Saturday, March 28, 2020

Hotel Hide and Seek, Curitiba, Brazil – 19 May 2018

19 May 2018 – I left Irati for Curitiba to make preparations to ship my motorcycle back to the United States. I didn’t leave before I ate a filling breakfast. Man, this hotel has the best breakfasts. Anyway, I got my bike loaded and checked my room that I didn’t leave anything behind. I was off into the unknown again. The route to Curitiba was kind of short and quite easy to drive. I entered into the city maybe 5 Miles / 8 Kilometers later and found a safe area alongside the road to park. I didn’t want to get hit by a passing car. You know how you always hear about how tourists are injured on their last day of vacation. They're so focused on leaving they get into car accidents or hit by a car crossing a busy street. Hence, I needed a safe parking spot to enter the GPS coordinates of the hotel.

I entered the GPS coordinates and set Blanche to finding my hotel. I safely merged into traffic and followed her directions. I see I’m nearing the hotel within 2 miles / 3Kilometers. I’m excited because I’m getting close and I want to get out of this traffic. Soon I’m less than .62 Mile / 1 Kilometer. I’m closely watching the street signs and where I have to turn. I make a left turn and follow the street. The GPS tells me to turn left on a one-way street going the wrong way. The streets are narrow with very little shoulders. I’m within .4 Miles / .6 Kilometers of the hotel. I could almost throw a stone and hit the hotel. I keep going straight and take the nearest left turn and follow the GPS again. It’s recalculating but not fast enough. I stop on the shoulder to let it recalculate. It’s becoming very apparent my GPS Maps are not current with the streets. I either have old maps or the direction of the traffic has been changed recently.

Finally, Blanche gives me directions and I follow them. I come to the corner and she says, make a right turn on Rua Mateus Leme. My GPS / Blanche is annoying me. The GPS say 300 Feet / 90 Meters to the hotel. I get to the side of the street so traffic can get by and ease up to the corner. I look to the right trying to see the hotel sign. I can’t see it and there’s a lot of fast traffic. This is annoying. I’m thinking and thinking and I get an idea. I waited till the traffic light on Rua Mateus Leme stops all the traffic and then I’ll drive down the street. That way I’m safe from traffic till the traffic light changes again. I saw an open parking spot and jump in. My GPS says, I’m here.  

I parked my motorcycle which takes forever. It’s a slight hill or uneven ground. Getting my kickstand down is a pain. Finally, I can get off this motorcycle and look around for a hotel sign. I’m looking for Hotel Ibis Styles. People are looking at me like who is this stranger in my town. Their looks weren’t mean, just curious. Well, I still don’t see a sign anywhere. I glanced up and there were three small signs / banners about 12 Inches / 30 Centimeters square mounted near the top edge of the window frame. Well, blow me down! Blanche did eventually get me to my destination. I have to check out this parking situation. Maybe they have a time limit I can park here before I get a ticket or, God forbid, be towed away. It looks as though I can park for at least 30 minutes.

I see what looks like the entrance to the hotel. It really isn’t very visible. I just saw a woman carrying luggage in from a taxi. I followed her and then I saw the front door to the hotel. The lady passed thru and I after her. I would say from the sidewalk it was about 20 Yards / 20 Meters to the front door of the hotel. It was kind of enclosed and not very visible. I checked into the hotel. The desk clerk spoke some English which was helpful. I asked about secure parking for my motorcycle. He said it was outside and down another level. The parking was separate from the hotel and all parking issues are handled by the parking attendant. I asked the hotel desk person if he could show me where secure parking was located. He did and introduced me to the parking attendant. He also showed me what entrance to use when driving in etc. etc. 

So, I went back to my motorcycle and checked the traffic. I had to drive backwards into traffic to get to the secure parking entrance. I waited till the traffic light stopped all the traffic and then zipped into the entrance and down into the secure parking area. The parking attendant looked curiously at my motorcycle. I took out my cell phone translator and we talked about my travels. He was genuinely impressed from where I started riding, till I arrived in Curitiba. I showed him the route on my Mexico, Central and South American maps. I also gave him both of my blog cards, which he checked out on his cell phone. The one where I rode my motorcycle around the world and my current blog which I haven’t finished yet. He gave me a good spot to park my motorcycle where I wouldn’t have to worry about a car hitting it.

I started unloading my motorcycle. Two trips later I had my motorcycle unloaded and covered up. While I was unloading my motorcycle, I couldn’t help noticing how close those cars were parked next to each other. I believe they were separated by no more than 12 inches / 30 Centimeters. I’m not kidding, I don’t know how the attendant got in and out of those cars. He was the only one parking the cars and moving them around. Before I went up to my room for the final time, I asked the desk clerk if they had any food. He said they had sandwiches and soft drinks. I purchased a Sprite and two sandwiches. Very expensive. So, I was good for the rest of the night. I started thinking, what are my next steps for tomorrow? How well will I navigate the Brazilian Bureaucracy???

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