Indecision and Insufferable Conversations
Trip Start Aug 19, 2010
83Trip End Ongoing
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My arrival into Florianopolis (or Floripa as many people like to call it - get it? FloriPa?) was pretty dramatic
The island itself, as I came to find out quickly, is quite large. The hostel I'd booked (yes, I am still hosteling it) was located in an area called Lagoa da Conceicao, which is in the middle of the island, near a salt-water lake. It took quite a while to get there on the local bus (the bus system in Floripa is amazingly user-friendly, by the way). When I got to the hostel, I got a bit sad. I made a bad choice. It had to happen eventually - I had such good luck choosing hostels in Uruguay and in Porto Alegre, so I was due for a bad one. It wasn't so much the hostel itself - it was actually fairly clean and the folks who worked there were pretty nice. The problem was that it was one of those hostels where Kids stayed at. By Kids, I mean those 18 to 22 year-olds who are taking gap years, taking time off from college, or taking time after graduating college to travel before working - these are the hostel Kids I cannot stand to be around. Call me a grumpy old man, but I just have no patience for these loud, obnoxious douchebags.
Am I being too harsh on these Kids? Maybe, but really, I just want to avoid these insufferable conversations and shallow/fake interest in other people. These insufferable conversations usually start with "hey - where are you from?" then it moves to "how long are you traveling for and how far in are you?" then, it moves into more advanced questions like "where were you before you came here and where are you going next?" It's actually kind of funny because the question "what's your name?" usually doesn't come until you've reached the 5 minute point in your conversation - it is at this time when one person is interested enough in the other that s/he actually want to know the other's name.
It's so annoying - you could seriously have this same conversation twelve times in a day. I'm not going to say that I've never been an initiator of this particular pre-packaged conversation but in general, I just try not to take part in them at all. Not that I go out of my way to be unsociable - I engage and entertain these conversations when questions are directed towards me, but like I said before, they are truly insufferable. Usually I can tell from the first 5 seconds if I will find the other person interesting so I try to alter my responses accordingly
I have to say that I did have quite a few of these insufferable conversations while I was in Floripa. On my first evening there, I was forced into one of these conversations by one of the Kids. I didn't have the energy to think of a way out, so I just gave my stock answers to the stock questions. It just so happened that the day I arrived (Sunday) was also election day. I didn't know much about the two main presidential candidates but my laziness caused the conversation to progress far enough where current events were being discussed. The person asked if I knew who won, and I said that when I checked the news some minutes earlier, the woman candidate appeared to have been ahead in all the exit polls. The other person just shook his head and said that it was terrible and that the whole country was going down and that the woman candidate is going to be just like another Chavez. He even went as far as saying that he was considering staying in Brazil for a while but now feels like he can't - blah blah blah. I admitted to my lack of knowledge when it comes to Brazilian politics and asked why it was he thought the woman candidate was so bad
When I finally got on my bus, I decided to take off the judgmental hat and enjoy myself. I went to one of the beaches in the southern part of the island and after a few minutes, all of my pettiness just seemed to disappear. The island really is just amazing. Most of the land in the island is covered in dense vegetation and/or lots of trees. Then, suddenly, where the trees stop, it turns into sand and then beach. I sat near the water and stared at the land/seascape for what seemed like forever. It seemed like Floripa was too good to be true.
And I suppose it was. A little after noon, I noticed that more and more cars were coming through the road behind the patch of sand I was sitting in. Then, over the next half hour, a locust-like swarm of people descended upon the beach. There they were, speedo-/bikini-clad people with their loud stereos, beach paddle games, wind-surfboards(?), and every other imaginable beach paraphernalia you can think of. It felt like I was taking crazy pills. I'd spent all that time in Uruguay having entire beaches to myself but now here I was having to share with hundreds of other people
That was pretty much the story of my entire stay in Floripa. I'm suffering from a bit of indecision on how to feel about it. On the one hand, it was one of the most beautiful places I have been to (ever), but I really couldn't stand the fact that there were just too many people, and too many shops, and too many bars, and too much everything - everywhere.
I stayed for four days and while I did see and do cool things while I was there, nothing about it ever felt quite right. It just wasn't my style.
Reading list: I managed to finish Man and Boy. It wasn't great. It was too nostalgic and it tried a little too hard.
Playlist: One, Two, Three, Four.
Until next time