It was a rather haphazard start to Brazil, if I say so myself. Most of my trips, I have an idea where I’m going, where I’m staying, how long I’m staying and what comes after that.
Not with Brazil. Too many crazy things had been going on in my life, from my attempt to get my book on Brandon, my beloved late dog, started and underway at a place I ended up having to move from quickly, to the delay in getting my Brazilian visa…you name it, it happened, and I literally ran out of time to plan.
Five days before my flight was to depart LAX, I sketched out a rough itinerary from the picture pages of a Rough Guide. Out of ten places I selected to see, I ended up doing only three…but that’s part of the upcoming story. I wrote down a bunch of notes into my journal for quick mental refreshment regarding buses, air tickets, shuttles, taxis, tipping, youth hostels and the like, and also a bunch of Portuguese words to help assist me, I thought, in my travels.
I did have a couple small Portuguese language books with me, and even a CD so I could hear how the language sounds, but in the end so many people spoke English that I admit I got a bit lazy in my efforts on their language. It is similar in many ways to Spanish, so though I’m not at all fluent in Spanish, I was able to understand some of them, and speak my poor broken Spanish back, which I don’t think they understood much of, but they appreciated my silly efforts with their wry smiles.
While picking up my Brazilian visa in Los Angeles just two days before my flight, I met a man waiting for his visa who, though not Brazilian, had lived in Brazil for many years. He raved about a beachside area in southern Brazil called Florianopolis, and declared everyone who is going to Brazil should go there. That was enough to convince me, and I decided to make it my first destination.
That was as much of a plan as I had before I departed Palm Springs on the morning of April 9. I was packed for warm, cold and in between, and all I knew for sure is that I had a ticket from LAX to Sao Paulo, and another one from there to Florianopolis. I also had a Youth Hostel lined up in Florianopolis, and they were supposed to pick me up at the airport upon my arrival…Let the excitement begin!