's good. So I roll on down. The street is very low-rise - mostly one or two stories. And lined with small, independent shops. Including some pretty weird ones. Like Rei do MDF - King of MDF.

The market is impressive. But most seems to be given over to restaurants. I don't linger and head over to the cathedral and its square.

Wow. That's an impressive fucking tree. And there's a depressing barefoot homeless man kipping on that bench.

I wander back to my hotel. Avoiding any too steep inclines.

I made a search of beery places in the city before I left Holland. The breweries all seemed to be either on the mainland or well out of the centre.I could get a taxi somewhere, but I'd prefer not to. Somewhere within walking distance would be so much simpler. 

Another search kicks up somewhere just a few minutes away. That'll do. It doesn't open until 6 PM. Time for some wandering around the internet. And working my way through that cheap cachaça. I wouldn't want to have to leave any.

Though not far away, Infinito is down an even more scarily steep street. One which I don't think I'll be able to avoid on the way home.

I'm the first customer in. They fetch the English speaker to explain everything to me.

"I'm behind the bar. If you need anything, just come and ask."

I pick a seat on the veranda and gave out over the adjacent empty lot. The sun is gently sinking and the light softening. Samba music plays, while I get stick into my IPA. Served in a bizarre 473 ml measure. It's pleasantly grapefruity and slips down without much trouble.

A waitress comes up and asks if I'd like another beer, touching my shoulder. You'd never have that in Amsterdam, the staff making physical contact with a stranger. Obviously, I want another beer,

For the first 40 minutes, I'm on my own. Then people start turning up in matching t-shirts. I've been in groups like that while down here. But they keep trolling up in their green shirts. Soon totally filling the pub.

The same song is being played over and over. Is this some sort of political rally?*

Just as well I've already got a couple of beers down. A couple of hundred political activists are now between me and another beer. Paying, too, after being driven insane by the same song being played 10 drillion tines. Not being so up on Brazilian politics, I have no idea who they support. 

I force my way to the bar and ask the English-speaking lass for a refill and the bill. She points me to another part of the bar and I wait around there for a while. No luck paying, for some reason. I retreat to my seat.

I manage to grab a passing waitress. "Pagar?" No problem. I can escape.

I would have ordered a small meal. No way I was doing that after the mobbing. So I leave a little peckish. 


The monster hill doesn't leave me as wheezing as I'd feared. This climate is doing my lungs a power of good. And at the top I find a little corner place open. Where I get myself  a sandwich and a bag of crisps. That'll do.

It's cheap cachaça easing me down the slope to sleep tonight.


* It was the election for the bar association of Santa Catharina state they were celebrating. With the first woman being elected president.

Restaurante Cota e Carioca da Gema
R. Conselheiro Mafra, 594
Centro, Florianópolis - SC,

Infinito - Cervejaria Criativa
R. Henrique Valgas, 318
Centro, Florianópolis - SC,

Lanchonete Café No Blue
R. Felipe Schmidt, 720
Centro, Florianópolis - SC,


Anonymous said...

That's a great report. I really like stories about people wandering around places that aren't the same old tourist spots.

arnie moodenbaugh said...

message from the USA. I enjoyed your trip to Brazil.
The 473 ml measure is a US pint, and it doesn't correspond to imperial measure and hasn't been replaced by metric measure. I suspect many western hemisphere brewers that do canning might default to US measures since the can sizes are more readily available. US measures seep over the borders. The most common beer can size in Canada is the 355 ml (12 US oz) while their bottles are 341 ml (12 Imperial oz). But you're right, it is a little weird to see Brazilian glassware designed for a US pint.