Already half-a-year has (nearly) elapsed since the magrelinha and I landed on the hot tarmac of Natal airport’s runway. I haven’t written anything yet about my experiences there so, with the guilty conscience of a debtor being 6-months in arrears, I am going to make weekly repayments through this series of blog posts – Brasil, belatedly.
Do you know the term “snail mail”? It refers to correspondence which arrives in an envelope or as a postcard. This is to contrast it with the speediness of emails. Well, had I sent this missive the traditional way, you’d have noticed from the stamp on the envelope that it was from Brazil. Looking more closely at the postmark, you’d have also realized that this time it’s not from Natal, but from Brasilia, which is the capital city of Brazil. You might think I’m stating the obvious but there are still many who instinctively say Rio when asked for the country’s capital. Within hours of Christmas Day expiring, we embarked on a 2 hours 30 minutes flight to spend a week in this fascinating place which, until 1960, was just a set of coordinates marking a remote spot in the vastness that makes this country. Even though over half-a-century has gone by, the architecture of the time – a lot of it by the famed Oscar Niemeyer – is still considered modern by today’s standards. We spent a splendid Sunday visiting some of these iconic structures: parliament house, metropolitan cathedral, national library, museum of art. This is really Sandra’s cup of tea but I, too, was thrilled to be inside places I had only admired in books or on the internet.
Probably the timing of our break was, unintentionally, the ideal moment to be in Brasilia. With it being the holiday season, many of the locals migrate to the beach resorts, Natal being especially popular this year. This population drought results in barren expanses of tarmac that form the multi-lane avenues mirroring the four cardinal compass points. For a city of 2.5 million people, we have been left wondering where everyone who decided to remain is hiding. Come Monday we will discover whether blood cells still flow through the city’s veins if the cars return to populate their natural habitat.
The “Brasil, belatedly” series. Click for: parts 1 to 10