Tuesday, February 27, 2007

One night in Brazilia--

What a day! First off, I got up at 4:30 am because the driver from a travel agency was supposed to pick me up at 5:30 and drive me to the Salvador Airport in order to catch a 7:30 flight (lasting 2 hours) to Brazilia. But the driver was 50 minutes late, and I only got to the airport at 6:45. Then, I learned that the flight was overbooked Three other passengers and I were left in the lurch, but because the other 3 spoke Portuguese, they were assisted first. In fact, all day, I've had a terrible time making myself understood--very few of the staff ofTAM, the Brazilian airline I've been flying on, speak Spanish or English. I finally was able to explain how I had only 10 hours in Brazilia to visit the city and then take a night plane to Manaos, since I´m beginning my Amazon Village stay and excursions tomorrow. There was no other direct flight to Brazilia today, so they said they´d fly me to Rio, then to Brazilia. But the plane to Rio was an hour late, and then the connecting plane from Rio to Brazilia was almost 3 hours late, so by the time I got to Brazilia it was 4:30 in the afternoon, instead of 9:30 in the morning. Finally, TAM agreed to put me up for a night in a hotel near the airport and fly me to Manaos tomorrow morning. Still wanting to visit Brazilia, I paid a taxi driver to take me from the hotel near the airport into the central part, and he gave me a 2-hour "City Tour".
To be frank, I think Brazilia ressembles one of the French "villes nouvelles", such as Evry or Cergy-Pontoise. Designed by Oscar Neimeyer in the late 50s, to my mind, it hasn't aged very well. The President's palace is impressive, perhaps because of its location on a lake with lots of grass around, but many of the buildings on the Esplanade (designed in the shape of an airplane) might have been futuristic at the time, but now look like "deja vu". I guess I'm glad I saw it, and that getting here was worth it, but I must say I'm a bit disappointed. Will post some photos once I have a computer with a USB hook-up.
As I said, Salvador was great, and I´m looking forward to the Amazon tomorrow. Back to Buenos Aires from there on March 2. Now off to bed after a very long day!


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