An October 2003 trip
to Buenos Aires by adaamk
Quote: In October 2003, my Peruvian girlfriend and I took a month-long bus trip from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Hotel | "Genilson's apartment (Barra da Lagoa)"
Barra da Lagoa is an charming little town. It is on the eastern side of Santa Cataraina island, between the Atlantic and the bay. There are no big apartment buildings or supermarkets, and we did not notice any tourists on the beach. It was close to the larger town of Lagoa da Conceição. You can take a local bus to the metropolis for about R$2, or a direct bus for R$4. The ride is about 25-35 minutes in the local bus, but try to get a seat: we were flung around quite a bit thanks to the manic Brazilian driving style of the bus drivers and the unfriendly terrain; the ascent to the main road is nicknamed the sete voltas do diabo--the seven turns of the Devil.
There are all sorts of beach activities available around the Lagoa, but we chose to lie in the sun and have a caipirinha, as Genilson suggested. Drinks cost about R$3 each from a bar that had tables right on the beach. The seafood served by the nearby restaurants was good, but nothing special. There was a laundry nearby that cleaned our clothes for R$10 per basket.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 9, 2004
Buenos Aires, Argentina
The food is easily recommendable, and runs the gamut from all types of pizzas and calzones to salads and pastas. Not much innovation here, but who needs it? There is also a bar, and the place is rumored to get a bit wild late at night.
The waitresses are absolutely stunning and I think a few were taller than me--and I'm 6'1" (185 cm). The service is good not only in the visual sense, however. Other than being polite and quick, which is all one can ask, they were forgiving of my human errors: when I accidentally ordered a calzone with pork in it, which I do not eat, they replaced it without charging me, which I would have expected and accepted.
Prices were very reasonable for an American, with main dishes costing between 10 and 20 pesos.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 7, 2004
San Martín 975
Buenos Aires, Argentina
+54 11 4311-0312
We ordered some seafood paellas, which were excellent. The food in served in traditional Spanish style, with covered plates for each dish. There's really not much to say about the food; it's very good traditional Spanish cuisine. If you like Spanish dishes such as paella, you will enjoy Don Curro.
It is rather pricey. Lunch cost us R$100 (US$35) apiece, with non-alcoholic drinks and tip. We had one main dish each, plus one appetizer. I found this expensive, especially for Brazil. I would have preferred to save and go to a less classy restaurant, but what's done is done. For this reason, I only rank the Don Curro as "recommended."
You can also call Don Curro for take-out or delivery if you are in the area.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 8, 2004
Rua Alves Guimarães 230, Pinheiros
Sao Paulo, Brazil
+55 (011) 3062-4712
I let her know of this requirement ahead of meeting her in Buenos Aires; she was flying in from Lima and I from New York. Unfortunately, none of the eight hospitals she visited was able to provide the vaccination, so we figured we would do it once in Argentina. Again, we had trouble locating a hospital that provided the vaccination (yellow fever is not too common in a place with no jungle), so we made a call to the Brazilian embassy to see if they knew which hospital vaccinated against yellow fever. The Argentine who answered the phone told us that the vaccination was unnecessary if we were going to the coast, even though we stressed that she was a Peruvian citizen and was legally required to present a certificate to immigration.
We had to wait until the following Tuesday to get the vaccination and the police officer who issued the certificate was uncooperative with my amateur attempts to bribe him to set the date back 10 days. He didn't seem to understand that we wanted the vaccination for legal, and not medical reasons, claiming: "I've seen yellow fever, and it makes m---da out of the patients. You'll probably end up half-stupid". Oh, to be in a corrupt country like Peru, where $20 will buy you any type of identification! We went back to the Brazilian embassy and protested that we had been given incorrect information, but the Argentines who worked there were decidedly uncooperative. In tears, my girlfriend announced that she had been treated so badly because of her nationality that she preferred to just go home to Lima. Our return flight was out of Rio de Janeiro, so staying in Argentina for the rest of the month was not an option, even if we had wanted to skip most of our itinerary. We decided to try our luck with the weakest point of the Brazilian border with Argentina, the Islamic narcoterrorist triangle at Iguassu Falls.
We took a 10-hour bus trip to Córdoba and saw the sights during the day. Walking around, we came across the Peruvian consulate, and consulted with the officer present about entrance into Brazil. He called the Brazilian Federal Police and announced in typical Peruvian fashion: ¡Pasa no más, pe!
The border guard didn't even ask for the certificate, of course. That would have been too easy.
As a result of this attitude, I usually ignore people offering tours, accommodations, or other such touristy services. However, my prejudice glands did not have time to react when we arrived at the Florianópolis bus terminal, and our trip was the better for it.
After the 17-hour or so bus ride from Foz do Iguaçu to Florianópolis, my girlfriend needed to head to the bathroom to clean up her face, so I got the bags while she went ahead. I entered in time to see her indicate a young man in my direction, and was immediately confronted with a barrage of sales talk in Portuguese-tinged Argentine Spanish. I assumed that my girlfriend had vetted this young man, whose name I soon learned was Genilson Da Silva Ribeiro, and went along with his pitch.
Genilson showed me pictures of a paradisiacal beachfront community called Barra da Lagoa and told me that it could be mine for a low, low price. I responded that we were planning on spending the first day in the city, but that idea was quickly shot down: "Who wants to be in the city on a beautiful day like today? Wouldn't you rather be on the beach, lying in the sun, drinking a caipirinha, and watching beautiful girls pass by?". I had to concur that this did sound like a better option than wandering around Florianópolis on foot, considering how tired we were from the bus trip.
I let Genilson continue with his pitch. He told me that there were no high buildings in the town, that it the apartment was but 50 meters from the sea and near the home of a famous tennis player, and "como dicen en inglés (as they say in English), es beautiful." That did it. I was sure that I was about to be scammed at this point, but Genilson's pitch was so good that I didn't even care.
Genilson said that he would let us see the apartment with no obligation and would even drive us out there in his car. "The only thing I need", he said, "is that you help me with the afta". My mind raced as I tried to figure out what afta could possibly mean. Did he mean NAFTA? Did he want me to help him get a visa to the U.S.? "La gasolina", he clarified, reacting to my befuddled look. That made a lot more sense, but was a lot less interesting. He asked for R$5, which was probably more than the cost of gasoline, but much less than a taxi would have charged. He would also stop to take our picture at one of the traditional vista points.
By the time my girlfriend returned from the bathroom, I had already made a deal with Genilson. He loaded our bags into his car and we set off for Barra da Lagoa. Along the way, he gave us some background on the city and pointed out landmarks such as the picturesque iron bridge. He also showed us a hotel where "the rooms are free and they don't charge for breakfast, lunch, or dinner", crossing his fingers to make a set of bars: "the prison!" He had an impressive command of Argentine slang and often confused both of us with his out-of-place, colorful expressions. I was a bit miffed that he kept referring to my girlfriend (under 30 and obviously unmarried) as "señora," but I rationalized that there is no equivalent of "señorita" in Portuguese.
When we finally reached Barra da Lagoa about 20 minutes later, we were stunned by both the apartment and the fact that Genilson seemed to know practically every person on the island of Santa Catarina, greeting them with the traditional thumbs-up and "beleza, irmão" (beauty, brother). The place he was offering us for R$20 nightly was huge, easily room enough for five people. It was indeed 50 meters from the sea, and as they say in English, beautiful.
To this day I can not figure out how, exactly, Genilson ripped me off. I'm still cautious of tour guide folk, but my armor is beginning to crack a bit. Maybe we were just in the off-season. We did come in October.
See my accommodation review for more information on the place itself. Genilson speaks very good Spanish and obviously Portuguese. He can probably help you out if you can speak either of the two languages. He comes highly recommended from me.
His card shows a little picture of a car and says "GENILSON DA SILVA RIBEIRO - Guia Turistico" (tour guide). His cellphone is (48) 9972-0056, and his home phone is (48) 234-3972. His address is listed as "Rua: Manoel Sebastião dos Santos, 104 - Pantanal - Florianópolis - Santa Catarina".
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