So Karine stayed for the rest of the weekend, and more adventures ensued. On Saturday, we got rained out (in? on?), so more beach meandering was out. We decided to head over to Santos to do some museum hopping!
We tried to go to the zoo/botanical garden/orchard park. It was closed! Booo.
So then we went to the Santos Aquarium. There's apparently also an aquarium in Guarujá, but it's 25 reais, and the Santos one is only 5 reais. I haven't been to the Guarujá Aquarium, but in the case of the Santos one, you get what you pay for. I think it took us about 6 minutes to walk through the whole thing. A lot of the tanks were empty, and all of the tanks were dirty and dingy. They did have a cute penguin area, though, with the penguins I saw in Argentina.
These poor sharks had a tiny tank. You can see my skepticism.
After the slightly disappointing aquarium visit, we ran across the street in the rain to go to the closest restaurant, which was a cute little esfiha place. If you've been to the aquarium, you might know which place I'm talking about. I'm not a big fan of mass-produced, two-real esfihas slathered in fake cheddar, but I got a pastel and it was amaaaaazziiingggg. One of the best pasteis I've ever had. Weird, right? A soft, salty pastel with fresh (not dried) chicken and perfect dough, at an esfiha place? Yum yum.
Thennnn we braved the rain to drive to the Museu do Mar, or the Museum of the Sea.
From the front, it just looks like a little house. Very unassuming and quaint. And when you walk in, it isn't much bigger.
The big hit of the Museu do Mar was the owner/host, who suddenly walked into the one-room museum while we and another family were there and started giving us a tour. The man was hilarious! He clearly has a ton of questionably useful information on oceanography stored in his brain that he is just bursting with excitement to tell people. He was very pleased that there was a little boy on the impromptu tour, because he was hoping to get a child-like enthusiasm out of the audience, and it could only be guaranteed from a 7-year-old.
He was also very proud of his collection of stuffed and dried marine animals: 30 of the 100 Brazilian shark species, all of the 5 Brazilian sea turtle species, a "pregnant" male seahorse (a concept simplified in the presentation, I think on account of the kid), and an aged taxidermied albatross.
He also was the proud owner of a fish tank with live, colorful tropical fish that he'd named, including real-life versions of the fish from Finding Nemo. (Apparently, the Dory-type fish are impressively hard to acquire and even more expensive to buy.)
Another display at the museum was something I dubbed, "My 1995 Trip to Florida":
Don't you love the cheesy gift from a real estate office?
And 5 awesome points for anyone who can find the Joanna Newsom reference:
And here's Karine, being a good sport for the enthusiastic owner/host who insisted that we take a picture with the whale jaw (or was it a shark jaw? the whole thing's kind of a blur):
And here was a framed American magazine article from 1975 (the fun didn't stop at this place!):
Notice the taxidermy extravaganza behind me
Oh yes. O Museu do Mar. Ya know, I did actually learn stuff, like the fact that there are only 7 kinds of sea turtles in the world, and 5 of them call the waters around Brazil their home. I guess I do recommend the place if you're doing a day trip in Santos. It's always refreshing to see someone who's passionate about their job.
That night, we got all dressed up and went to a bar with a view of the ocean:
the green jacket lives!
more aerial views! Fabulous
The next morning, Karine and I decided to go for a walk along the beach. A few minutes into it, I tripped and fell while crossing the street, because I'm awesome like that. My right leg was all bruised and scraped, but it was my foot that was killing me. We headed home. Alexandre was just leaving for work, but was convinced my toe was broken.
So Karine and I spent Sunday in the apartment, and I tried not to walk too much. When Alexandre got home from work, he took me for X-rays. To everyone's surprise, it was not broken, just horribly bruised and swollen and sensitive:
So that put a damper on Karine's last day. I felt bad that she had to spend part of her vacation waiting around the hospital with me. At least it's not broken. Today, Thursday, it's already a lot better.
But all in all, the weekend was a hit! Doesn't it make you all just want to come visit me?! I promise I won't fall anymore. My friend Mary is coming from the US in October, which will be great because it'll be warmer, so she'll get more actual beach time.
Hooray for beaches and birthdays, and food and friends. As Jim says, it's Qualidade de Vida!