The plane ride to Curitiba (where Chris goes to school) was less than an hour, which definitely beats the six hour drive it could be. I leave you with a riddle: which is worse- sitting next to a screaming baby or a disgustingly adorable couple on an airplane? Not sure the guy next to us knew the answer.
After arriving in Curitiba, we settled into Chris’ apartment and did some grocery shopping at the market near his place.
Here is a picture of the most famous tree from curitiba (on the right). Chris calls it a menorah tree because without the leaves it is shaped like a menorah!
The day after we arrived to Curitiba, Chris’ best friends Fabio and Isa came over to meet me and hang out. I made some bomb hamburger soup and garlic bread for them, and they brought gluten free, dairy free cake. Obviously I liked them a lot from the get-go.
We played a board game called Image and Action, which was really cool, especially because the game was in Portuguese, an added challenge for me. We played the game and listened to music, and only got a couple noise complaints from next door (and a passive aggressive letter). Fabio and Isa were amazing, and we had so much fun I was surprised what I saw on the clock when they left- 2am!
The next morning, Chris and I went to Shabbat at the Chabad of Curitiba. What happened there was beautiful. First, I talked to one of the Rabbis and we played Jewish geography. Turns out he knows my friends and mentors from the Claremont Chabad and my home Chabad! (PS, if Jewish geography was a legit game, Chabad Rabbis will always win. Period.) Second, at the Shabbat lunch, there was a wonderful mix of Hebrew, Yiddish, Portuguese, and English being spoken. This made me feel so blessed to be in a world where no matter where you go, there is always a community of Jews waiting for you. It doesn’t matter which language you speak, what color you are, what flag under which you live, you are welcome. I love traveling, I love Shabbat, I really really love my Jews.
The next day, Chris took me to a huge park in Curitiba, called Barigui Park. It’s a famous park and home of these wretched animals called capybaras (related to the rodent). Chris thinks they’re cute; I beg to differ.
In the park, there’s a huge convention center that hosts different fairs every month. We went to the May fair, which was arts and crafts from different countries all over the world. It was very cool and I bought a ring from Greece with an evil eye on it.
For those asking me how Chris is treating me, here’s a picture that is worth 1,000 words. Breakfast, in bed, in Brazil. Not too shabby.
That day, I was telling Chris how much I liked the food here, but I am missing some good Asian food. Just that day, we found an Asian market that had some of my favorites: mochi, kimchi, dried fish, wasabi peas, and even some good gluten free bread. It was a glorious find.
The next day, we walked downtown for dinner at a place called Brooklin Cafe, near Sao Francisco Street (yes, still in Brazil despite the names!). The restaurant owner made me a special meal of flavored rice, meat, and potatoes, and I was one happy girl.
The next day, we went to an organic fruit market with Fabio and Isa, where I got to try some delicious Brazilian treats.
Afterward, we went to the mall, had some acai, and shopped around.
We saw this paper weight in multiple stores. Couldn’t they have at least consulted a fluent English speaker before they printed so many??
While we were walking in the mall, we came upon a bookstore that was having their grand opening. They were giving away free champagne and chocolates, so not #southamerica.
The next day, we went to the eye museum, a museum in Curitiba where one room is located in an eye-shaped building. The museum was mostly media and art, and the eye room was very cool.
Afterward, we walked to the mall for a bit, as I was dying for some agua de coco. Agua de coco (which I wrote about in the last post) is a young coconut that is cut open to drink the water inside and then eat the meat. We went to a chain restaurant called “Tropical Banana”, got the agua de coco, and then asked for them to cut it open. They told us they couldn’t because they didn’t have a knife. I was just as surprised as you probably are right now- they serve coconut water IN A COCONUT and then expect me to throw away the whole coconut without actually eating the coconut??? Preposterous, and apparently very #southamerica. After angrily throwing the whole coconut in the trash (what a waste!) Chris bought me these peanuts in a povilho “little egg”. Totally gluten free and totally yummy.
After some snacking, we walked to Shabbat dinner at the Conservative synagogue of Curitiba. The service was somewhat familiar, and pretty funny to see Bat and Bar Mitzvah aged kids running around, which reminded me a lot of my synagogue at home.
The next day we returned to the mall to play in the arcade. I owned at DDR, no surprises there.
On Sunday, there was a crafts market downtown. We went and found this guy who finger paints BEAUTIFUL paintings in less than 10 minutes. We asked him to make us a custom painting inspired by Jerusalem stone. Here he is painting our portrait!
We stopped to get food before heading home, and I got a wrap made of tapioca on the outside and meat on the inside. A traditional Brazilian snack.
That night I Skyped with my parents and Grandma. They were super excited to see me.
The next day, we went to go see Malevolent in 4D (3D plus chairs that shake, blow air at you, and even release smell). It was really cool, and we got the tickets half price with our student cards. One cool thing about Brazil is that there is law requiring student rates (usually 50% off) for anything cultural including movie tickets.
After the movie, we went to get sushi at “the best bar in Brazil”, Taj Bar. I’m not sure about it being the BEST (I’ll have to go to some more to make that bold assertion), but it was certainly amazing. Sushi was 50% off that night (it was a night of discounts!) so we got a huge plate of 46 pieces.
The next day, I tried my luck at cooking and made a bomb vegetarian mango chili. I highly recommend the recipe!
Later that week, Chris and I helped Isa with a photo shoot project (in exchange for her helping us with a video project a couple days later) and we went to some really amazingly beautiful areas, which you’ll have to wait to see until Isa edits the photos! That night we had a barbecue with Fabio, Isa, and their friends.
A night later, Chris and I went to the movies to see The Fault in Our Stars. It was a great movie, highly recommended, but the screaming Brazilian teenagers were dreadfully annoying. Twilight-style screaming teenagers. Afterwards, we went to a German pub for drinks and dinner.
Chris’ dad and sister arrived in Curitiba the next day to drive back with us to Sao Paulo. They treated us to a visit to the churrascaria, a Brazilian barbecue restaurant that serves all you can eat salad bar and GOOOD meat for only $17 a person! It was delicious and prepared us for the long drive back to Sao Paulo the next day.
Next post, I’ll tell you about the crazy drive back to Sao Paulo and the rest of my trip in Brazil before Israel!