19th Feb 2010
We arrived at our very centrally located hotel by 6.45am, luckily the rooms were ready so the first thing I did was crash out for a few hours. Fran then did an orientation walk of the city to show us the main sites. It´s one of the most prosperous cities in Brazil and is the third greenest in the world. It´s a very pleasant place to spend a day or so though there isn´t a massive amount to do. Some of the girls decided to go shopping but I wanted to get out and see things so I did the hop on hop off bus which some of you will know is a slight obsession of mine! I stopped at the Botanical Gardens for lunch and to take some pictures before completing the loop in about 3 hours. I was really glad I did it and I saw lots of parts of the city that I wouldn´t have otherwise. I also topped up the tan nicely by sitting on the top deck...Fran said that every time he´s been to Curitiba it´s rained but we must have brought the good weather with us.
Afterwards we had a few drinks in Lyndi´s room (Rachel´s tour leader) to celebrate her birthday before going out to The Farm, a restaurant and bar where all four Tucan groups had planned to go that evening. It was my first experience of the Brazilian tab system; you get a piece of paper on arrival, they write down what you have during the night and if you lose it you have to pay a ridiculous sum of money to be allowed to leave! There was a bit of a dispute when one of the guys was trying to buy the girls some cocktails and we got the distinct impression they weren´t going to make us the drinks even though he had already paid for them!
Later we went to a club round the corner and experienced more paperwork....this time we were given a piece of paper on arrival, told not to lose it and then it was promptly snatched off us by a lady inside and we were marched into a holding area! I was not in the mood by this stage and felt that they were trying to stitch us up, suddenly my Portuguese came back to me and I told her that the paper was perfectly safe in my handbag and to give them back to us. After this it was all fine, the problem was that a couple of girls in our group had gone ahead and thrown the paper away and they were trying to tell us not to do the same. The lady was all smiles afterwards but I couldn´t help feeling a little uncomfortable about their system and that it wasn´t as friendly a country as the rest of South America has been so far. We didn´t end up staying very long as it was so hot in the club, Latin American nightspots really need to invest in some air con!
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