This is the photo for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge Pick a Topic #3. She suggests:
Public transportation, bus, RV, trees, bird, whale, tent, grass, bridge, water, white, green, window, or come up with your own topic.
Nancy Merrill’s weekly challenge this week is to show public transportation. I am posting some pictures from our recent trip to Amsterdam and Tanzania.
October 2, 2017
Today was an enjoyable day, especially because we got to choose exactly what we wanted to do. We had signed up for the “Hop On Hop Off (HOHO)with admission to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic” and it also included admission to the Citadel.
The double decker buses painted various colors (like blue, pink, and white) were made in England and used in London until they were “retired” and sold to the city of Halifax. We were told that some London visitors recognize the buses by their numbers and can tell you what route they were on in London! The driver sits on the right side of the vehicle as people do in the UK, but Canadians drive on the right.
The Maritime Museum was Stop #3 and we spent quite a bit of time there. Significant exhibits were dedicated to the 1917 Halifax Explosion and the Titanic disaster. Halifax’s connection to the Titanic is that most of the bodies were retrieved off the coast of Newfoundland and brought to this port, where White Star Line had a headquarters, and about 150 of them are buried in Halifax cemeteries.
The Halifax Explosion occurred on Dec. 6, 1917 (and the city will commemorate its 100th anniversary this year), when two ships collided in the “Narrows,” a less than one-kilometer wide passageway between the bay and the sea. There is a lot of maritime traffic in that spot. The explosion didn’t actually happen when the ships collided, but rather when they pulled apart. One of the ships was a French warship loaded with explosives. The explosion caused a major fire which destroyed more of the city that had not been blown up in the explosion.
Nearly 2,000 people died and about 9,000 were injured, while others were lifted into the air and set down some distance away unharmed or with only minor scratches. About 500 people suffered damage to their eyes, rendering them blind. That is why the display of the memorial quilt is surrounded by panels with the victims’ names stitched in Braille with beads.
The Titanic exhibit showed comparisons between the Titanic and other passenger vessels. White Star Line was known for their luxury liners, but Cunard (which still exists today) had a better safety record.
The Titanic sank off the coast of Newfoundland and about 300 bodies were recovered and brought to Halifax. The bodies were numbered chronologically according to when they were recovered. This was a meticulous process to insure accuracy in identification. About 150 are buried mostly in Fairview Lawn Cemetery (another stop on the Hop On Hop Off route), 12 were buried in a Catholic cemetery and 10 in a Jewish cemetery. Each body had a mortuary bag with its corresponding number, which contained any personal effects that were found that belonged to that person. Some of the bodies were returned to families, but those buried in Halifax were either from families who could not afford to have the body shipped home or were unidentified. Some of the mortuary bags are catalogued and stored at the museum. One item on display was a pair of shoes allegedly belonging to the “unknown child” buried in a special grave at Fairview Lawn. (That child was identified in recent years due to the advances in DNA identification techniques.)
There was information about the separation of first, second and third classes. A lot fewer women and children from third class were saved than those in first class! There were also different menu items for each class.
Even what they got to eat was different! (L-R: 3rd class menu, 2nd class menu, 1st class menu)
The museum had profiles of some of the victims. One was a man who had kidnapped his
two children and boarded the Titanic under an assumed name. He got his two children onto the last lifeboat, and they were eventually reunited with their mother. The father died and was buried in the Jewish cemetery under the assumed name, even though by then his real name was known.
Another story was of a mother who lost her life along with four of her children. They had not booked passage on the Titanic; they were supposed to sail on another ship, but the coal from that and other vessels was diverted to the Titanic for its high profile maiden voyage. As a result, these other ships were unable to sail as scheduled and some passengers were transferred to the Titanic, including the mother and her four children. The mother was buried with whichever of her children were recovered and identified. Although most of the children’s bodies were never found, all her children’s names were engraved on the tombstone, including those who had not been with her, because the survivors also requested to be buried with their mother when they died.
When we went outside to see a replica of a ship called the Acadia, the wind was blowing strong and cold. One can tour the entire boat, but I only spent a couple of minutes out there before telling Dale I was very cold and was going to wait for him inside.
When I came out of the bathroom, he was waiting for me, having visited a couple of the souvenir shops. (I wish it had occurred to me then to purchase a hoodie in one of those shops; I would have been more comfortable a lot sooner!)
November 10, 2016
On November 9, 2016, we arrived after an overnight direct flight from Chicago O’Hare to São Paulo’s Guarulhos International Airport.
As soon as we landed, a Brazilian passenger got on social media and found out who won the U.S.presidential election – to our shock and dismay, we found out Trump had won! I could write a whole post about that, but for now I am going to stick to this travel journal. From Guarulhos, we got a mid-afternoon, one-hour flight to Afonso Pena airport in Curitiba, where our friends, Eliane and Carlos, live.
I was amazed to see how Curitiba had grown when we arrived and Carlos drove us to their house, crossing much of the city. The city itself has a population of 1.8 million, but the metropolitan area has swelled to nearly 4 million! Needless to say, there was much I didn’t recognize and since it had been 37 years since I was last here, I don’t think I would have recognized even familiar things if they hadn’t been pointed out!
When Eliane returned home from her part-time job that night, she told us of her plans for us the next day: we would catch a tourism bus nearby, but we had to get to the stop at a certain time or we would miss the bus!
Of course, that’s exactly what happened! We spent too much time talking over our morning coffee and didn’t make it in time. So Carlos drove us to another stop further down the line, the Torre Panorâmica (Panoramic Tower).
Arriving there, Eliane figured out we’d have 20 minutes to go up into the tower before the next bus would come. We paid admission (it was R$5 – five reais – , or R$2.50 for seniors age 60 and up) and went up in the tiny elevator to the lookout level, where we took pictures from all directions.
There were two urubús (vultures) sitting on the ledge outside. Eliane told us it’s good to see them, because they die when there’s too much pollution, so their presence is a good indicator of relatively fresh air.
I could now see for myself how much Curitiba has grown so much since I was here last! There are clusters of tall buildings in various places and large areas of green, which are the many parks. I was happy to see that there are still a predominance of houses, although there are also many high rise apartment buildings. Inside the tower, the round cement foundation pillar contained murals depicting the life and history of Curitiba and Paraná.
We went back down and looked briefly at the gift shop, but we didn’t buy anything.
We got on the bus as planned, where we received a sheet of 5 tickets (meaning we could get off and on five times throughout the day) and a pamphlet containing a map of the route and a short explanation of each stop in 3 languages – Portuguese, Spanish and English. A sheet of 5 tickets cost R$40 each.
The tower was stop #24 of 25, but the bus was on a continuous loop so it didn’t matter. We climbed the steps to the upper deck and sat right in front. There was a canopy overhead (because it might rain) but the front and sides were open – better for taking pictures!
From the Panoramic Tower, the bus headed down the hill toward downtown and the Setor Histórico (Historic District). I became obsessed with capturing as many pictures of araucárias as possible. On my first trip to Curitiba, I fell in love with these pine trees that grow only in this area of Brazil, whose branches curve upward, like inside-out umbrellas!
The bus stopped for about 10 minutes at Praça Tiradentes, but we didn’t get off. Tiradentes is the nickname of Joaquim José da Silva Xavier (1746-1792), a hero and leading member of the Brazilian revolutionary movement.
At each stop, there was an oral narration in the same three languages about what we were seeing. Some of the places we could not actually see much of, because the bus could not enter some of the streets (one was blocked off by police cars for some reason) and also, sometimes the bus didn’t stop right in front of the landmark in order for us to get a good look at it. This was the case with the Historic District – we could only see part of it – but we would visit it another day on our own.
Everywhere in Brazil is evidence of the richness of art, and Curitiba is no exception. There are many beautiful murals for public appreciation as well as good art museums.
Stop #4 is the Railroad Museum.
Other stops along the route included Teatro Paiol, built in 1906 as a gunpowder storage, it was transformed into an arena-shaped theatre in 1971. Dedicated by popular poet/singer/composer Vinícius de Moraes, it represented the beginning of Curitiba’s cultural transformation.
Paço da Liberdade, which used to house the city government and now has a cultural center.
The Arab memorial
We finally got off the bus at the Oscar Niemeyer Museum (popularly known as “The Eye”), mainly because we were hungry. It’s a great museum, Eliane says, so we’ll have to come back here. As it was, we sat down for a small bite to eat at the MON cafeteria – I ordered bolinhas de queijo and diet Guaraná (Guaraná Zero); Dale and Eliane ordered quiches, and we all shared. In less than half an hour we were returning to the bus stop so we wouldn’t miss the next bus.
We got on the next bus and again went upstairs. There were more people on this bus but it wasn’t too crowded. The problem was the noise. The motor on this bus was so loud that it drowned out most of the narrative. We sat through stops 13-17, which didn’t help much because we couldn’t see anything – I was kind of disappointed that we didn’t even get a glimpse of the Ópera de Arame.
We got off at Parque Tanguá and walked some. There was a fountain and water that dropped off into two waterfalls. By this time, we were hot and tired, so Eliane called Carlos to come pick us up.