05.12.10

Florianopolis

Posted in Excerpts at 09:48 am by admin

            I hesitate writing about my hometown, because there is a selfish part of me that doesn’t want everyone to know about this place.  Every time I visit, it is obvious that it is growing way too fast: the highways can not contain the traffic, and the beaches are  overcrowded, especially in January and February, the summer vacations months in Brazil.

Praia de Armacao

 Florianopolis, also nicknamed Floripa, is the capital city of the state of Santa Catarina, in the South of Brazil.   I write about the history of this area in chapter nine of Divine Betrayal.  The city is located on an island also called Santa Catarina.  When I lived there the population was near 30,000.  Today the city has a population of  407,000 and with the surrounding areas the total population is 821,000.  

Newsweek has named Florianopolis “one of the ten most dynamic cities of the world.”  It is also known to many Americans as the “Hawaii of the South.”  Besides being the State’s Capital and therefore housing the Governor and Legislature, it also has several well respected Universities.  However, with 42 beaches surrounding the island, it is a tourist center, and also becoming a second home destination for Americans, Europeans, Argentines, and tourists from other nearby South American countries, as well as Brazilians wanting to escape the larger cities.  It is 711 miles south of Rio de Janeiro and 430 miles south of Sao Paulo.

In the north central part of the island is a beautiful lake called Lagoa da Conceicao..  It is 19.17 square kilometers in size, and near two ocean Beaches, Praia Mole and  Joaquim which are noted for hosting major international surfing competitions. In this same area there a large sand dunes and sand surfing has also grown as a sport. 

The northern half of the island has the most population, with modern homes, condominiums, hotels, and restaurants.  The southern part is still relatively pristine.  The beaches have restaurants, some vacation homes, but no hotels.  When we visit Florianopolis we are fortunate to stay at the Armacao beach.  The photo shows as it is today, still a fishermen’s village, with a picturesque church, restaurants, a primary school, a police station, and just recently a library.

When we visit Armacao we stay with the family of my dear friend Luiz Sabino, who we visited in 2006 shortly before his passing.  On that visit, the beaches were crowded with people bused in or who came by car from Florianopolis.  It takes about 40 minutes to get from the center of Florianopolis to the beaches at the south end of the island.

The south part of the island has a busy airport, with daily direct flights from cities such as Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Curitiba, Porto Alegre and from neighboring countries, such as Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Santiago, etc…

I hope I have discouraged you from taking a trip to this mysterious island, as I want to keep it as my secret retreat but I think I may have “blown it.”  Bon Voyage!

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