Thursday, March 8, 2012

Londrina, Brazil

I've been asked many times where I'll be in Brazil. Unlike the infamous Rio de Janiero or Sao Paulo (which, while the largest city in Brazil, is in fact NOT the capital - just like Burlington is NOT the capital of Vermont), you won't find Londrina in a guide book. And that's a-okay with me. Londrina (which means "Little London") is located in the state of ParanĂ¡, in the south of Brazil. Check out these maps to get an idea: 

States of Brazil 

                                                                                                                   State of ParanĂ¡

So, I'm in the southern region of Brazil, about 6 hours from the coast (ouch). This wouldn't be so bad if the weather wasn't as sweltering as it is.  Mornings and evenings are quite pleasant, but in the afternoon, the temperature soars to 90F and up! But after spending a year in Andes, I'm not complaining.

Londrina has a population of about 500,000, which is a nice size, in my opinion. With four public universities and eight private ones, it's definitely a university town. In the middle of the city is a series of four man-made lakes that are ringed with trails for running, walking, and biking. I intend to spend a lot of time there. 

Since my arrival in Londrina, I've been staying with one of the English professors from the Universidade Estadual de Londrina (UEL) with whom I'll be working this year. Vera and her husband Antonio have 10-year old twin girls, Maria Clara and Laura Beatriz. They have been so welcoming to me, and it's been fun spending time with them.
Maria Clara & Laura Beatriz
Knowing that I'm a museum lover, on my second they they took me to Londrina's small, but nicely done, History Museum (the site's in Portuguese, fyi) where I learned a bit about the history of the city. I won't geek out on you (against my nature!), except to say that Londrina was founded in 1934 (it's young!) and that coffee was an important part of the city's history. The area surrounding the city is all farmland and is extremely fertile, good for growing coffee, among other things. Londrina remains a largely agricultural city. The most exciting part of the day was when Maria Clara and Laura found two abandoned kittens in the museum yard, under a coffee bush (plant?). We had to go back later in the day to check on them and feed them, and the girls were pretty devastated when they couldn't bring them home. It was a tough life lesson on the reality of animal abandonment.

cool coffee exhibit 
Londrina History Museum
Me and Vera
Coffee plant (kittens below)
Laura and turtle (not at the history museum)
In the next post I'll explain what I'm doing here in Brazil and where I'll be working. Stay tuned!


  1. can't wait to read more! so glad you're doing this. (the trip and the blog, of course.) and when shall i expect my coffee in the mail?