A Travellerspoint blog

It rained all day

I had a leisurely breakfast in the morning, two cheese sandwiches, fruit and a lot of cafe com elite.

The hotel owner even drove me to the ferry when I told him I would walk there. I beat the giant Paranagua ferry (the one I was originally going to take) by at least two hours, I think. That meant I could find my hotel before they did, on this busy Easter weekend.

The woman at the info booth didn't help much, but a random dude walked around with me and brought me to an old lady who had some shacks in the backyard. Perfect, because I forgot to bring enough money. I had 76 reals left for two more days on the island ($20). I'd have to lay low for the rest of the time. That was OK, because it was raining and clammy out anyway. I bought some ramen for dinner and granola with yogurt and fruit for breakfast, so I was pretty much set with 50 reals left for tomorrow, phew.

Camping Tia Lenita

Camping Tia Lenita


Camping Tia Lenita

Camping Tia Lenita


Encantadas

Encantadas


Encantadas

Encantadas

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Crazy bus problems

I was lucky enough to catch the 6:30 bus to Curitiba after work. I went down to the highway right after my last class and figured that if no bus came, I'd just walk to the rodoviaria, where I know there was a bus leaving at 6:30 for sure.

Anyway, a ton of people had the same idea, so I just waited with them and followed them to Ponta Grossa. I had about 30 seconds to buy my ticket and a big white sign said CURITIBA 6:30, so I asked for that one and ran to the bus. As the driver was leaving the station, he said "something something Paranagua", so I ran to try and tell him I bought the wrong ticket.

A random guy who spoke English told me that I just had to stay on the bus and I could pay later. OK, cool. I wrote to Francine in Curitiba to cancel, and then to Ingrid in Paranagua to let her know my arrival time. Ingrid said she'd pick me up and everything was fine for an hour.

When we got to Curitiba though, a huge line was waiting to get on our bus, and they kicked me off, telling me to buy a ticket on the next bus, leaving at 11:15. Oh good god. I'd arrive in Paranagua at 1:15 a.m. Ingrid said that would be fine, but I still felt guilty, and also wanted to get a little extra sleep tonight, so I took an earlier bus to Pontal do Sul, which was actually closer to Ilha do Mel and had more frequent ferries to take in the morning.

It was pouring when we arrived, and I was the last one on the bus. The bus station manager wouldn't even tell me which direction to walk in to get a hotel, so I just took off on my own toward some lights. I found a bar/convenience store where the owner drew me a terrible map and I didn't get anywhere near any hotel.

Undeterred, I kept walking toward the ferry, pretty sure I would find something. All i Found was an angry dog and gave up looking. I saw a man and woman in their yard and asked them where I could stay. After a few minutes of not understanding each other, they offered me their couch, but I felt bad again, so I went back to searching on my own. Finally, I saw a taxi and flagged it down. The driver took me to a hotel, almost exactly where I had gotten off the bus! I was so angry at that bus station man. I paid the driver and took a room. It was clean and sparkling white. Good enough.

Pousada Caminho das Ilhas

Pousada Caminho das Ilhas


Pousada Caminho das Ilhas

Pousada Caminho das Ilhas


Pousada Caminho das Ilhas

Pousada Caminho das Ilhas


Pousada Caminho das Ilhas

Pousada Caminho das Ilhas

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Bee-You-Tee-Ful Antonina

I arrived at Franciele's house at about 1:30 a.m. There was a complicated security process involving cameras and a man yelling at me in Portuguese through a PA system. He eventually opened the two metal doors via some sort of robot, and I went inside. Franciele lived on the 14th floor and she wasn't home, she left the door open for me while she went to a concert. Such a nice lady! Even though she wasn't home, her small dog was. And he begged me to jump in bed with me, so I let him, and I snuggled with him all night.<br style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"><br style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;">My alarm went off at 6 a.m. and I left Franciele, still sleeping in her bed. The bus was supposed to leave at 7 am, but it was full so I had to leave at 10. I was too chicken to go back to the super secure apartment complex, so I got some breakfast for 8 reals (some sort of mashed up beef deep fried) with a cafe com leite. I killed time looking up fancy restaurants in Antonina and downloading the maps.<br style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"><br style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;">The bus finally left and I slept the whole way there. I was pretty sure a real gaucho was sitting beside me, cowboy hat and all.<br style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"><br style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;">I arrived in Antonina at around noon in stifling heat. I was thirsty and hungry, but the restaurants probably weren't open yet so I went up to the old church and walked back to town along the waterfront.<br style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"><br style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;">It's such a quiet peaceful place, even the drunks sitting under the shade singing at the top of their lungs add to the charm. <br style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"><br style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;">I found the restaurant Cantina Casa Verde very easily, and immediately ordered the barreado. It was a little expensive and when he brought out some tasteless mush and beef stew to eat with three bananas and rice, I was quite disappointed. I wasn't disappointed with the amazing locally brewed beer, but I was shocked at what they were selling for 80 reals. When I got the bill I was surprised they had knocked 20 reals off the price. So, maybe the original price was for two people, I'm not sure. My first taste of barreado was not very impressive.<br style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"><br style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;">I went back to the port with another German beer from the supermarket and just hung out there until it was time to go. I tried to get the bus back at 4:15, but it was sold out so I had to wait for 7:50. Not such a problem because the waterfront was so relaxing, but I missed going out with Franciele and her friends.<br style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"><br style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;">I got back to her house at almost 11 and Pagu, the dog, was not there. The window was open but there was no dog, I had a twinge of concern... I took a shower, then Franciele showed up with her dog in tow and I was relieved he didn't jump out the window after all. We talked for a while and then went to bed.<br style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"><br style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;">In the morning Adriel from last week invited us to his place for breakfast so we brought the dog and he made us tapioca pancakes with cheese. We sang some songs and then went for a picnic with Francieles friends in tangua park.

Breakfast, deep fried something

Breakfast, deep fried something


Box do Eliseu

Box do Eliseu


Antonina

Antonina


Antonina

Antonina


Antonina

Antonina


Antonina

Antonina


Antonina

Antonina


Antonina

Antonina


Antonina

Antonina


Me vs. Antonina

Me vs. Antonina


Antonina port

Antonina port


Cantina Casa Verde

Cantina Casa Verde


Porto de Cima beer at Cantina Casa Verde

Porto de Cima beer at Cantina Casa Verde


Barreado

Barreado


Cantina Casa Verde

Cantina Casa Verde


Old theatre

Old theatre


Antonina

Antonina


Antonina

Antonina


Antonina

Antonina


Antonina streets

Antonina streets


Graffiti

Graffiti


Antonina

Antonina


Antonina

Antonina


Pagu

Pagu

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

It&#39;s really hard to go a small distance

I headed out this morning on the 7am bus to ponta grossa, thinking this should be early enough to make it to Vila velha. Not exactly. <br style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;">I had a little card that the woman at the bus station gave to me with bus directions and I found out it was wrong. There were no times on it, and when I took the buses they told me to take, I ended up at a random place on the side of the highway, 3 km away from where I wanted to go. I was forced to walk all the way there. It was pretty dangerous with giant trucks lumbering by constantly. <br style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;">After an hour singing random songs from my iPod and sauntering down the freeway like a hobo, I found myself at the gate of the park. <br style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;">A man stopped me and after taking what seemed like an excessive amount of time typing on his phone, he couldn't tell me what he had originally wanted to, he just pointed down the street. I kept walking, and the military police stopped me...AGAIN. For some reason he had to bring me to the front ticket office himself, I was about 20 metres away at that point. Where were you 5 kms ago? Whatevz.<br style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"><br style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;">I was getting really tired of this attitude of having massive security for something as simple as a state park or art gallery.<br style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"><br style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;">At the reception area, they brought the one guy that spoke English out and he told me how to buy a ticket and take the bus to the attractions. He was nice enough, but oh great a bus tour...for maximum security purposes we were all shuttled around between the craters and rock formations. They would let us off at various places and then we went around in a little clump, easily observed and controlled. People must really be jerks in Brazil if you have to keep such close watch on tourists at a nature park. People with very young children and retirees who can barely make it up the stairs. <br style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"><br style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;">Other than the transportation and security annoyances, this park was worth the visit, the crater is pretty amazing and the rocks are awesome. <br style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;">You can look straight down into the earth and look up at towering monstrosities made from glaciers.<br style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"><br style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;">Admission was really really cheap, so that was great, and my lunch wasn't much of a ripoff either. It was just the sheer amount of people watching you making sure you didn't go off the path or start turning the rocks into your own art canvas that was disconcerting.<br style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"><br style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;">After I walked around, I tried to take the bus back. My guidebook said it would be easy to flag one down but it was not. None of the buses would stop no matter how hard I waved. A poor family said the next bus came in three hours and they were waiting for it. That was insane, so I just went back to the info guy and asked him what he knew about the bus, he said the same thing, the bus comes at 6 p.m., sorry.

I turned right around and started walking back down the highway. He ran after me with a walkie talkie and the English speaking guy on the other end. He told me not to walk and that he would bring me to the bus because it was too dangerous. Why don't the city planners make the bus go all the way to the park then, if it's so dangerous. It's the main tourist attraction in town! What are people supposed to do? Ugh.<br style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"><br style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;">So it was super nice of him to bring me back the 3 km I had walked in the morning. Then, there was about an hour until my bus to Ponta Grossa came, so I tried the beer with the sexy lady on it that I'd been seeing around town. It's delicious btw.<br style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"><br style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;">I made it back just in time for the 5:10 bus back home, a successful though frustrating and tiring day trip.

There was a major traffic jam on the way home, so I got home pretty late.

The wrong bus to the park

The wrong bus to the park


I was happy until they dropped me off

I was happy until they dropped me off


Crater

Crater


Me and crater

Me and crater


Crater

Crater


Crater

Crater


Me and crater

Me and crater


Crater

Crater


&#38;quot;Golden lake&#38;quot;

&#38;quot;Golden lake&#38;quot;


A fish in the clear lake

A fish in the clear lake


Old people on the trail

Old people on the trail


On the trail

On the trail


Lunch

Lunch


Some sort of pastry

Some sort of pastry


OMG sugar overload

OMG sugar overload


Vila Velha

Vila Velha


Vila Velha

Vila Velha


Vila Velha

Vila Velha


Vila Velha

Vila Velha


Vila Velha

Vila Velha


Vila Velha

Vila Velha


Vila Velha

Vila Velha


Vila Velha

Vila Velha


Vila Velha

Vila Velha


Vila Velha

Vila Velha


Vila Velha

Vila Velha


Vila Velha

Vila Velha


Vila Velha

Vila Velha


Sexy lady beer

Sexy lady beer


OMG TRAFFIC

OMG TRAFFIC

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Marketing and got a new backpack

I woke up without a headache for the first time in three days. I took that as a sign that I need more sleep in general.

Adriel was already awake, but he didn't sleep at home. He was super tired because of sleeping on someone else's couch.

We went out to get a hangover breakfast for him. I got a pastel with cheese and guava and he got some with loads of beef inside. It was obviously quite confusing for the young man taking my order as I yelled CAFE COM LEITE and GOIABA into his face.

We wandered around the market for the rest of the morning. I looked for a new backpack and found one made of recycled truck tarp, so it's a lot more waterproof than my old one.

Adriel bought his daughter's name written in Japanese on a bright orange cardboard and I looked in vain for some new perfume, since I broke a bottle on the floor in his bathroom the day before.

We became quite exhausted, after looking at so many shops, they all start to look the same. The sun was beating down on us and we were ready for lunch and a nap.

We hopped over to the store and bought some wine, pineapple and steak. Adriel whipped up something awesome with olives and we relaxed with our wine over chocolate.

Adriel was desperately in need of a nap, so I went home and left him in peace.

New backpack

New backpack

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

The Brazil I love

In the morning, we had breakfast of pitas and cheese with milk, also the pao de queijo I brought last night.

At 8 a.m. I had to leave and catch my bus to Lapa, a place that reminded me of Honduras. This was the Brazil I came to see, with cobblestone streets and Portuguese colonial architecture. Most of it is gone, but the parts that are restored are quaint and in pristine condition.

There's an old theatre and a couple museums about the siege of Lapa. A battle when some anti-nationalist rebels were stopped from traveling to Rio to try and break up the newly from ed country (I think). Things get lost in translation sometimes.

I picked up some chocolates from a farmers' market for Adriel and hoped they wouldn't melt. After stopping at a few museums, I had some coxinha de forofa at a famous bakery, Panificadora Zeni which I drank with a Skol "EXTREME" behind the old city hall. Actually it was a really awesome beer. It is now my Brazilian favourite.

I wanted to try some cattle driver food, so I looked at a place that was #2 on TripAdvisor. They didn't have the dish I wanted, so I went to the one in the guidebook. It seemed to be set up for tour buses *blech*, but I went anyway. It was good, but wayyyyy too salty. I guess those cattle drivers had to store their food somehow.

After maybe three cups of coffee and eating all the fried bananas, I went to the last museum, Casa Lacerda, the house of the man that defended the city during the revolution. It was really beautifully restored, for real the best "famous person home" I've ever seen.

In most of the museums in Lapa you must wear booties to protect the floor I guess. I remember this in Indonesia. What little money they have for museums, I suppose, they want to protect it.

There were maybe two hours until the next bus back, so I bought another beer and caught the wifi signal in the park beside the restaurant as I waited. At one point I was serenaded or sexually harassed by some drunk hobos walking by, twice.

I must say though, as a tourist, this little town really has its act together. The tourism office is close to the bus station, it has nice maps and it's easy to find beside the city's main church. There are no maps online, believe me, so this was perfect for me. The town is so small, that anyone I asked knew where all the most popular stores and restaurants were. Even the homeless people were friendly.

The museums were obviously make-work projects for some of the overachieving teenagers in town, but it was super cute and way nicer having them guard me, rather than the para-military jerks at the museums in Curitiba. This really was the Brazil I had hoped to experience. There was homey tasting traditionally prepared food and a much slower pace of life, leafy parks scattered around with kitchen table entrepreneurs selling produce and homemade wares in the shade. It's a stereotype, I guess, but it's one that I think should be cherished and preserved, something the people in Lapa have done well. Their unassuming colonial style blends seamlessly with modern day designs and they have made it a perfect tourism getaway instead of the more common stifling traps I have found in the city.

I took the bus back at 4 p.m. but hadn't heard from Adriel all day. I left half of my stuff at his place, so I was a little concerned. I got on the bus anyway, hoping he'd get home by 6 p.m., when I'd arrive. I sent him another message when he wasn't at his house, saying I was waiting for him. Sigh.

After waiting an hour, he finally called the security guard, who had been calling him for me. Adriel reminded me that he had left the door open, as he mentioned at breakfast. Oh my god, I totally forgot. I went upstairs and let myself in without a problem. He even left me some garlic bread and banana cake for dinner. Adriel stayed out with his friends all night, so I had the whole place to myself. Nice. I slept for 10 hours that night.

Igreja Matriz de Santo Antonio

Igreja Matriz de Santo Antonio


Igreja Matriz de Santo Antonio

Igreja Matriz de Santo Antonio


Lapa

Lapa


Lapa theatre

Lapa theatre


Lapa historical museum

Lapa historical museum


Lapa arms museum

Lapa arms museum


Lapa prison

Lapa prison


Me vs. coxinhas

Me vs. coxinhas


Lipski restaurante

Lipski restaurante


Me vs. banana

Me vs. banana


War hero

War hero


War heroes

War heroes


Casa Lacerda

Casa Lacerda


museum booties

museum booties


Casa Lacerda

Casa Lacerda


Park

Park

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Graciosa is the best bus company so far

All of my students cancelled their classes today, so I went to Curitiba a little early. I had to wait all day for one student, and then she cancelled it an hour before her class. What a waste of a day. I'll get paid 24 reals for that, it's $8 in Canada.

I found out how to use the bus to Ponta Grossa today. One goes to the bus station (rodoviaria) and the other goes to the city bus terminal. Last week, I mistakenly took the terminal bus, and got a nice tour of all the barrios in Ponta Grossa. This week, I specifically asked for the rodoviaria bus and waiting an extra 20 minutes for it. It was much faster than last week, though. The sun was actually still up when I left Ponta Grossa. Imagine that.

I went to the usual Princesa dos Campos ticket booth, but they told me to go with another company called Graciosa. It only had two buses to Curitiba per day, but he was right. All the Princesa buses were very late and backed up, there were giant lines like I've never seen before. I don't know what the problem was, but our bus came right on time and we arrived on time as well.

I sent Adriel a message that I had arrived and he had dinner waiting for me, rice with pork and juice. His daughter Yasmin was there, but she soon left for her mom's house on the other side of town.

After we dropped her off, in a really sketchy place, Adriel told me about how he had grown up there and had pulled himself up with an MBA. He now works as a manager at a life insurance company, making a salary he never dreamed of, far away from the slums.

He played guitar, a skill he honed while attending church with his devout parents as a child. He shared some beers with me and we shared some music. I soon felt sleepy and went to bed.

Graciosa I lovvvve youuuu

Graciosa I lovvvve youuuu

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Out on the town with Ricardo again

Ricardo woke up really early in the morning and I couldn't get back to sleep, so we just left for our adventure of the day. We went to see his German dancing friends having a breakfast together. Then, we went to buy some Asian pears from a Japanese buddhist temple.

After all the errands were done, we went to Opera de Arames, a theatre built out of pipes and wires. It was pretty nice.

From there, we drove over to Park Tangui, where we had some popcorn and walked around until we found the Ukranian memorial, a reproduction of a historical church with exhibits of pysanky.

The last two stops on my agenda were to go to Santa Felicidade, the Italian part of town and Torre Panoramico. In between those two places, we danced with Ricardo's German folk dance group.

In Santa Felicidade, I told Ricardo to choose a place, because I had no idea what would be good, it just had to be Italian. I was laughing my face off because there were so many cheesy things, like a statue of a huge bottle of wine and giant angels, right in the middle of the street. It was amazing. Ricardo said "Oh it's not like Italy?" No, not at all, honey.

While the ambience was quite different, the food was amazing. We stopped in at a buffet type place, where they came around to your table with various delicious things. I bought a bottle of wine that was way too big, and couldn't even drink it all.

Ricardo had dance practice so I joined in on a few dances, they really had a lot of fun doing that for hours at a time, it was infectious. I can't believe I forgot how to polka after all those years.

We still weren't tired, so we went to Torre Panoramico at the top of the communications tower at the top of the tallest hill in Curitiba. Ricardo slept in the car while I looked around at the top.

Then, we came home and I fell right asleep. I didn't wake up until 5:30 a.m., 11 hours after I went to bed. Phew.

Opera de arame

Opera de arame


Opera de arame

Opera de arame


Opera de arame

Opera de arame


Ukrainian memorial

Ukrainian memorial


Ukrainian memorial

Ukrainian memorial


Ukrainian memorial

Ukrainian memorial


Ukrainian memorial

Ukrainian memorial


Tingui park

Tingui park


Italian food in Santa Felicidade

Italian food in Santa Felicidade


Torre

Torre


Torre Panoramica

Torre Panoramica


Torre Panoramica

Torre Panoramica


Cheesy statues in Santa Felicidade

Cheesy statues in Santa Felicidade

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Macumba and a gay bar

Ricardo met me at the bus station again and we headed straight to the Macumba church. They were having a gathering to communicate with spirits via special medium people. It didn't cost anything, so Ricardo said I should ask one of them a question.

A woman came over with a clipboard and told me I could talk with a certain balding bearded man, sitting crosslegged on the ground, comforting a visibly distraught woman. He was all dressed in white and he wore all sorts of imitation gold jewelry. At least seven giant rings with huge plastic stones were on his fingers, and at least three gold necklaces with huge links reached his belly.

He sipped from a glass of red wine and spread a white cloth in front of him, scattered with coins and trinkets. I remember one of them was a metal bicycle keychain, I don't know what all these things signified but it made him seem more legitimate. A woman placed a small wooden stool in front of me and I sat down on it, hovering above the him. The woman was also all in white, with a red sash slung around her hips. She would be my interpreter.

The man looked at me with impatience, and I suddenly wanted to turn around and go home, feeling like an imposter. I didn't have any faith in spirits, there was no reason for me to be there except to observe. I didn't think I should get involved. I told the interpreter that I didn't have any problems, just that I felt directionless. I was pretty sure that the man had sensed my lack of commitment to his faith, and he almost rolled his eyes as he listened to the woman in white tell him what I said.

He answered that he couldn't tell me my mission, because it's everyone's mission to find their own mission. He wanted to know about my job and hobbies, so I told him. He said I should become more religious, and write about my travels more. OK thanks for the insight. I was hoping for something a little more detailed, but I wondered if I would've even listened if he did have something specific to say.

The man angrily thrust a small white candle into my hand and told me to light it at the feet of the statue of Jesus outside. I was meant to pray and ask Jesus my question, instead of him. NOW! GO NOW! he snapped.

He abruptly changed his soft demeanour and I became a little frightened, put my sandals back on and scurried out the door. I was accompanied by another woman in white outside, where they watched me place the candle on the shrine. It would have been nice to have a minute to think about my question, but it wasn't going to happen.

Ricardo went out for a smoke and I chatted with a shaman woman who was overly excited to meet me. When Ricardo came back, we watched the mediums bless an antique wagon wheel. They adorned it with colourful ribbons and danced around it, casting positive energy its way. The owner of the wheel would proudly display it in their home and hope that it would bring them good luck.

From there, we went to a crazy gay bar, where I ordered the most expensive drink on the menu. It was 30 reals ($10). I thought it would be like a long island iced tea, but I ended up getting some sort of crazy giant drink that the bartender tried to make me down all in one go right in front of him. I got angry and said that I wasn't a child and didn't do this anymore. I told him I didn't know what sort of drink I was ordering, and he should let me just drink my crappy drink in peace. He finally let me, but it took a long time.

I let Ricardo fraternize with his people while I stayed out in the smoking area practicing my Portuguese. A woman I introduced myself to got a little friendly and I had to tell her "no gosto meninas", she left pretty fast. Then, I started talking to the young gay guys and they were quite friendly. A really creepy drunk one that looked like Justin Bieber came over at almost the same moment Ricardo did. Ricardo tried to kiss him without even introducing himself at all, but he got rejected, and then we left.

Macumba group

Macumba group


The macumba shrines

The macumba shrines

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Banana pancakes and the rainforest

In the morning, I washed all the dishes while Ricardo was out, and when he got back he made me banana pancakes.

I mentioned that I would go to the Universidade Livre do Meio Ambiente before going back home and Ricardo offered to drive us both there. This place is a small rainforest park that was founded by Jacques Cousteau. It was an old quarry that had grown back into a nice humid jungle. They put some wooden walkways in, a couple of classrooms and bam, outdoor education centre. There were also lots of people taking wedding pictures, and even one family taking pregnancy pictures. Eek.

We walked back to the car and got lost, wandering around quiet suburban streets and getting chased by angry dogs.

When we finally found the car, Ricardo dropped me off at the bus station and I attempted to buy a ticket for the 12:30 bus back to Ponta Grossa. Even though there was still five minutes until the bus left, the ticket man wouldn't sell it to me. This is not China, where they would sell the ticket up to the minute and yell at you to "GO GO GO!" to the bus platform. Not in Brazil folks. I'm sure not in China anymore.

In Brazil, if there is five minutes until the bus leaves, you have to get on the next one, which is coming in an hour and half. There is no running for any bus, ever.

Universidade Livre do Meio Ambiente

Universidade Livre do Meio Ambiente


Universidade Livre do Meio Ambiente

Universidade Livre do Meio Ambiente


Universidade Livre do Meio Ambiente

Universidade Livre do Meio Ambiente


Universidade Livre do Meio Ambiente

Universidade Livre do Meio Ambiente

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Hitting the town with Ricardo

The secretary at work told me the first bus would leave at 5:25 a.m. I thought that would be great, because I'd get to Curitiba by 8 a.m. and have a full day for exploring ahead of me.

So, I woke up at 4 a.m., ready to go back to sleep on the bus. I sauntered on down to the bus terminal and what do you know, everything was closed and there was no bus in sight. I looked at the bus schedule again just to make sure, and there it was, the first bus was leaving at 7:30. Oh...my...god...

I went back home and slept for an hour, only to wake up again at 7, in time for the actual first bus to Ponta Grossa. That bus came right on time, and then I ran to catch the 8 a.m. bus to Curitiba, but it was full, so I had to leave at 8:45, with an arrival time of 10:45.

Ricardo, my couch surfing host was already up, he was excited to meet me at the station. When I got there, he was waiting, and he whisked me off to the botanical gardens. He also brought his little dog named Shanna and we wandered around in the greenhouse and art gallery.

Then Ricardo dropped me off at the Oscar Niemeyer museum on the other side of town. Once again, I was not a fan of Curitiba's museums. The guards followed me around like hawks and they berated me for having an empty (!!!) bottle of water. They showed me the special water drinking spot where you had to pour water into a cup and drink it there and not move one inch, while under official supervision, of course. I drank a cup and emptied the glass into my mouth, then I carried it around so as not to waste it, when I went back for another swig of water. Nope, that was also haram. The guard ripped it from me and threw it out. By the time I was done at the museum, I had four plastic cups taken from me and sent into the landfill. Brazil, you are stupid and wasteful, and I don't like you.

Half of the exhibits were closed because I had bad timing, arriving in between some temporary exhibits, so it was also disappointing. There was no art in the famous "eye" of the museum. I climbed all the way up there only to see some detritus, then went back down to look at the rest of the art.

On the way back to Ricardo's house, I asked an employee at the bus station for directions. I had interrupted her romance novel, so she wasn't very friendly. I kept saying "escrevo! escrevo!" so that she would write down which bus I had to take, but she refused, over and over. It wasn't until a man who could speak English told her I what I wanted, that she finally wrote down the name of the bus station where I had to change buses. Again, I was not impressed, Brazil.

When I arrived at his house, Ricardo wasn't there. I went to buy some snacks and beer, and by the time I was back he was home. He invited his other gay friends over and we ate dinner while I listened to a lot of people speaking Portuguese and drank my beer alone. They wouldn't drink my beer, but they passed around some shots of apple rum, which I thought was peculiar, but I went with it, of course.

Curitiba botanical gardens

Curitiba botanical gardens


Curitiba botanical gardens

Curitiba botanical gardens


Curitiba botanical gardens with Ricardo and Shanna

Curitiba botanical gardens with Ricardo and Shanna


Oscar Niemeyer Museum

Oscar Niemeyer Museum


Oscar Niemeyer Museum

Oscar Niemeyer Museum


Oscar Niemeyer Museum

Oscar Niemeyer Museum


Oscar Niemeyer Museum

Oscar Niemeyer Museum


Oscar Niemeyer Museum

Oscar Niemeyer Museum

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

I got robbed

When I woke up there were two men sleeping in my dorm room. OK, it's co-ed I guess, interesting that no one told me.

I went to have breakfast and the only person to try to speak English to me was Andreas, a young mechanical engineer from Bogota. He was studying here for two weeks. After breakfast we decided to go to the main art gallery in the south of the city. It resembled the Guggenheim, but again, there was not too much inside.

We took the bus back downtown and had a famous hot dog with parmesan cheese and peas inside. It was a big mess but the pigeons loved it.

We went back to the central market and some guy ran past me and I thought he grabbed at my silver barrette that I sometimes attach to my bra strap. I was confused for a few minutes until I realized this man had ripped my grandmother's necklace right off of my neck.

It was understandably upsetting, but there was nothing I could do anymore. He was long gone already. I was just sad because I kind of thought I'd have my grandma there with me close to my heart forever. It also made me upset because I had thought about packing the necklace away until I left Brazil. At the time, I had decided not to because it wasn't an ostentatious piece of jewelry at all, only a small heart (with small diamonds yes) but not "blinged out", so I kept it on.

Anyway, I can't change my decision now. All I can do is hope this guy can buy some good cocaine with it and whatever pain he has that caused him to act like that is temporarily dulled for one more day.

Andreas spoke Spanish, not Portuguese, but he managed to help me make a report to the police. They didn't even take my contact information, we just did it for the statistics I guess.

I was really shaken up after that. We went to another art gallery in a beautiful old building and saw some other sights around town, until Andreas got tired (he had flown in on a red eye the night before).

Back at the hostel, I called my mom and cried about the whole ordeal, but in the end, it doesn't matter anyway, it's just some metal. Other people heard me talking and came in to tell me their robbery stories. One woman, Carla, had her cell phone stolen nine times in Rio, where she lives. Once, she was threatened at gun point to give her phone up. She said she was tired of filing police reports, and just wished something would be done about it. Even if you have "track my phone" activated and you do find it, chances are, it's in a favela and you can't go in there to get it anyway.

The hostel manager also told me that in the last six months he's been getting more reports from his guests, at least once a month. He thinks it's getting worse, maybe from the economic downturn, maybe not.

Andreas and I went out for some microbrew at Quentin's, a bar with the theme of every Tarantino movie ever. It was really loud and really busy. I enjoyed it after a terrible last 24 hours of my trip.

My bus left for Ponta Grossa at 12:30 a.m., so I dropped Andreas off at the hostel and took a cab to the station, wary of walking around by myself in Porto Alegre after all that happened.

Fundacao Ibere Camargo

Fundacao Ibere Camargo


Fundacao Ibere Camargo

Fundacao Ibere Camargo


Fundacao Ibere Camargo

Fundacao Ibere Camargo


Fundacao Ibere Camargo (last photo of my necklace)

Fundacao Ibere Camargo (last photo of my necklace)


Cachorro Quente do R

Cachorro Quente do R


Me vs. Cachorro

Me vs. Cachorro


A park

A park


Museu do Arte do Rio Grande do Sul

Museu do Arte do Rio Grande do Sul


I found a gaucho

I found a gaucho


Museu do Arte do Rio Grande do Sul

Museu do Arte do Rio Grande do Sul


Catedral Metropolitana

Catedral Metropolitana


Palacio Piratini

Palacio Piratini


Praca da Matriz

Praca da Matriz


Praca da Matriz

Praca da Matriz

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

I got molested

In the morning, I decided not to go anywhere with Wanderson. He had talked a lot about it, but hadn't organized any rides anywhere, like he said he would. In addition, three times he said he would pay me back for something and didn't. I don't mind paying for stuff when I'm couch surfing, but just say thank you and don't pretend you owe me.

So, I just went to Porto Alegre instead. All morning, on the bus, with the wifi, I was messaging couch surfing hosts and found Elwis very quickly. He also said he would pick me up at the bus station when I arrived.

He sure was there, at first, I thought he was a drunk homeless person, but then he called out my name and I realized this drunk guy was my host. He helped me buy my bus ticket home and then we went to his place. It was a student co-op, so it was in terrible shape. His tiny room smelled like mould, but the library, where I would sleep, was fine.

We went out to buy some dinner of pastries and more beer. At the table outside on the public patio, he was cutting up a mango for me. He moved his chair too close beside me and started fondling my arm and hand. I told him in no uncertain terms that I wasn't comfortable and that he shouldn't touch me again. Ten minutes later, he was doing the exact same thing.

Elwis wanted to take me to see some Brazilian guitar player which I really thought would've been cool, but on the way there, he said "I really hope we don't see my girlfriend!" and something switched off in my head.

"I don't want to go anymore, don't drag me into your drama," and I marched right back, demanding my bag back and ignoring all his attempts to explain. I told him I had heard enough and that I just wanted to sleep and leave in the morning. (It was already 11 p.m., so I didn't want to go out in the street looking for a hostel at that hour.

Elwis left me alone for about two minutes and came back with a pillow and some water. I sent him away, but he didn't go. he called me a liar and said he didn't touch me at all. I was furious. I grabbed all my stuff and got one of the other students to let me out. On the way out, I told them their roommate was a piece of shit and I went out on my own in the streets to find a hostel.

Luckily, there was a brand new one only about 100 metres away. I paid for my bed and told them the story. They were very upset, and treated me so nicely the rest of the time. I went to sleep in the hot stuffy room, grateful to be alone at last.

Cidade Baixa Hostel

Cidade Baixa Hostel

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

On the hunt for gauchos

I wanted to see some gauchos because I was in cowboy country, but Wanderson said they were all on vacation, or it was too hot to work this week. So, we went grocery shopping and made a picnic to take to a cowboy park outside the city. There was also a small movie set used for a gaucho movie about five years ago nearby.

I managed to see some tired looking gauchos leading some horses somewhere while we were snacking on papaya and watermelon in the park with the cows in the field.

Wanderson also brought me to a tiny, possibly polluted water cascade. We forgot the blanket, so we left early and took the bus back to town.

We went back and picked up the blanket and then went to nap in the park for a while until dinner. Wanderson brought the mate and I brought the peanuts.

For dinner, we had pizza at a restaurant he used to work at. The pizza was cooked on a large stoned and it was packed full of six cheeses. We had some fancy beer and I paid the bill. I had already bought all the stuff for lunch and was kind of expecting to go halfsies on dinner. I guess he had no money at all, so then I felt more sorry for him than anything. He kept insisting he would pay me back for things but never did.

We walked all the way across town to a brew pub that only had two beers on tap. It was a furnace inside and even though a huge fan was blowing in my face, I was sweating just standing at the bar. I told Wanderson I was leaving, but he got them to put one more table outside, so I stayed.

We met two of his friends and one of them lived in South Carolina, so he was nice to talk to. His girlfriend wouldn't even look at me, I dunno what that was about. Maybe she was embarrassed she couldn't speak English at the same level? I paid for the beers again, and when we got home, again, no effort was made to pay me back. I was tired of Wanderson.

Bage church

Bage church


Me and Wanderson

Me and Wanderson


Bage

Bage


Bage

Bage


The small waterfall

The small waterfall


The small waterfall

The small waterfall


The small waterfall

The small waterfall


The small waterfall

The small waterfall


One horse

One horse


Cowboys!

Cowboys!


Our picnic

Our picnic


Picnic

Picnic


Mate in the park

Mate in the park


Stray dog

Stray dog


Stray dog

Stray dog


Pizza

Pizza


Pizza

Pizza


Pizza

Pizza


Pizza

Pizza


Me vs. beer

Me vs. beer

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Sao Miguel and randomly couchsurfing in Bage

Breakfast was amazing! The jams were fresh and the pao con queijo was so soft and fluffy. Fresh papaya and melons, oh my.

I went to the mission right afterwards and spent a while wandering therein, pretending to be a nun. The interior of the church was quite breathtaking. I can't imagine the awe an indigenous person would have felt walking in there 300 years ago. It must've helped convert a lot of heathens.

When I got to Santo Angelo, there were no buses for Pelotas or Rio Grande, so I reluctantly accepted a ticket to Bage, which had a sidebar in my book about cowboys. I found a couch surfing host named Wanderson (amazingly) during my 10 hour bus ride down south. Wifi on buses is the best.

So, Wanderson (which is actually his real name) met me at the station with a huge smile and a big hug. Within the first five minutes, he told me he was gay and also coincidentally that he had taken an STD test today. Wow.

He had fresh rolls and cheese waiting for us at home and we just talked all night, until 2 a.m. His English was incredible for someone who only started learning it three years ago. He told me the Brazilian government had free English classes for everyone who wanted to take them, so he simply took advantage of that.

Breakfast at Sao Miguel dos Missoes

Breakfast at Sao Miguel dos Missoes


Sao Miguel dos missoes Hostel

Sao Miguel dos missoes Hostel


Sao Miguel Dos Missoes

Sao Miguel Dos Missoes


Sao Miguel Dos Missoes

Sao Miguel Dos Missoes


Sao Miguel Dos Missoes

Sao Miguel Dos Missoes


Sao Miguel Dos Missoes

Sao Miguel Dos Missoes


Sao Miguel Dos Missoes

Sao Miguel Dos Missoes


Sao Miguel Dos Missoes

Sao Miguel Dos Missoes


Sao Miguel Dos Missoes

Sao Miguel Dos Missoes


Sao Miguel Dos Missoes

Sao Miguel Dos Missoes


Sao Miguel Dos Missoes

Sao Miguel Dos Missoes


Rice for Jeremy from the bus

Rice for Jeremy from the bus

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

(Entries 136 - 150 of 1028) « Page .. 5 6 7 8 9 [10] 11 12 13 14 15 .. »