After two days of exploring São Paulo, Preeya and I are off to explore the island of Florianopolis in southern Brazil. Everyone here in São Paulo has nothing but amazing things to say about the island, so I’m really looking forward to arriving there. We never would have even heard of this island were it not for our couchsurfing host, Amanda. She has turned out to be a godsend for us here, not only opening up her home to us but also taking us out in the evenings, showing us the Brazilian culture we otherwise might have missed had we taken a traditional tourist approach.

Yesterday we took the opportunity to sleep in, a luxury one rarely has while employed, so our newfound unemployment has seemed the perfect time to take advantage of this. We took our time getting ready and then headed out to meet up with another couchsurfing friend I had made prior to coming. After being treated to a delicious lunch in the side streets of the old downtown in Sao Bento, we explored the neighbourhood, it’s architecture and it’s history.

After a few hours there, we made our way over to Paulista Avenue and decided to check out Augusta street. We found some really quaint shops and cafes, stopping in one particularly cute cafe for a quick drink and snack. Preeya jokingly commented that we should look up where the closest Outback Steakhouse was – for anyone who knows me, you know my love for the Outback is unparalleled. So when we realized there was one only .8km’s away, it was destiny. We went over to the Outback for some salad and appetizers (alas, my beloved soup was not available) then headed over to Consolacao station to meet up with Amanda. We headed over to her cousins place where he and his friends were cooking up a Brazilian feast and immediately put caipirinha’s in our hands. We spent a few hours there, making new friends, enjoying amazing food, and laughing until our cheeks hurt.

Since we decided to go to Florianopolis this weekend, we thought we’d save our samba dancing plans for the island. After another amazing sleep, we woke up to a day of exploring the local neighbourhood where we are staying, on the blue line just off the Santana stop. The one thing I will say has surprised me about Brazil is I really was expecting more people to speak English. I have no idea why I thought this, as I had no similar presumptions traveling to Germany, France or Italy, where conversing in English turned out to be no problem at all. Yet here in Brazil, it seems as though no one other than our host – and the random homeless lady that yelled at us in English when we ignored her Portuguese plea – speaks English! That said, we seem to be getting by just fine, using our basic knowledge of French and Spanish to be able to sound out and figure out words in Portuguese when possible. And of course when on wifi, a Portuguese/English translation app. We’ve picked up the basics, obrigada (thank you), Quonta por favor (cheque please), oi, Tudu bien? (Hi, how are you?), vamos (let’s go), saida (exit) and more everywhere we go. My goal is to have conversational Portuguese down by the time we head to Africa, which will be on June 3.

As I finish writing this, I am about to board the twelve hour bus ride to Florianopolis. I’m so glad I downloaded lots of TED talks for excursions like this where I’ll be without wifi. And sleeping pills. I am very glad I thought to bring sleeping pills. Until tomorrow friends!