Where you from? asked the lady in charge of the internet at the bus station in Itajaí. When I told her she said that she was familiar with my accent, she had heard it from missionaries.
How do I get to the Niemeyer museum? The lady at the tourist information in Curitiba made it sound like a long and rather complicated undertaking. I decided to walk into the direction she had indicated. At the Praça Tiradentes (surrounded by quite some signs advertising the services of dentists) I was supposed to find a city sightseeing bus but it had just left and so I asked an elderly man how far the Niemeyer Museum was? On foot about fifteen minutes from here, he said, at a leisurely pace. I knew by then that this probably meant a good thirty minutes at a rather brisk pace - and I was right. Unfortunately, the Niemeyer Museum happened to be closed from 25 December to 31 December!?
Standing in front of the museum, I could see the sightseeing bus speeding by - I have so far never seen a sightseeing bus at such speed, the tourists on the open top deck appeared to desperately cling to their seats, I was glad I had not joined them.
A shopping mall near the Praça Tiradentes had toilets for men, women, and families.
The back pocket buttons of my pants are loose, my shoes are falling apart. I walk into a tailor shop, the lady in there puts herself immediately to work and asks for one real after she´s done ("para um cafezinho", she says). The shoemaker thinks that my shoes were made in Italy. Zimbabwe, I tell him. Good work, he comments. We chat for another couple of minutes. He says they will be ready by two o`clock. He didn´t recognise me when I showed up at twenty past two but the shoes were ready.
Curitiba also meant: a quarter pounder at McDonalds, a Subway sandwich, Chinese food, sushi (twice), mousse de maracuja in the Confeitaria Neuchatel (the waiter said it was a complicated story how the confeitaria got its name; the waitress said, well, the owner had once been to Neuchâtel) and visits to bookstores. Books are expensive in Brazil, in one store they had a table with special offers for 9.90. I leafed through some of them, on the front page of one the original price was mentioned as 5.90. I asked whether it cost 5.90 ot 9.90. Everything on that table is 9.90, the lady said. I did not buy it.