Sunday, February 13, 2011

Porto Alegre, Brazil Feb 9th-Feb 11th, 2011


Traveling: It was about a nine hour bus ride from Florianopolis down the coast to the South. We took a bus with the bus company Santo Anjo. The total cost for the bus was about $38 or so. We had decent room, not lying down room, but plenty of leg room, and a decent amount of room to lean back. They did not provide food on the bus, but we stopped at a place mid way to get food at a stop. Overall, I’d certainly recommend it to someone traveling as a solid option.

Culture: Porto Alegre was much different than Floripa to say the least. Floripa is a beach area that is not heavily populated outside of the main city. The streets are hectic during the day. There is an area of about 4x4 blocks where there are just endless stores that people frequent all day long. I was convinced no one worked since the streets had an insane amount of people at all times of the day. Then, when night time came along, at about 7pm, every shop besides pharmacies shut down for the night. As far as food is concerned, make sure you eat by 6pm to ensure you have some options. Some places also close during the day time to nap or just shut down, so it’s possible that between non-lunch hours the place you desire might be closed. The area is amazing, I really liked the busyness and the atmosphere. At night time it completely changes, there are suddenly no one on the streets and it is almost like a ghost town compared to the day time. I had never seen anything like this before, but certainly don’t walk on any dark streets at night time, always take a cab. The people are nice and try to help if you attempt to speak Portuguese. Lastly, they also claim that the most beautiful people in Brazil live here and I agree wit that so far.

Streets during the day time, more busy than this street in most areas of the city

On the streets at night time - 1

On the streets at night time - 2

On the streets at night time - 3

On the streets at night time - 4

Religion: Over 70% are Roman Catholic

Language: Portuguese, it is a more complex version of Spanish basically. Due to this, those who speak Spanish cannot understand Portuguese, but those who speak Portuguese can understand Spanish since it is simpler. Almost all of South America speaks Spanish, except for Brazil, so I’d highly recommend learning Spanish for the trip, as it would be the most beneficial, and if time permitted to begin learning Portuguese. It is very, very hard to communicate in towns without the knowledge of Portuguese or Spanish, so do your studying ahead of time. Otherwise, you will feel very lost and somewhat outcast, even when trying to get food. I picked up some Portuguese here very quickly on my last night, and it helped a bunch. The people were very receptive and tried to help us out whenever they could. If you can speak some they are somewhat impressed and see you as sort of a novelty, so they will enjoy talking to you or helping you. A very friendly guy named Marcelo overheard me speaking English and stopped me to have a beer. I learned quite a bit of Portuguese from him, good stuff.

Transportation: Cars are the main transportation here, with less motorcycles than Floripa because it is a big city. Renting a motorbike is too expensive for tourists compared to the buses, which run around town for just a few dollars, however I did not use one at this stop. Taxis are rather expensive, but they are unavoidable when going far or traveling at night, drop the extra cash to ensure your safety.

Population: 2,000,000 in the main city, it is insanely crowded and fun to walk around all day.

Currency: Reai (Ray-eye). It is currently trading at 1.67 Reai to $1 USD.

Place Stayed at: Lido Hotel, right in the heart of the city. It was about $61 in 2 nights and I’d recommend it. Nothing special here, a small clean room in a good location. It is safe, and the staff does not speak much English just like everywhere else. It is a good budget hotel.

In front of our Hotel

Food: There were a lot more options here than in Floripa. You could get pizza and cheeseburgers if you are American, but they are still not good at all compared to in the states. Most burgers are served with ham on them here, sometimes they have an egg on them also. Here is a picture of food I had there, but I don’t know much about their food, just that they have lots of meat dishes.

A dish I had with chicken, tomatoes, cheese, onions, etc.

Beers/Drinks: We still had some Skol here, but it is basically the same all around Brazil, with people drinking lots of Caiprinhas and then heavy Brazilian beer. Most of the places do not have light beers like in the US.

Entertainment: During the day, the streets are packed in the heart of the city. You can walk around this area all day for fun and people watching. There are a ton of shops, and it seems like no one is working, because the streets are insanely packed on all days with people shopping. In the night, that goes away, and the streets are dead, so do not walk outside in any dark areas at this time. At night you can go a few places for drinks. We went to Cidade Baixa, and it had a good mix of bars. Some smaller bars to socialize, or some bigger bars that were more like clubs. It was not the best night scene, but it did just fine.

Internet: The internet worked just fine at our hotel

Sites to see/Things to do: The Central Market, in the heart of the city. It is not big, but a decent place that most people go to buy their groceries. Cidade Baixa is not a must see, it is where the night life is, but it is something I’d recommend you do to see the different cultural nuances. There are parks and museums here, but nothing that is a must see either. Linha Turismo is a bus company that gives you a tour of the city in a little over an hour for a cheap rate. We couldn’t do it since it rained the two days we were there, and they cancel the tours when it rains. Note that the building is extremely hard to find, the sign is on the second floor from the outside, and there is no label on the door. It took me about 20 minutes of walking to finally find it.

Me at the central market

Me at the central market

Pigs heads at the market

Recommendation: If you like cities, and speak some Portuguese, this place is a great option for you. It is not a tourist area, but was great to see. I would absolutely love to live here. My write up is not very exciting, because there aren’t any big sites to see, but the city itself impressed me, and I really enjoyed the area.

Other Pics:

Yeah, you can get HGH on the shelves here

They had these guys at a lot of buildings, appearing to be holding the weight of the building on their shoulders, pretty cool

Lots of police every where to make it safe for the upcoming World Cup in 2014

Most of their stuff is not based on fast food stuff, but it was cool to just see a random ice cream machine on the streets

This is about $220 and $240 respectively for the shoes, they are insanely expensive here

Neat little park area near the hotel

Funny to see our movies in their language

Really fuckin random, but funny

Quentin decided to get in a ghetto work out in the streets

Loads of neat graffiti - 1

Loads of neat graffiti - 2

Loads of neat graffiti - 3

Rating: 8/10, a place I’d love to live, not a place to stop and see as a vacation, unless you are backpacking or traveling a lot and want to places.



  1. lol hadn't read this one yet. Stop calling it heavy beer. They're all light!