Florianopolis, locally known as Floripa, is considered the city with the highest standard of living in Brazil. But it’s not really a city at all. It has a main central city area, then it connects to an island via a bridge. This island is all part of the city, but comprises towns, villages, hiking trails and endless beaches. It is a microcosm of a small tropical island country.
It is famous in Brazil for it’s oysters, for it’s surfing, for supposedly having the best looking women in Brazil, and interestingly, for having the best taxi drivers in the country. Still groggy after my bus journey, I got a taxi from the bus stop to my hostel. My hostel was located at the northern end of the island, and basically looked like a beachside village. I was struck by the beauty of the place as we drove, glad to have gotten out of Sao Paulo. I had a good feeling, I was in paradise. My taxi driver was female. In fact the first female taxi driver I had had in all of South America, and I took a lot of taxis because they were cheap and public transport was often confusing and potentially dangerous.
We started talking, she told me I spoke very good portuguese, which wasn’t true, but I was doing better than I expected. While we were talking she missed a turn, which added twenty minutes to our journey. She told me to ignore the running meter, she would charge me the average price for the journey. I was nervous at first. I thought she might be ripping me off. But no, she was undercharging me because of her mistake. The meter showed double the price she asked. When I tried to give her a little extra as a tip and thank you, she strongly refused. Not just the best taxi drivers in Brazil, but in South America I think.
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