Archive | Travel

Carnaval 2009: Florianopolis, Brazil

We were told that the Carnaval parties in Florianopolis, Brazil do not compare to the scale of the ones in Rio, and if that’s true, all I can say is that the ones in Rio must be amazing!  In Floripa, the Carnaval parties started on Friday and went until Tuesday (just before Ash Wednesday).  There were many ways of celebrating carnaval here:

  • All the nightclubs had international DJs playing (Armijn van Buuren, Kaskade, Dave Seaman, and Erick Morillo to name a few) and crazy cover charges!  It was US $150 for guys at Erick Morillo.
  • There were a lot of street parties and beach parties.  The beach near us, Pantano do Sol, had a live band, food and drinks for 4 nights straight.
  • In Centro (downtown), there were 4 nights of samba parades.  They started at 9pm and went until after 5am in the morning!  Each samba school would parade through a set of bleachers and boxes to show off their music, dancing, costumes, and floats.  They were judged and the winners came back on the final night.

The parades were pretty spectacular and we’ve included some of our photos here. Enjoy!


Argentina’s Proposed Tourist Entry Fee Postponed Indefinitely

Argentina Tourist Entry Fee Postponed IndefinitelyUPDATE:  The fee has gone into effect. Please check out my newer post on Argentina’s new entrance fee.

Good news for expats and tourists alike!  Argentina’s proposed tourist entry fee which was scheduled to start January 1, 2009, and then re-scheduled for March 2009, has been postponed indefinitely.  This means that those trips to Uruguay will not cost anymore for us expats. ($131 US was the reciprocal rate for American citizens.)

Argentina had planned to use this money to help modernize many of their immigration computer systems, estimating that it would bring in $40 million per year. However, they never did any research as to how it would impact tourism before they enacted the legislation. Now, amid the global recession, tourism in Argentina has fallen for three straight months, and there’s no end in site.  With tourism bringing $4 billion annually to the Argentine economy, the thought of charging an additional fee without knowing how it may further impact the tourism decline may have been enough to put this proposal on hold indefinitely.


Florianopolis Update

Florianopolis is great.  I’m happy to report that boredom has not yet set in.  We’ve been out exploring the island and its many beaches, hiking trails, towns, restaurants, etc.  The people are very friendly, and while we’re in a sleepy fishing village, it’s exactly the break we needed from Buenos Aires for awhile.

We have noticed a tremendous number of differences between Brazil and Argentina, which include the people, food, culture and language.  We initially thought that since the two countries were neighbors, we’d see more similarities, but the differences are striking.  We’ll write more about that in another post, but one example is the language.  For some reason we thought Portuguese would sound more similar to Spanish, but we quickly learned that our rudimentary Spanish did not get us far here. The two languages sound nothing alike to us! Even when the words are the same (about 89% of the language overlaps or is close), they’re pronounced much differently.  Luckily, having our basic Spanish does help though as a lot of people can understand the basics and can figure out what we’re saying.  English has been pretty useless for the most part here.

We’ll be back with some more updates soon, but for now, here’s some pictures from my time here.