Tecpar site visit

Curitiba Travel Blog

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The site visit today was the best one of the trip for me.  It was well-planned and executed, it was very informative without being tedious, and it provided insights very relevant to our studies of business in Brazil, especially how businesses can get started.  But most importantly, the site visit was so enjoyable and beneficial for me personally because the information and topics pertained so closely to my field of study.  I have already been exposed, via friends wanting help or a partner, to the early steps of software business ventures in the United States, one of which was to be started via a similar but private incubator-type company. 

I still have no idea which direction I will take my professional life, or where it will take me, but there is a good chance I will be in a very similar position to many of the people we talked to today:  young students betting it all, pouring everything can into their project.  Today’s site visit has made me excited to enter this new chapter of my professional and educational career, though I still have some more traveling to do before it really gets started.

I also heard a very interesting bit of information.  On at least two occasions the woman leading the tour mentioned that one of the “incubatees” had had to switch directions.  They were hitting a wall in one direction and it wasn’t working out.  Instead of forcing it forward and it not working out, they were flexible and went in a new direction.  I have a tendency to do the opposite, to stick it out to the end and finish what I started, forcing it along if necessary, which does not always work out so well.  I hope that if and when the time comes when I am in a similar situation that I am smart about it, that I don’t give up too easily yet don’t try to force something that isn’t going to work.  Reminded of the serenity prayer?  Lord please give me the strength to change the things I can, the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, and the wisdom to know the difference.

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Being lost in Brazil isn't such a big deal, because there are always plenty of people to help out!  I first encountered this aspect of Brazilians and Brazilian culture when trying to get to the UFSC ("oofskee") in Floripa, where I was to meet up with my Floripa friends.  Talking with the guys at the ticket booth was quite an ordeal in itself.  The only thing I understood was that I needed to change buses at some point, and then they pointed to a bus for me to get on there at the Lagoa station.  Feeling a little nervous and uncomfortable the whole way, I got off at the next station.  A bit lost and not knowing where I was, I made my way toward a kiosk (without leaving the estacion).  As I passed a group of kids about my age who were on the last bus with me, I overheard the word "oofskee."  With my broken Portuguese, I asked how to get to oofskee.  What a pleasant surprise!  They were going there as well and welcomed me to go with them.  One of them spoke english very well, and being with their group made me feel so much more relaxed.  They were all very kind, very different from what I would expect from an average group of University students in the US, even Georgia Tech.  They walked with me to where I was to meet up with Fernanda, and, when she wasn't there, they took me with them toward their on-campus party where a phone would be.  They waited for me while I made my phone call, and then Gustavo gave me his number before parting ways.  Gustavo and the rest of the group were visiting Floripa for a few days of vacation from Curitiba.  Writing this has made me remember that I have his number, I will have to call him! 

Meeting immensely kind people here in Brazil seems to be a theme.  It seems that everyone you ask for help is so happy to help you.  Ask someone for directions in the US and, at best, you get a "left at the next light and down two blocks" type of answer.  Ask the same question here in Brazil, and they are likely to stop what they're doing and lead you there themselves.  From Gustavo and his Curitiba friends on their way to USFC, to Rachel and Sohmer's adventures with the traveling man in Florianopolis (I'm sure you've read a blog or two about it), to the guys who work at the front desk of our hotel here in Curitiba, to night club owners and bouncers who show us around the club, to random people on the street of Curitiba, I couldn't ask for a warmer reception.  And all of them really do seem to be like Gabriel said - always happy, almost care-free.
is not the soccer.  It's about relationships between countries.  Its about the international community, and making the world a better, more friendly place.  Its about cooperation, trust, understanding, and cultural exchange among nations.  Its about building and bettering relationships on a personal level, that translate into the bigger relationship between the countries. 

I was touched today while watching the World Cup game.  The interactions between the Brazil players and the Ghana players was so friendly.  Though they played rough, they were always smiling and helping each other, especially the Ghana players toward the Brazilians.  The ref was rather biased toward Brazil, but on several occasions when he made a bad call, the Ghana player would (after initially protesting) laugh and shrug it off and playfully rub the Brazil player's head, since they both knew it was a bogus call.  This familiar and friendly touching was evident the whole game, but the most tender interaction came when a ghana player tripped up a Brazilian player.  They both went down and the Brazilian ended up on top of the Ghana player.  The Ghana player sat up and litterally supported the Brazilian player until he had recovered.  Another impressive moment was when a Brazilian player did something to Ghana player to deserve a yellow-card.  He went over and apologized to the Ghana player, but did not go and try to complain to the ref.  Instead, he held up his hand as if to admit to deserving the card. 

A good game overall, but a shame that Ghana didn't get any goals, they played so well.  I hope to see games in the future played as amicably as the one today.
A very different experience from clubs in the US, or even Buenos Aires!  I went with a girl I met at the UFSC and a group of her friends, how nice they all were!  We all danced a lot and talked a lot too, though none of them knew much english.  The club was average sized, but what distinguished it was the music that was played, the demeanor of the people, and they way those people danced. 

First of all, there was a live band playing all the great american hits from the '60s to present - bands like The Beatles, The Doors, Nirvana, even the Bat Man Theme Song - in addition to some popular Brazilian music.  In between sets, they played very popular techno songs.  I have never been to a club, concert, bar, or other event with such a varied amount of music.  They craziest part was, all the Brazilians were singing along!  They didn't speak english, but they could sing the english songs, it was great. 

Secondly, the club differed from others I had been in because it lacked the atmosphere of guys looking for prey.  Guys grouped on the outside, beer in hand, looking for girls.  Everyone was just having fun, doing their own thing and enjoying themselves.  People were very open as well - smiling or patting you on the back or saying a few words as you walk by.

The dancing was very different as well - it was amazingly clean!  I did not see any "dirty dancing" - booty or otherwise.  Even in other clubs that I've been in that play just techno or latin, there are still people booty dancing, not that I have anything against that.  It was just amazing to see so many people either dancing without anyone in particular or doing other kinds of dancing with a partner. 
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photo by: joesu