Never mind Samba, have you seen our bus lanes in Curitiba?
By Alan Baldwin
CURITIBA Brazil (Reuters) - Wander around downtown Curitiba on a rainy midweek morning and World Cup fever is about the last thing that comes to mind in a southern venue that could be almost on another continent.
There are few banners, no national flags other than the yellow and green Brazilian ones, and scarcely a nod towards the soccer spectacular that has fans flocking to Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.
The atmosphere is one of a comparatively affluent community, organized, friendly and above all quiet - although that may change when the Australians arrive in town for their match against Spain on Monday.
The Baixada Arena, home to top flight side Atletico Paranaense and host of four group stage games, looks more like a grey-walled shopping mall from the outside.
That is not to say that the locals are left cold by the event, even if there have been protests against the amount spent on hosting the tournament, or any less soccer-crazed than compatriots in Rio or Recife.
They just do things differently in this more European of South American cities, one that tries to live up to the Brazilian flag's motto of 'Order and Progress' even if the stadium was one of the last to be completed and still lacks some finishing touches.
"Here in Curitiba, we don't get together a lot to watch games in the street or make a lot of noise," locally-based Globo TV reporter Nadja Mauad told Reuters with a laugh.
"If you go to Rio, Sao Paulo, Salvador you are going to find that atmosphere. But here in Curitiba, we are like the weather - more cold. We are not that explosive." Continued...