In the morning, we had breakfast of pitas and cheese with milk, also the pao de queijo I brought last night.
At 8 a.m. I had to leave and catch my bus to Lapa, a place that reminded me of Honduras. This was the Brazil I came to see, with cobblestone streets and Portuguese colonial architecture. Most of it is gone, but the parts that are restored are quaint and in pristine condition.
There's an old theatre and a couple museums about the siege of Lapa. A battle when some anti-nationalist rebels were stopped from traveling to Rio to try and break up the newly from ed country (I think). Things get lost in translation sometimes.
I picked up some chocolates from a farmers' market for Adriel and hoped they wouldn't melt. After stopping at a few museums, I had some coxinha de forofa at a famous bakery, Panificadora Zeni which I drank with a Skol "EXTREME" behind the old city hall. Actually it was a really awesome beer. It is now my Brazilian favourite.
I wanted to try some cattle driver food, so I looked at a place that was #2 on TripAdvisor. They didn't have the dish I wanted, so I went to the one in the guidebook. It seemed to be set up for tour buses *blech*, but I went anyway. It was good, but wayyyyy too salty. I guess those cattle drivers had to store their food somehow.
After maybe three cups of coffee and eating all the fried bananas, I went to the last museum, Casa Lacerda, the house of the man that defended the city during the revolution. It was really beautifully restored, for real the best "famous person home" I've ever seen.
In most of the museums in Lapa you must wear booties to protect the floor I guess. I remember this in Indonesia. What little money they have for museums, I suppose, they want to protect it.
There were maybe two hours until the next bus back, so I bought another beer and caught the wifi signal in the park beside the restaurant as I waited. At one point I was serenaded or sexually harassed by some drunk hobos walking by, twice.
I must say though, as a tourist, this little town really has its act together. The tourism office is close to the bus station, it has nice maps and it's easy to find beside the city's main church. There are no maps online, believe me, so this was perfect for me. The town is so small, that anyone I asked knew where all the most popular stores and restaurants were. Even the homeless people were friendly.
The museums were obviously make-work projects for some of the overachieving teenagers in town, but it was super cute and way nicer having them guard me, rather than the para-military jerks at the museums in Curitiba. This really was the Brazil I had hoped to experience. There was homey tasting traditionally prepared food and a much slower pace of life, leafy parks scattered around with kitchen table entrepreneurs selling produce and homemade wares in the shade. It's a stereotype, I guess, but it's one that I think should be cherished and preserved, something the people in Lapa have done well. Their unassuming colonial style blends seamlessly with modern day designs and they have made it a perfect tourism getaway instead of the more common stifling traps I have found in the city.
I took the bus back at 4 p.m. but hadn't heard from Adriel all day. I left half of my stuff at his place, so I was a little concerned. I got on the bus anyway, hoping he'd get home by 6 p.m., when I'd arrive. I sent him another message when he wasn't at his house, saying I was waiting for him. Sigh.
After waiting an hour, he finally called the security guard, who had been calling him for me. Adriel reminded me that he had left the door open, as he mentioned at breakfast. Oh my god, I totally forgot. I went upstairs and let myself in without a problem. He even left me some garlic bread and banana cake for dinner. Adriel stayed out with his friends all night, so I had the whole place to myself. Nice. I slept for 10 hours that night.
Igreja Matriz de Santo Antonio
Igreja Matriz de Santo Antonio
Lapa historical museum
Lapa arms museum
Me vs. coxinhas
Me vs. banana