I spent late Monday until early Friday morning last week on a short road trip which covered an awful lot of ground. Infact I did a little loop starting and ending in Sao Paulo as my flight from Florianopolis to Rio changed there.
Monday night we drove from Sao Paulo to the small town of Lencois Paulista. This was where Renato was brought up and where his Mother still lives. The house there was really nice and still being worked on. For the well of, the standard of living in Brazil is up there with anywhere in the world.
We stuck around for lunch there which was the typical meat, rice and beans that is had in Brazil. Also they generally tend to have lunch as the main meal of the day with a lighter dinner. We then had a 4 or 5 hour drive over to Londrina which is where Renato lives.
We arrived at 6 and had to drop the bags at his house and then head straight to the hospital to pick up his wife and kid! His little boy Bruno had got an ear infection that day, that said he seemed fine and it looked like a rouse to get out of nursery really! Anyway we headed back in the middle of quite a thunderstorm, which was unfortunate as Renato wanted to show me a few places around Londrina but that never really happened. Renato’s sister in-law was also over, but unfortunately neither his wife nor her sister spoke any English, so communicating was a little difficult!
They needed to go shopping for a bunch of things, so I offered to cook dinner for them! The only thing I really know how to cook is a Bolognese really. The plan drifted from Lasagne, down to a pasta bake then to just pasta and Bolognese. Finding all the right ingredients was rather tough and we were missing a few things. They didn’t have a grill, kettle or potato peeler either! I did my best anyway, but stupidly used some self raising flour in the Bolognese as they didn’t have any plain, that completely dried it out. I also attempted to make a cheese sauce, but with self raising flour that completely screwed up and had to be abandoned! Anyway the meal seemed to go down well, although after all the stress of trying to get it right I wasn’t so hungry!
The next day after Lunch we drove to Curitiba which was meant to take 4 hours. It ended up being more like a 6 hour drive unfortunately. We were trying to get down there in time to see the Manchester Derby on TV, but in the end we only got there in time to catch the last 5 minutes of the game! Renato’s wife Daniella had come along with us too with them leaving Bruno with Daniella’s mum. But her sister couldn’t get out of work to come with us. In Curitiba we stayed with a friend of Renato from when he was at University. He also didn’t speak English! Firstly that evening we went to a pretty nice bar which shows lots of football. We initially intended to go here to watch the Derby. We got some food and they had a samba band on too which was kinda cool. After this I had arranged to meet up with the chap I was sat next to on the plane. He spoke good English and was out for birthday drinks with a bunch of friends. It was kinda cool to talk to someone else who spoke English, and a few of his friends were trying to learn English but not so fluent. Also I tried my first Caprinhas. And I managed to impress the others by having 3 of them having had 3 beers earlier and managing them rather well. That said I think they probably weren’t as strong as normal ones. We left the bar at about midnight and their friends car had a flat tyre! Luckily he works at a tyre shop, and was able to change the tyre quite easily!
Curitiba seemed quite nice with lots of good looking bars. The weather was lousy and is all the time apparently. It was like 12c and overcast when we were there. It seemed kinda like the Brazilian Manchester!
The next day we grabbed some breakfast at a bakery before saying bye to Renato’s friend. Then we headed to the motor racing track in Curitiba to check it out. They were setting up for the Formula Truck race they were having there this coming weekend. We drove around half the track before smoke started coming from the engine! The car had a water leak and the temperatures had gone through the roof. Not a bad place to be when your car brakes down mind as there were a bunch of mechanics about. We waited for the engine to cool down before heading to the pits to get some help. Renato got someone to take a look at it whilst I wandered around and took a bunch of pictures.
The car didn’t have an easy fix, but fortunately there was a garage right outside the track we could go to. The fix would take about an hour as a part just had to be changed. So we took an early lunch somewhere about a 10 minute walk away. They managed to fix the car properly and we could get going to Florianopolis. The drive once again took an hour or so longer than expected due to some tough traffic. We also drove from overcast weather into sun and then back into overcast weather. Apparently it had already been sunny in Florianopolis and passed through! Florianopolis is a very popular sea side area amongst Brazilians. We went to a beach side bar where they had good shrimp and had a beer. But I was really tired and didn’t feel like eating much. The place was really quiet for some reason, high season starts late November and runs through to carnival, then apparently a drive that took us 5 minutes takes an hour or so. We arranged to go into the city later to meetup with Fernando who is another one of the bosses at Reiza. We went for dinner at a pizza place, but I was absolutely shattered and too tired to make conversation. We called it a night after dinner.
The next morning we had a really quick drive around to some viewpoints so I at least got a few good pictures before heading to the airport for my flight to Rio. I’m still unsure about Florianopolis, the place seemed quite nice but is really dependent on nice weather. Parts kinda reminded me of Tofino in Canada. I’m sure with a little bit more time I’d have enjoyed it much more.