Beware of the brown spider
The loxosceles sp., better known by locals as "brown spider" is a moderate health problem in Curitiba and surroundings. Its poison can cause some minor injuries in most cases, but if untreated can lead to skin necrosis and even death in case of children and seniors. It's bite generally looks like very much a small ant's bite, so keep and eye if the small bite seems to grow different. It sizes varies, standing between 2 or 3 inches, smaller sometimes.
Sometimes they come into the houses and hide themselves inside clothes and shoes. This is the biggest danger, as it normally attacks in defense when pressed against the body. It never attacks without a reason. People are expected to check if there's something inside clothes before wear them, shaking well is enough.
Each year is reported around 3,000 cases of this kind of accident in Curitiba, so be careful, specially in the hotter days.
Safety in Curitiba
Like the biggest metropolitan areas of the world, Curitiba, with their 3 million people, is not free from problems on safety. Street crime is common and although has lower rates than Rio and São Paulo, is enough to set up the visitor's behavior there. When walking on the street be aware of suspicious people and don't stop if someone stops you sudenlly. Don't expose yourself as a lost tourist, and prefer to open a map inside some cafe or shop. During the night, walks become significantly more dangerous, and some downtown areas are very avoided by locals - prefer to take a taxi, in this city are the orange-colored cars.
The mostly subjected crime areas are around the bus terminal, the historic center, the downtown squares (avoid to cross the squares) and the commercial areas of Batel neighborhood.
- Road Trip
The clmate is not what you may...
The clmate is not what you may expect while travelling to Brazil. In winter, temperatures around 0 °C are quite common, and there's no heating in the houses, restaurants or public places, so be ready!
This is Avenida Candido de Abreu in a winter morning.
Police in Curitiba, not always reliable
The police in curitiba uses a light brown suit like the photo below. They are very easy to recognize and they use yellow cars to move around. Since are recently related in some proved cases of corruption and association with organized crime, they do not have a better reputation between the locals. Despite of this, some of them are reliable and do a good job, but be sure of speak portuguese or someone who speaks to you, otherwise even the best policeman in the city won't be able to help you, since none of them speaks a foreign language.
- Road Trip
In autums, falling leaves...
In autums, falling leaves offer beautiful spots in the residential areas. Though the number of inhabitants is not so large (less than 2 millions), Curitiba lies on a very wide area, as most of its residential areas are built with villas, with own garden.
Take it easy on the sidewalks!
One of the biggest claims among Curitiba's residents is the conservation of the sidewalks. This is a problem all over Brazil and this city also suffer with this issue. Many of the downtown's sidewalks are made of portuguese-style pavement, which consists in a mosaic of 4 or 5 inches white rock cubes. This can be beautiful and exotic, but makes any ordinary walk seems to be close to hell, since many of these rocks releases as someone steps on them, rolling unglued and become subject to falls at any time. Sometimes there are seen pot holes instead of the former pavement. Another trouble reported is the thing that, when it rains, the walks becomes very slippery.
In the neighborhoods the sidewalks have different patterns, but equally unfortunate. In most cases there are composed by squares around 10 inches of side which besides the slippery fact, they are very irregular and people are frequently stumbling down. When unglued, it doesn't have the problem ro roll because they are heavy enough, but when it rains, the water that acumulates below is pressed down and turns up into the stepper's legs, making people dirty and wet. Not so confortable.
The City Hall has announced some replacement plan some years ago, but very few streets have a better pavement, and even ramps to disabled people are very hard to find in the Curitiba's sidewalks.
Be Extremely Careful Crossing the Streets!
While Curitiba is an organized street in terms of a grid street design, that doesn't mean the streets of this city are safe. There are several issues with crossing streets in Curitiba. One, the crossing signals don't always work and need maintenance. Secondly, the buses fly by you at high speeds as the drivers are always in a rush to get to their destination (I have heard they are fined if they are late when they return their bus). A third problem is the automobile drivers themselves. For the most part, they don't respect pedestrians. I have seen several instances since I moved here of cars blowing through stop signs even though the sign and paint on the street clearly says "PARE" -stop. Motorcyclists are also dangerous. Here in Brazil, it is common they weave in and out between cars at stop lights, or during moving traffic.
Here are the most dangerous crossings I have encountered here: 1) Marechal Floriano/September 7th street-next to Estacao Mall---buses turn onto the Sept. 7th street and not all pedestrians look.
2) Road adjacent to Rodonorte CCR and Shopping Barigui-road near Barigui Park has a long curve but cars don't let pedestrians cross.
3) Visconde de Nacar/Marechal Deodoro-Be careful as people don't pay attention to the middle bus lanes.
4) Candido de Abreu-main road next to Shopping Mueller; there are several lanes of traffic going from the city center to the governor's office. It can be hazardous if you don't watch all the lanes as not all the traffic is flowing at the same time.
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