Street Food

Trip Start Dec 15, 2010
Trip End Jan 12, 2011

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Where I stayed
Formule 1

Flag of Brazil  , State of Parana,
Sunday, December 19, 2010

First night in Sao Paulo:  Seven hours of sleep.
Second night in Sao Paulo:  Five hours of sleep.
Third night in Sao Paulo:  2.5 hours of sleep.

If this trend were to continue, I don't think I would survive another week here, so it's probably a good thing that I'm moving on today.  Not expecting much from Sao Paulo given its reputation, I've loved every minute here - culture, energy, friends ... shake it all up with some ice, lime, and cachaca, and you have the greatest travel experience.  Had I known how much I would enjoy my time in Sao Paulo, I would've stayed for another couple of days - Parque do Ibirapuera, the mansions of Jardins, the cutting-edge/alternative Luz district, Liberdade to check out the Brazilian Japanese girls on Tri's behalf, MASP, Instituto Tomie Ohtake for an apparently killer photography exhibit ... I didn't have the time for any of it!  But it's all the more reason to come back in four years for the World Cup - mark it on your calendars!  NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!

Despite the killer times, I haven't been able to drop myself into full-blown travel mode until yesterday night.  Normally it's instant as soon as I step onto a plane in Calgary, but the crappy residual effects of the vaccine and the evil pizza have delayed it.  But now that this feeling is back ... it's on!!!  Unfortunately, this had to happen in Curitiba, which proved to be fairly BORING.  Of course, I should've known, given the Lonely Planet's description:  "Curitiba is not particularly sophisticated nor sexy, but its residents enjoy a quality of life unparalleled in other parts of the country."  Words obviously put to paper by a travel writer who could find absolutely no inspiration from a place ...    

Talk of the city offering incentives to get people out of cars and into public transport, how easy it is to get around town, and how it isn't a beautiful city ... who the hell wants to hear stuff like that?  I want to hear about the carefree attitudes, the vibrant culture, the pulsing energy ... that's what people come to see, but apparently there isn't much of that around here.  Who knows ... maybe it's because it's a Sunday, or maybe it's because the city is lacking that certain something that is in abundance in Sao Paulo.  But it's not to say the state of Parana in which Curitiba is located isn't any good - I really don't know since I won't be seeing any of it, but apparently it boasts some of the most unspoiled rainforest and beautiful stretches of beach in the South.  But Curitiba?  Blah. 

I'm glad I cut out a night here from the originally-planned two - not a lot going on here, at least in the city centre.  My choice of accommodations was also a bit suspect - nothing wrong with the Formule 1 chain of hotels in Brazil, but the location near the bus station can be a bit sketchy at night.  The receptionist advised that I not walk around there after 9 PM. 

The plan was to pick a place for dinner tonight and head back to the hotel before the suggested time, and wake up early to check out the city.  That didn't happen - Rua das Flores, the centre of Curitiba's pedestrian zone, was quite lively and led me to a Christmas market.  Restaurant dinner or Brazilian street food cooked right in front of your eyes?  You know the drill - the sights, smells, and sounds of food being cooked ... too hard to resist.  Not everything was good, but the chance to sample so many things was great.  All that street food ... and no stomach problems, other than some minor heartburn.  In the future, I'll worry more about Chicago airport pizza!
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