Friday, February 24, 2012

Brasilia First Impressions: Oscar Niemeyer is Everywhere.

According to my records,  this is day 30 of my travels.  That's quite a bit under my belt,  and it's less than half way.  I've gotten some fantastic photos,  amazing experiences,  and met many very cool people.  I'm looking forward to the next 30.

Today was a travel day,  I went from Rio de Janiero to Brasilia,  which is the capitol of Brazil.  Brasilia was a planned city,  and created in about 41 months.  It's full of buildings by architect Oscar Niemeyer,  who I wrote about yesterday.  After my flight in to Brasilia and being picked up by my host family,  I was given the option of exploring,  or resting for the rest of the day.  I opted for exploring since the flight was an easy 1 1/2 hour hop. 

As you can see below,  much of this architecture is aggressively 60's,  but it's beautiful and on a grand scale here.  I only had a few hours to explore a few buildings,  and there are many more to come.

Two stories before the pictures.

Story #1:  It is the rainy season in Brasilia,  and all day long as I was exploring incredible thunderhead clouds were building around the city.  (unfortunately they weren't in photogenic locations,  but you can see a little bit of them in the last image).  After I was done exploring during the day,  I was picked up and taken out to dinner.  During this time one of those thunderstorms moved into the city,  and after we left we were absolutely dumped on.  The lightning was flashing at a frenetic pace,  illuminating the structures around me in a a very surreal fashion.  At one point we drove over a bridge and the rain was being blown in great horizontal waves across the roadway.  While it was impossible to photograph this,  this will be a strong memory for me of traveling in Brasilia.

Story #2:  The host family I'm staying with has a gigantic collection of books,  I'd estimate in the thousands.  The titles are pretty diverse,  and in many languages.  They have two apartments,  one is ostensibly the guest bedroom,  which I'm staying in,  but the remainder of my apartment is dedicated to this library.  There's an old computer science interview question that says,  "you're in a library with an unfamiliar categorization scheme.  How would you approach figuring out the scheme?  How could you do it more efficiently?"  I may give it a shot in this library,  because it's not at all clear to me how "Phallic Worship: A History of Sex and Sexual Rites" ends up next to "Your Money and Your Life"

Brazilian Congress building

National Cathedral

National Museum

PS.  other good titles include "Futebol, the Brazilian Way of Life,"  "Epic Folks Plays of the Yiddish Theatre," and  "Fubar: soldier slang of World War II,"


  1. Cool architecture. I am curious how you ended up hooking up with your host families?

    1. In both cases my older sister made friends with them at the time they all lived in Turkey.

  2. Hello Jacques,

    I hope you are having fun.

    I am still missing you. I've been looking in a few more places.


    1. Hi Shelby, Jacques here. I am having fun, I am glad you are looking for me, I will be back soon. I hope you can make the office I was in a little brighter, it looks a little empty right now.