Curitiba, PR, Brazil

08.12.2021 – 16.12.2021.

Curitiba: family, friends, food,fun!

Curitiba is Jorge’s hometown. I got to know the city well in 2015 when I have spent 3 months living there, but there are still many places I haven’t seen. Curitiba counts nearly 2 million people and it is huge also in geographical terms. I heard from a few Curitibanos that their city is considered the most “European” of all Brazilian cities. Curitiba does have a lot of European influences from what I gathered, just like the rest of Parana. Loads of people I met have Polish, Ukrainian, German and Italian predecessors and you can find anything from pierogis to Oktoberfest in this region.

When I first visited Parana, I realized that, even though I knew Jorge for a while back then and heard many stories about Brazil, I still had some sort of stereotype of how Brazilians might look like; you know, stuff we see on TV. Parana proved me wrong; here you will find all kinds of skin tones, eye color, hair type, height,… It is like this in the rest of Brazil too! Lesson learned 🙂

Curitibanos also say that they’re the “coldest” of all Brazilians; some examples are that they won’t start a conversation with a stranger just like that or help another car change the lane in the traffic jam. I wonder if that’s the reason this city is considered the most (West?)European? LOL

Either way, I think they’re absolutely wrong. While I cannot vouch for 2 million other Curitibanos, those that I have met are not “cold” at all. Hugs here are real, strong and long – you know that moment you kinda feel it’s time to let go of the other person – don’t do it! – wait another 5 or more seconds and enjoy – we all missed hugging in these past 2 years. Here is the example of amazing homo curitibano I met (I met these two before all the others; now they even live together!):

Obviously, Curitiba to us is all about spending time with family, eating great food, jamming with friends and having constant hangovers, full bellies and full hearts. Let’s concentrate on bellies first! Here are some of the meals Jorge’s mum and brother prepared for us (see name / link with description in caption):

Now, full hearts! I cannot even start describing how well I was received by absolutely everyone I met. People are so genuine, kind, curious, grateful for my broken Portuguese; they’re always offering drinks, hugs, food, friendship, their homes… I always say that to me Brazil is so familiar. Familiar in terms of what I have just described here above – it is the kind of friendships I have in Bosnia. Brazil is also (politically, economically and perhaps ecologically) as messy as Bosnia. But the way we all talk (over each others), hug, share, love… is very very similar. Plus, since almost all Jorge’s friends are musicians, artists and singers, parties never end… But who can describe the feeling of seeing family and friends after 2 full years better than Jorge himself? Here are his impressions:

This was the first time I have been far from my hometown for so long. In fact I was born in a nearby city called Ponta Grossa, but I’ve spent most of my youth in Curitiba and I feel like a “real” Curitibano. My days in Curitiba always start with a visit to my mom and eating her famous “empadão”, a chicken pie (see pic above). I really love it, and my mom prepares the best one in the world! For me, visiting Curitiba this time was particularly special, I really missed those long hugs from my loved ones!

I also have to admit that my visits to Curitiba are usually somewhat exhausting. There are so many friends that I want to visit, so many places I want to bring Irma to see… But there is this one special place that I visit every time I am in Curitiba, the “Largo da Ordem” (you can see it in this post’s cover picture); it’s the heart of Curitiba’s Old Town. I remember that when I was about 18 years old, I’ve spent most of my Friday and Saturday nights in this place. At that time there was a bar called “bill’s bar”, a meeting point for headbangers/metalheads from Curitiba. Almost 20 years after, I am still friends with most of the same people I used to hang around with back in those days! Nowadays we don’t dress only in black clothes and I can no longer have the long hair I used to have (Irma calls the young me “Pocahontas”), but our friendship is as strong as it was those days. I am no longer that long-haired headbanger but this time in Curitiba I also had the opportunity to be reminded of that “headbanging feeling” and play drums for the first time.

I’ve met friends over lunch and they said that the drummer could not attend the rehearsal and that they would have to cancel. But my crazy wife Irma then told them that she could play drums. She was very convincing that even I was confused and wondered if I somehow forgot that she really knew how to play. Anyway, I let her keep up with the story and everyone decided we would go to the studio to jam a bit with Alan and Uli’s band (our amazing MELA MELA friends!). The guys prepared the drums and Irma was already laughing. So, what happened? I took the drumsticks and tried my luck! Guys, I think I have a new passion!!! Irma said I got it right, but I guess she’s a bit biased :). You can judge it by yourself though – check out the video story here! Thanks Alan, Uli, Alex and Juliano for letting me be a part of your amazing band!

Back to Irma now.

Indeed, Curitiba was also a little tiring. So many people to see, so many places to go to, only one liver to physically support it all. But at the end, the only bad thing about Curitiba are freaking mosquitoes which seemed to be absolutely amazed by my legs. They have here some asshole mosquitoes called “pernilongo” which I pronounced pernalonga – meaning basically “Bugs Bunny.” LOL. These motherfuckers’ bites hurt, you guys! Better come armed with mosquito repellents, creams and antihistamines (I had all 3 but wonder oh wonder, I forgot to use them). Here are the results:

It took more than a week for these bite wounds to heal a bit (I still have some marks). So, we left Curitiba with mosquito bites, full bellies, full hearts and at least 4 hangovers and went to visit our friend Rafael in Mandirituba (1h drive from Curitiba).

Rafael and his family live in absolute paradise. They have loads of land and they plant veggies there. Jorge’s little godchild Rafinha enjoys running in fields around the house, jumping in the swimming pool and playing with the neighbor kid. She also enjoys marshmallows made in her dad’s special barbecue. When I say special, it is special to me, for Brazilians it’s the most normal thing to have in the house. It’s kind of interior fireplace barbecue which serves as the center of the party.

Brazilian churrasco (bbq) is very different from the European ones I have participated in. It is an whole day event in which the main piece of meat is grilled for like 4 or more hours. Rafael put the giant peace of meat in salt, then he put a metal bar through it, wrapped in a special cellophane and then put it into the barbecue for over 4 hours, on mild fire (see pics below). Meanwhile, smaller pieces of meat like chicken and sausage were served. They’re often and usually served with garlic bread & farofa (a toasted cassava or corn flour mixture), accompanied by a “bem gelada” (very cold beer) and sometimes caipiriha or other cocktails (lately Jorge and some other friends went nuts for Negroni, while Rafael’s favorite remains “Talagasso” – cognac and coke mix.)

For us vegetarians there is a variety of side dishes to choose from: garlic bread, “maionese” (potato salad made with mayo), rice, black beans and farofa (so many ways of making it) and other super tasty & amazing dishes.

Churrascos often or almost always include people playing instruments and singing “classics” (Raul Seixas seems to be a star of many of these parties) or playing snooker and always result in too much food and loads of smiles and happiness. Jorge says he already got some weight – happiness makes you expand 😉

Thank you, Curitibanos, for these amazing days filled with love.

We’re now on a farm in Itaiacoca where Jorge’s dad lives. Read about our farm life and about meeting friends in Ponta Grossa in the next post 🙂

2 thoughts on “Curitiba, PR, Brazil

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