I came to
On arrival we were pleased to find HSBC advertising all over the airport. This meant we could avoid ATM fees! In keeping with the city’s spirit of sustainability, we took a bus from the airport into town. On the way we read the literature provided by the airport's tourist information centre. We were happy to see there was a hop-on hop-off bus. However, this one was operated by the local public transit operator, not a private company.
To the casual observer,
The 25 stops along the two hour hop-on, hop-off tour offered further evidence this was not a typical Brazilian city. They included:
·Theatro Paiol, a powder depot recycled into an arena theatre;
·a combined bus, train and city market development, considered a landmark in transportation terminals in the country, when it opened 35 years ago;
·a memorial for Polish immigration,
·a tribute to German immigrants,
·the ‘free university of the environment’ that promotes public education on the environment, inaugurated with Jacques Cousteau;
·an old glue factory that was converted into a creativity centre;
·a park which serves as a tribute to the natives who first inhabited the area,
·a Ukrainian memorial, in tribute to the many immigrants from the
·a gateway to the Italian neighbourhood.
I was particularly interested in seeing the city's relatively inexpensive rapid transit system that uses buses rather than trains or trams. They run primarily on dedicated lanes. A key feature is the raised tubular glass platforms that are the fare paid zone. They allow easy access onto the buses. Hydraulic platforms are available for those in wheelchairs. Lerner claims it works since it wasn’t designed by experts. It seemed like such a good idea, I was curious to know if other cities have copied it.
Unfortunately, I couldn't see some of the other initiatives I had heard about from Lerner. These included a garbage pick up program in which residents of low income neighbourhoods were paid to collect their own garbage...with bus tickets! To make the program more interesting and effective, the bus tickets were also lottery tickets, with draws each week. In another project, park light fixtures were made from recycled glass...by local children
We did see the current recycling program operating around town. There are 5 containers instead of the typical three. One is for organic waste, and one is for ‘stico’ which I am hoping means chewing gum, since I hate seeing it on sidewalks around a city.
One of our best stops was the
While I would have like to have stayed on for another day or two to see a bit more of the city, Sally was eager to get to the