Tag Archives: Curitiba

The empty sidewalk phenomena

Unless it’s for taking out the dog or for jogging, Brazilians do not walk; they drive. For one, it’s because badly done sidewalks are another similarity between Brazil and Belgium Brussels.

For the other, it might be because the only poor devils walking are those who cannot afford a car. Or because driving is considered safer; i.e. it’s harder to rob a driving car than a pedestrian; though that certainly is not taking road safety into account.

Anyway, contrary to other cities in the world, I get to enjoy a relaxed walk to the bus station or to the next popular square without dodging fellow pedestrians, strollers or dogs, while only occasionally stumbling over roots or rocks.

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Zoológico – Curitiba

For me, the zoo of Curitiba would not need to star any lions, tigers or giraffes, the South American fauna would be more than enough. I mean: harpy eagles, giant anteaters, giant otters, rheas?

With or without the imported species, the zoo is an excellent area to spend a Saturday afternoon, preferably before 15:00 as this is the time when most Brazilians will come from their extended lunch.

Oscar Niemeyer Museum – Curitiba

I’m not a big fan of modern architecture and the more concrete is involved, the less I generally like it. It’s hence not a surprise that I’m somewhat suspicious of Oscar Niemeyer’s work. Though in comparison with the standard, read: boring, Brazilian architecture – rectangular, concrete, high risers – Niemeyer’s imaginative grandeur style stands out.

And so does the Oscar Niemeyer Museum in Curitiba, designed by and named after him. intriguing, stylish, space-consuming – Niemeyer’s buildings call for attention and provide unexpected perspectives.

The photo exhibitions inside went in line with the outer shape and so we spent an agreeable 3 hours at the MON, liking Niemeyer or not.

Curitiba – even more impressions

Whenever it’s not 14°C max per day with the same – or lower – temperatures inside the house, it’s actually quite enjoyable to spend the ‘winter’ here.

This time from parque Tanguá and parque Tingüi.

A few impressions from Curitiba

If it weren’t for the 15°C inside the house with no heating, one could forget that it’s ‘winter’ down here.

Cold Curitiba

After one year and a half in the warm and sunny Northeast of Brazil, I moved a mere 2700 km south – to Curitiba. While the first few weeks were sunny and not too cold – a beautiful autumn, the rainy and grey winter seems to be setting in right now.

Now, I don’t mind the cold. As long as it is nice and warm when I’m inside. Which it is not! Houses & apartments here have neither insulation nor double-glazed windows. Actually, you can already be happy if the windows are closing properly. In other words, inside temperatures are way too close to outside temperatures for my liking.

What annoys me most is people here telling me over and over again: “Mas você é alema. Faz muito frio na Alemanha.” – ‘You’re German. It get’s very cold in Germany’. To leave no doubt: Yes, it does. But in Germany, houses have f*&$^ing HEATING!

Curitiba – the German city

Curitibanas and Curitibanos like to boast that their city is a German city. While this also includes the German immigrants from the 19th and 20th century, it mainly refers to the order, cleanliness and good urban planning . Or rather it referred to…

Deutsches Erbe III

At a first glance, Curitiba appears to a German about as as Brazilian as any other city in this country: You see the poor garbage collectors, the concrete housing blocks, and the traffic jam that ranges from one end of town to the other.

But the differences do exist: the well working public transport with its distinctive tube stops (there’s even an app to look up the timetable of buses*), the many large parks and the German restaurants downtown.

In the 70s Curitiba enjoyed a moment of near world-famous celebrity thanks to the public transport system. That the city shares nevertheless the same problems as any other one is, according to the statements of befriended Curitibanos, due to the inability of politicians over the past 2-3 decades.

Bushaltestelle

Now, ranting about incapable politicians is a highly popular sport in Brazil, probably only second to football. In all fairness it shall therefore be added that Curitiba, just like the other major cities, has grown tremendously in recent decades. Especially the areas Metropolitanas, the metropolitan area with their  industrial suburbs and favelas, have often more than doubled in size since the 1980’s.**

Even without any preexisting problems but lots of money and good will instead, it would be a challenge to keep up with such a demographic development and to provide the necessary infrastructure, hence schools, sewage, electricity, etc.

Considering then the traditional nepotism in politics (after all, there is a reason for the ranting),  it is perhaps not surprising that also in Curitiba the stadium for a Copa will barely be completed in time. It’s unlikely that Curitiba will lose the self-attributed title of the ,German city’  but it’s one of the facts that highlights the very Brazilian character of the city after all.


* One really learns to appreciate such services after living for some time in a city where the buses come simply when they come and it is not unheard of to be waiting at the bus stop for hours.

** The Brazilian office of Geography and Statistics has some good data on the development of the cities;  Wikipedia provides also an overview of the metropolitan regions.