Porto Alegre grows on me

Foremost and most important today was to get some cash. Drawing cash in Brazil has turned quite into an odyssey. I really hope they will be able to fix this otherwise I foresee lots of problems during the Soccer World Cup.
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After breakfast I tried again to draw cash at the Banco do Brasil. To enter into the service area with the ATMs I had to pass through a revolving door with a metal detector. Two heavily armed securities were standing inside and checking the area. They showed me with hand signs (it’s rare to find someone who actually speaks English in this country) to put my metallic things in a box outside and retrieve it inside. After putting my phone and my camera in the box, it still didn’t work. The female security came to the door and pointed to open the bag, for her to take a look. Then finally they let me inside. Yesterday I had no such problems to enter, although I had the same things in my bag.
Anyway, after all this time and effort, still no cash for me. Just a blank screen and later a couple of numbers I can call.
I decided on trying the City Bank again, which was already in Rio the only bank that gave us money.
Lonely Planet must have its reasons why it includes the location of it on its map. Again a revolving door, this time though the security sent me away.
Then I noticed that here you had to line up to enter the bank in single-file.
I waited my turn and could finally withdraw some cash. Yeah!!
I just don’t get it, how will that work next year and also in 2016? Lots of people will be here from all over the world. City Bank cannot be the only one for foreigners to work. Plus they are making a killer fee every time you withdraw, next to a probably very low exchange rate.

At least I also saw some more sights on my cash withdrawing mission.
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With cash in my money belt, I felt relaxed again and was ready for more sights. The city today showed a completely different face than yesterday. It was full of people, all bustling along. I wondered where they had hidden yesterday. What I found interesting was that it was a working day and still the streets were full.
I get it that the homeless don’t have a job. But the rest? Because Sylvia and I noticed that Brazil must have a very high employment rate, the shops are full of young people. A small shop has easily 4-5 people serving customers.

I made my way to the tourist office to get some information. The ‘Linha Turismo’ was closed on Monday. So no tour bus ride for me. I also asked for information on a ship tour on the lake here, which was available for today. For tomorrow I wanted to get out of the city and asked about a guided tour. Tours were only available in Portugese and from two persons on. We arranged that the agency will call the hotel if there was a second person. I didn’t care about the language anymore, after a while one catches the most important parts.
Just to be on the safe side I also asked for the bus schedule. I will definitely do a tour, with a group or on my own!

After the tourist office (btw we spoke Spanglish) I made my way into the Mercado and looked at the goods that were on offer. The market building looked beautiful from the outside.
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Inside it was not so grand anymore. But all the goods looked fresh and appetizing.
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I took my lunch at Gambrinus, where I finally tried Feijoada.
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After lunch I was tired and needed to go back to the hotel before the little river cruise. Also I wanted to leave my shopping in the room. I bought some Cachaça, the Brazilian sugar cane rum, to make the real Caipirinha at home.

At 3pm I left the hotel for the cruise which turned out to be absolutely worthless. There was nothing to see and I was glad that the boat made it back into the port. Also it was quite expensive (20 Real = ~8 Euro) for the 1 hour tour. This is what I saw.
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After the boat ride I decided that I had enough of sightseeing for the day. I went for a mani/pedi. Time to pamper myself. I walked into a really small shop which I had seen on the way to the port. I was seated right away, got a perfect mani/pedi and the girl even lent me a pair of Havaianas to walk back to the hotel cause I was wearing closed shoes. How nice is that and what an excellent service?

I also finished ‘Disgrace’ by J.M. Coetzee while on the boat trip and started to read ‘Me before You’ by JoJo Moyes. Can only recommend Disgrace, quite a powerful book!

When I made it back to the hotel there was no message from the agency. Guess I will go by myself tomorrow.
Yours, Pollybert

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