Sometimes when all you are trying to do is work as hard as you can in your classes, your university up and decides (without even asking for your input) that since you are giving such a fantastic effort, it would be best for everyone that you take a three-week break from learning the Porky Cheese to better acclimate yourself to your new world.
Taking advantage of this extra study break I decided it would be best for me to venture approximately 700 mi / 1,126 km south across Brazil to practice my language skills outside my native environment (Rio's Zona Sul).
Buses in Brazil (at least the intercity buses) are much nicer than those I have seen in the United States (I will always hate you, Greyhound).
This is not to say that these “nicer” means of transportation are not available in the US, but living the life of luxury that I do, I obviously pay top dollar for everything (which is why I am taking a bus this far in the first place). Through the majesty of 1001 (mil e um – a bus company here in Brazil, but likely an off-brand vodka elsewhere in the world) I am able to travel to the south of Brazil to the state of Santa Catarina, where I will spend seven days and seven nights in the state's capital city of Florianópolis (known throughout Brazil for its beautiful women, beautiful beaches and an amazing nightlife – sound familiar?).
The city rests on an island which was first linked to the mainland by what was and is still the longest suspension bridge in Brazil, the Hercilio Luz Bridge; and if you were wondering (you weren't), there is now another smaller bridge linking the island as well since the Hercilio Luz is currently under construction.
The first two days I spend in the rain, which meant it was time to head to Centro, the downtown.
Public transportation in the city is sub-par at best (which may be the reason everyone in the city has a car), and I am convinced there is only one bus running each line (none of which overlap one another). I usually wait fifteen or twenty minutes for buses to arrive (during which time I organize dog fights between strays at the bus stops), and because in many areas the streets are one lane in each direction, getting around takes far longer than necessary.
There are stray dogs all about the city (nonexistent in Rio de Janeiro; however this is because they are rounded up, cooked and then sold to tourists as exotic dishes), and the temperature was noticeably cooler than in Rio (but still mahschweatyballs by California standards). The city itself reminds me of somewhere out of Europe and the population (primarily of European descent) is overwhelmingly light-skinned – fascinating stuff, I know.