The main central shopping centre, the Conjunto Nacional, stands on the northern side of the rodoviária. Contained in a huge concrete block that’s covered with massive product advertisements, the flashy jewellery and furniture shops combine with restaurants and fast-food outlets, and unlike the modern shopping centres in other Latin American cities the Conjunto Nacional is not just a playground for the rich; everyone seems to shop here. The busy northern conjunto is much more upmarket than its neighbour across the way, the CONIC mall, which is increasingly run-down and now dangerous at night, when the only people moving are the prostitutes and clientele patronizing a basement complex of fleapit sex cinemas. Stuck underground between the two giant shopping blocks, the downtown rodoviária bus and metrô station is also on three levels, and here you’ll find more shops, toilets, snack bars and a bus information office.

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