Reaching a Plateau in Curitiba

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Curitiba is a breeze of fresh air. Not literally—despite its reputation as one of Brazil’s coolest city, it’s still over 30º C—but it’s a relaxing pit stop. I call it the “not-not city”—not too dangerous, not too humid, not too exciting, not too expensive, not too difficult. We reached a geographical and metaphorical plateau, far from the beach, for once. It’s okay. We needed a break.

Going back to a city we visited before is an interesting memory challenge. I kind of know my way around yet I’ve been to dozens of other cities since then and I have to load the right files from my human hard drive. I have vivid pictures of various places in my mind, it’s just a matter of putting them back into context—the 24/24 padaria that saved my life when we arrived late at night from Natal, the futuristic bus stops, the pedestrian street, a posh shopping mall somewhere, the Rua 24 Horas … oh yeah, that street. One day, I bought some food from this small mall full of restaurants and bars.

“It’s convenient to have a street with businesses open 24/24,” I noted when paying for my purchase.

The cashier looked at me, puzzled. “Why do you think it’s open 24/24? It closes at 10 p.m.,” he corrected me.

Duh. Brazilian logic.

But these snapshots are sometimes misleading, they don’t depict the full and accurate picture. I still have to find my way around. Snapshots are just an impression of something brief or transitory. For instance, it was cold last time in Curitiba. Well, this year, it’s hot. We are in a different hotel, in a different part of the city. There is an Asian influence I hadn’t noticed before—all the lanchonetes seem to be owned by Chinese and there are many Japanese restaurants and products.

One thing hasn’t changed—Curitiba shuts down early and it’s hard to find food at night. Luckily, we were a couple of blocks from Shopping Estação, a large modern mall open until 10 p.m. For such a large city, Curitiba has very few supermarkets, which was a surprise to us since Porto Alegre, Florianópolis and Balneário Camboriú had very nice supermarkets from different companies all over the city. Maybe this is how it works in the state of Paraná —Walmart, cleverly hidden under the brand Mercadorama, took over the capital city.

We visited the Museu Oscar Niemeyer and the Torre Panorâmica, rested, did the laundry, worked and walked around. If I put it like that, it doesn’t sound exciting. Yet, it was just what we needed to get ready for the final leg of the trip that will include a bit of craziness.

Curitiba license plate

Mural in Curitiba Centro

Pavement of Rua XV de Novembro, the pedestrian street

Lemon juice from a casa do sucos on Rua XV de Novembro, the pedestrian street

“Without God”, graffiti in Curitiba Centro

Praça 19 de Dezembro (Praça do Homem Nu, “square of the naked man”)

Mercado Municipal de Curitiba

Mercado Municipal de Curitiba

Mercado Municipal de Curitiba

Mercado Municipal de Curitiba (bags of doce de leite)

Mercado Municipal de Curitiba

Mercado Municipal de Curitiba

Mercado Municipal de Curitiba

Mercado Municipal de Curitiba

Mercado Municipal de Curitiba

Mercado Municipal de Curitiba

Mercado Municipal de Curitiba

Bread in a bakery in Curitiba Centro

Mural in Curitiba Centro

Rua XV de Novembro, the pedestrian street

Mural and a fountain, Curitiba Centro

Phone booth Praça Generoso Marques

At the bottom of the Torre Panorâmica de Curitiba

Torre Panorâmica de Curitiba

Torre Panorâmica de Curitiba

Torre Panorâmica de Curitiba

Torre Panorâmica de Curitiba

Igreja do Rosário

R. Dr. Claudino dos Santos

R. Dr. Claudino dos Santos

Stormy weather ahead…

Taxis on Tv. Nestor de Castro

I like it when things are put away nicely…

Mural on Tv. Nestor de Castro

Banana, After the downpour, R. Barão do Rio Branco

When it pours in Curitiba…

After the downpour, R. Barão do Rio Branco

After the downpour, Rua XV de Novembro

Paço da Liberdad, Praça Generoso Marques

Food court at Shopping Estação Curitiba

Snack vending machine at Shopping Estação Curitiba

Mark drawing in bed… (tattoo is mine!)

Us researching options for the rest of the trip

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

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