Last night here. I'm in the Hotel Bonaparte in Brasilia, Brasil.
On my way here I passed thru Sao Paulo; landed there, taxi across the city to the domestic airport. Sao Paulo struck me as crowded and run-down. Virtually every surface that I saw passing thru Sao Paulo, road signs, walls, pillars, benches, all were covered in graffiti. Twenty or so million people jammed together.
By contrast Brasilia is full of open green spaces, monuments, and a mix of government plain with graceful 60s modern architecture. The main roads have enormously wide esplanades, probably 50 to 80 yards wide. All grass and trees. Very little grafitti. Brasilia is a beautiful city. And much less crime than the larger Brazilian cities.
It's early fall here and the weather reminds me of fall in Houston but without the mosquitoes and humidity. Cool evenings, warm days and a thundershower virtually every day.
The other thing that's striking here is how fat Americans are in comparison with Brazilians. We've had some really great meals here including last night at Porcão but there was a noticeable absence of fried food. Lots of fish, lots of vegetables, lots of fresh fruit.
I'm down here on business, teaching a group of Brazilians and Chileans about the software product I work on. For the class the local company rented a room in a facility that conducts classes for people who want to get into government service. During the day when we're there it's mostly young people, high school and college age. The locals tell me these are all middle class and upper middle class kids. The women range from striking to stunning.
All in all, a very nice place to have to spend a few days.
Words to live by, though. Never, ever have a medical emergency in the Setor Hoteleiro (Hotel Sector) during rush hour. One of the students from Chile had seizures at breakfast yesterday. Seems he is on medication and traveling had caused him to forget to take it. At any rate, it took a bit over 30 minutes for an ambulance to arrive from the Hospital Sector. Brasilia, you see, is a master planned city. Carved out of the jungle in the 60s to be the capital of the country. So all the hotels are in one area, hospitals in another area, etc. All so nice and neat and ... dangerous when there are 2 million people in the city. While the seizures scared the crap out of those of us with him, he recovered quickly and after a trip to the hospital and a day of rest he was back in class (and back on his meds!).