Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Brasilia, 13 August 2009

No one ever goes to Brasilia. I`ve not heard of another person who has been. The reason people don`t go is because it is notoriously rubbish. But Laura and I were prepared to give Brasilia the benefit of the doubt. It was a nice stop over between Sao Paulo and the National Park Chapada do Vedeiros to which we were heading towards.

Brasilia is the capital of Brazil. Brazil`s capital used ot be Rio, but that changed when some super intelligent person in charge of Brazil decided to create a custom built capital city. It was supposed to be a display of a perfect capital, perfectly co-ordinated, with perfect logisitics. However, given that no other countries have adopted this perfect utopic vision in their capitals suggests that it probably doesn`t work.

Off the bus we jumped onto a local bus to the Centro. It was blisteringly hot and Laura and I were a little confused by the space age addresses and street layouts that we decided to take a cab to the posada (like a guest house) listed in the Lonely Planet (we were using the LP to choose a hostel after we realised that there were no hostels in Brasilia listed on the internet). The portuguese taxi driver refused to take us. We didn`t have a clue what he said, but he said something about the police and government. I had some vague memory about reading something to do with taxi drivers not liking to take people to posadas for some reason or other.

Ok, we would walk.

With our heavy bags we clunked up the hill to where we thought the street was for the posada. All around us were big high rise hotels. One had a pool. Should we havea splurge? Nah! We knew the posada was on the pricey side so the hotels would be even more pricey. The street names are all like HB1 and SDY6 (not actually, but they are all abbreviations). We walked a good 2 km to reach the posada stopping only for an air conditioned break inside HSBC as Laura withdrew some cash. When we got there and fathomed out the unintelligable block and building numbers we thought the posada looked a bit closed. We knocked and knocked untill someone came out of the house next door and told us in Portuguese that the Posada was `fechado` = closed. But the taxi driver hadn`t said it was closed. We asked the guy if he knew if another posada was open further down the street. He said that all posadas were closed and directed us back to the big hotels we had already written off as being too expensive.

We trudged back, but because we were hot and hungry we stopped for lunch and water. My feet were stinking hot. FOr some unbeknownst reason I was wearing my walking boots without socks and I could just feel the sweat of my soles pouring into the leather boots.

After lunch we trudged back melting in the heat under the weight of our bags.

An English speaking BRazilian pointed out hte three cheapest hotels. The first looked nice and we were hopeful that it wouldnt be as expensive as it looked. It was more expensive that we ever iamgined and we backed out humbly. We then went to the next and that too was on the pricey side. Then we tried the hotel named ECONOHOTEL!

The Econohotel looked grimy, it looked like a prison, it was yukky, but it was the cheapest accomodation in Brasilia. We were given a deluxe room for 40pounds a night (between the two of us), there weren`t any standard rooms left. The room was big but i wouldnt say it was worhty of the accolade `deluxe`. In fact it probably was a standard room but they jsut decided to fob us tourist off. But we had spent 3 hours looking for a room so we were happy it was all over, even if it was ridiculously expewnsive.

We could tell the caliber of the hotel immediately when we saw the sign saying that if any extra guests wished to join you in your room there was a 15 minutely rate that would be charged for their stay. Oh right!

We dumped our bags and set off to see the sights of Brasilia. There weren`t many, but the Cathedral, Senate, Museum, Library and other governmental buildings were all supposed to be architectural marvels.

LEss than two hours later we were back in our rooms, laughing at the fact that we had spent more time hunting for a hotel that we had actually sightseeing. We had given Brasilia the benefit of the doubt, but we were incredibly naive and really shouldnt have bothered.

We went on a hunt for some fresh fruit. Of course it was unsuccessful. We ended up in the food hall of a shopping mall and bought a carton of fruit salad each!

We went back to the room and watched Borat.

CHeers to Brasilia.

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