Curitiba is not Europe!!!
The City of Curitiba is well-known by its transportation system, quality of life, urban structure and cleanless streets. In fact, it seems to be on a higher level of development if compared to other brazilian and latin american cities. The locals are very proud of this fame, ans since most of them have some european ancestries, they do believe in the propaganda they're in a piece of Europe.
But what it seems is not the way it really is. If you are interested to know how most people lives there, take the bus and go to a ride 4 or 5 miles way from downtown, in any direction. You'll see lots of poor districts, hundreds of shantytowns, unpaved streets and hungry people. In the inner city lives 1,8 million people but only 300,000 lives in the fancy neighborhoods around downtown. A good tip is to take a bus trip in the interbairros, a green-colored bus which takes circular tracks without going thru downtown. They are numbered from 1 to 6 (the 1 goes thru the wealthier areas, the 2 and up fits best for the purpose.
Good places to go are "Alto Boqueirão", "Fazendinha" and "Sítio Cercado" districts. Stay in the main street of these places and keep away from a obvious dangerous place. Use a common sense.
Don't trust entirely in the propaganda, behind the beautiful malls, avenues, theatres and gardens, there are at least half of the population living in poverty and without expects of a better life.
Social eyesores turned into social programs
In many communities around the world, the area underneath freeway/highway onramps serves as a gathering place and shelter for homeless families and individuals. In Curitiba, the city's social planners have turned these natural gathering places into cafeterias and job training centers, to help the less fortunate get food and nourishment and give them access to social services and assistance programs.
Rua das Flores (Flower Street)
Curitiba has its pedestrian precinct like many great cities around the world. Rua das Flores (Flower Street), one of the major streets, was in 1972 transformed in pedestrian street. It starts where the traffic is no longer permitted. This happens at the end of Rua XV de Novembro, one of the main avenues in the city that cuts directly through the middle of the downtown area, passing numerous squares and important buildings (Teatro Guaira, Universidade do Parana and the publick library) on the way.
When you reach Rua das Flores, the atmosphere changes. The street is lined with those traditional Brazilian black & white patterns and graceful restored pastel-coloured early 20th century buildings. Rua das Flores is home to numerous stores and business offices and the centre's main late afternoon and early evening meeting point. You find bars, restaurants and cake shops and it's quite common to see street performances and musicians.
At the far end you reach Praca Osorio which leads to the landmark, a small shopping arcade Rua 24 Horas (24 Hours Street), an attempt by city planners to keep the centre of Curitiba alive outside of office hours. As its name suggests, it open around the clock.
here a picture of the company where I work at the moment;
And which had made all of this possible.
Staying here in Curitiba for three monthes.
A detailed report, will follow when I´m back.
At the moment I´m too busy with LIVING !