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IBIP Day 11 | The Smiling City of Curitiba

May 25
Jessa Barnard, Visiting Experiential Learning Coordinator and Academic Advisor

Written By: Jorian Heal, Craig Henry-Johnson, Justin Kubal, Josh Mathew, Sam Roche, and John Kazarian

Our first visit of the day was to an international port on the east coast of the state of Parana.  It is the third largest port in Brazil, but the largest port in Brazil for grains.  This port was a source of conflict for the war between Paraguay and Brazil.  Paraguay wanted control of this port because it was a landlocked country.  Brazil now allows Paraguay to use a section of the port to export their goods.  We were given a lecture in the administrative building of the port.   The lecture taught us some of the history of the port, numbers from their current business practices, and plans for the future expansion of the port.  After the lecture, we toured the port in our bus.  We saw many ships loading and unloading grains and fertilizer.  

In the afternoon, we took a tour of Curitiba lead by a charming tour guide named Sylvia.  She told us how Curitiba is known as the smiling city.  This was because in the beginning, Curitiba had Italian, Japanese, German, and Ukrainian immigrants.  No one spoke the same language so it was hard to make deals and buy things.  Sylvia said they had to communicate with the human language, the language that everyone knows.  They had to use their eyes and they had to smile.  No one would get a good deal unless they were in a good mood.  Hence, Curitiba became the smiling city.  Later, we went to the botanical garden which is one of 40 parks in Curitiba.  She showed us the cherry blossom tree, or Sakura, given to Brazil by the emperor of Japan.  She said the cherry blossoms bloom for only two weeks.  It is a metaphor for life.  The most beautiful moments are fleeting.  Sylvia told us to take time to notice those moments and embrace the most beautiful times of our lives.

Later that evening, we went to a division one game between São Paulo and Curitiba.  We were told to be sure not to wear the opposing team’s colors. Some of us purchased Curitiba hats to support the home team.  We have never seen such passion at a sporting event before!  It was fun to be immersed in Brazil's culture.  The arena was filled with chants and songs and drums. There was so much life that night.  The game ended up being tied, but we think we can speak for the entire class for how much fun we had.  That game will be something we will remember for years to come and we are glad that we had the opportunity to experience it together.