September 29, 2004 - Curitiba 151 km, 94 miles **

Outdoor pictures have much better definition in sunlight. You won’t see much of that today, but today was a total sensory experience. Wet, cold, wind, loud trucks, bad visibility…

We awoke at 6:30a again, to darkly overcast skies. Here’s the Hotel Villa Sole where we stayed in Registro and the view from outside our rooms.

The hotel has a garden in back and the main interstate highway 100 feet in front. At breakfast Eduardo said “Usually it rains after 2:00pm, but if it rains in the morning, it rains all day.” Dalton and I set off just after 7:00a, back on the BA116 heading SW to Curitiba, and sure enough just after 8 am it started to rain.

Why am I smiling on a par 4 road (wind, rain, hills, traffic)?

Of those four factors, hills were determinate today. After the first 50km out of Registro, we took a break at a police checkpoint on the highway.

It was our last moment of reasonable riding. Around a bend we hit an uneven 30 km climb that took us from 100 feet of elevation (my bike computer has an altimeter) to over 2,000.

Road conditions varied from divided four lanes with shoulders to a simple strip of asphalt. Eduardo took the photo above on part of the interstate that was basically a traffic free for all. Along the way though, there were numerous banana-selling stands. 1kilom about15 bananas costs 2 Reales, about 60 cents. If you don’t want to pay 4 cents for a banana, you can walk off the road and steal a bunch for free.

That’s about the story of the day. We did see a political march with flags (see tomorrow’s update) after which I had a minor spill, then took an official team photo (windbreakers because it got cold as we went up) and rode through a roadside fire.

Some non-photographic notes: They don’t use lawn mowers here, it’s weed whackers for everything from your personal lawn to hundreds of miles of highway. And if they have weed-whackers handy they simply clear the roadside brush with fire down here. Many street signs pay the price. Oh, and we also saw a severed dogs head on the side of the road a bit after the giant frog that hopped away.

The hills kept us from Curitba until after dark, but we walked around before dinner. Dalton and I are enamored of the city, except for the weather. It’s our favorite Brazilian city so far – which isn’t much to say since the only two cities we’ve been to are Sao Paulo and here. But we saw a video of Rio de Janeiro on the news at the Japanese restaurant in Registro last night. A gang of kids was walking along the beach robbing people and ripping bras off women. We don’t think we’d like Rio.

We went to dinner at a Brasilian (as they spell it) or Brazillian (as the rest of the world spells it) barbecue restaurant. Dalton tested the Argentinean Malbec. Note the red and green “objects” in front of him. If you turn the small one green-side up, people rush to your table with pasta. Try it with the big one, plates of meat appear. All you can eat.

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