Buzzing Brasilia- the Tourist Experience

This is my fourth article on my recent experiences on Brasilia, the capital of Brazil. When I told people that I was going to visit there, I got one of three reactions:

  1. Why?
  2. Where?
  3. What for?

I was regaled with tales of people going mad with boredom in the sterile cityscape and the empty streets. Even Brazilians said to me that it would not take long to see the sights! Brasilia gets such a bad rap – from anyone who has never been there. The locals I spoke to, however, liked their city.  Many who were born there, bristle at the negative be stereotypes perpetuated by other Brazilians and visitors. Overall, as mentioned last week, I have appraised it as a good city.

Arrival

I arrived at the interstate bus station which is an impressive modern building that looks like it is in the middle of nowhere. As an example of how tricky it is to navigate Brasilia,  nowhere in any literature about the bus station does it say that it’s right next to Shopping Metro station (home of park shopping mall) I took a cab from the bus station to my hotel which cost 36 Brazilian Real on the meter (about $21) . Next time I would take the metro for 3 Real ($1.77 ) and get a 5 Real ($3) cab from the galleria station to my hotel.

 

 

 

 

How I filled my time

  • I took a two hour City Bus tour which was a brilliant introduction to Brasilia. Again here is where being a tourist is difficult, None of the websites that had tour information had correct times. The tour started at the TV Tower and took in all the key parts of the Monumental axis ofthe Pilot Plan . On my tower were 9 people : 2 from Brasilia,  6 from other parts of Brazil and me. Reading through their  registration list for the week, I saw no other English speaking tourist! The tour had a taped commentary – on my trip it was in English and Portuguese.
  • I then spent more hours gazing at the monumental buildings of Brasilia
  • the museums did not take long to go through but had some great stuff-labelled mostly in Portuguese of course
  • I went up the TV tower the highest building in the city twice- day and night
  • I walked around the commercial centre of the city people watching, architecture gazing and window shopping
  • I shopped at one of the main shopping malls
  • I checked out the amazing Brasilia bar scene- its very fun with all these little bars scattered everywhere
  • I ran through, walked through and hung out in the City Park including a sunset
  • I  enjoyed the city markets
New Towns in Brasilia
  • Although I felt a little like a burglar, I wandered around the residential zones of the city. I kept thinking someone would challenge me exploring the super blocks
  • I took the metro out to the new settlements
  • Next time, I would spend time on the Lake and check out the  Zoo and Botanic Gardens
The city does not get many international tourists from what I saw:

  1. Few international flights land there- most of them go to the coastal cities of Sao Paolo or Rio
  2. Most of the key websites for services in Brasilia were only in Portuguese eg
    • Brasilia Metro  http://www.metro.df.gov.br/
    • Brasilia Buses  http://www.tcb.df.gov.br/
    • Main Tourist website  http://www.brasiliatur.df.gov.br/
    • City information: http://www.gdf.df.gov.br/045/04501001.asp
    • Cultural activities http://www.sc.df.gov.br/
  3. Any English information was largely out of date or inaccurate or unclear eg there’s a new bus to the airport which stops in the southern hotel sector where I was staying. But where? no one could tell me where the bus stop was for it-a detail that I’d important if you need to catch a bus to the airport. As it happened the bus stopped for me in the street -I was the only one on it
  4.  most of the posts about Brasilia from other tourists were negative warning people to stay away!
The Brazilian tourist authority’s need to set up a comprehensive accurate website promoting their city with positive testimonials.

Upcoming: blog post on Brasilia’s’ Buildings.

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    site needs a great deal more attention. I’ll probably be back again to read more, thanks for the info!

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