Itu 400 – Part 2: There are places I remember

23 01 2010

I’ve been late with my Itu 400 series posts, and, since February 2nd is around the corner, I’d better post at least a second installment. I fully realize that most people don’t care about a small town in the middle of South America, but the most liberating thing about having your own blog is that you grow comfortable about just writing to yourself. If you get any readers along the way, that’s a bonus, but not the reason to blog.

Itu has always been proud of its history: the locals often hold public events celebrating the imagery of times past. For Europeans and Asians, 400 years is like peanuts, but it’s not too bad for cities in the New World. I always enjoyed seeing how cities, like people, grow old and reinvent themselves.

We typically celebrate the Internet as the source for the latest and greatest, but its ability to give us a window to the long forgotten past is equally brilliant. As social media becomes more pervasive, we no longer need to rely solely on rare archives of some obscure museum curator to find rarities. That yellowish photo in your grandfather’s box can easily make its way to Flickr or your blog/twitpic/posterous presence, and suddenly be accessible to the world. For example, you can now find this great video of Itu in YouTube:

It’s a pity to learn that the city core was so preserved back in the 1960s and is a mix of old and new today. Most of the Portuguese-style colonial architecture houses gave place to modern buildings since then, so the opportunity to become one day a UNESCO World Heritage Centre is now lost forever.

During my last time in Itu, I took a few pictures of the old Itu archives and compared them to how those places look today:



Central Square



Rua Paula Souza


Taxi Service



Shortest Pedestrian Crossing in South America?


My elementary school

Looking at all these old pictures, I can’t help but think about Cinema Paradiso, one of my favourite movies of all time. The old cinema theatre is now a public parking lot. I didn’t take a picture of it, as it was a bit too depressing.


Cine Marrocos in its last days
Source: Cine Mafalda blog

On the bright side, writing this post I found that there is a director’s cut of Cinema Paradiso, with extra 51 minutes at the end of it! I watched this movie for the first time a very long time ago in some obscure film festival in São Paulo, and always had the impression that after the credits there was a very short scene with the adult Salvatore meeting Elena again, but after seeing the movie on DVD I thought it was some kind of urban hallucination I had. Now I know that at least I was not that crazy. Here’s a teaser for you:

See? Even if nobody ever reads this post, I think I already benefited from writing it. Now I need to find where to buy the DVD for less than the outrageous price at Amazon.ca (CAD$ 102.33 for a DVD? Seriously?).

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4 responses

25 01 2010
Jose Luis

Enjoyed your post of Itú and the quaint old pictures. See, you do get people to read your blog postings. I worked in São Paulo for three years early in my career and my first son was born there (at a the Albert Einstein hospital, next to the Morumbí stadium, on a Sunday during a local rivalry game between São Paulo and Corinthians). Once I had de opportunity to visit Itú and your reminscing and pictures touched a string on me. Keep your posts coming.

Greeting from a Paulista by adoption !

26 01 2010
Aaron

Thanks Jose Luis for the visit. I can’t imagine having to drive to the hospital on the day of a big game! Where are you from? When I saw your name I just assumed that you were Brazilian.

30 01 2010
Itu 400 – Part 3: The land that Google forgot « The bamboo raft

[…] For my previous posts celebrating the 400 years of Itu, click here and here. […]

18 05 2011
Celso Felipe Carvache

Achei esse post sobre Itu incrível! Assim como os outros da série também.
Muito legal você ter feito esses conteúdos sobre nossa cidade!

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