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Old Oct 28, 11, 2:34 pm   #1
 
Join Date: May 1998
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Brasilia in 2 hours

I have a 3 hour layover between domestic flights in BSB 11am-2pm.
I love the architecture of Oscar Neimeyer and wonder if a 2 hour taxi ride around the city is feasible and would it be worthwhile. Would R100 be a reasonable offer to an Airport Taxi for a 2 hour tour?
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Old Oct 30, 11, 8:43 am   #2
 
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2 hours? Maybe. That assumes you get out of the plane (with everyone getting their bags from the overhead bins and standing up as soon as the plane stops, if not before) and out of the airport in 5 minutes (unlikely) and that you would get back to the airport an hour before your next fight. Of course, if you're doing this during rush hour, estimates could be off. Most important thing: know in advance what you want to see.

In all honesty, I am not the biggest fan of Neimeyer (to me Brasilia-- which we visited just a week ago-- looks like the Jetsons Meets East Berlin, or a city of the future Disney might have envisioned in the late 1950s), but to each their own). A bit too much of "hotel sector," "apartment sector" "fun sector," etc. Notably Neimeyer (still kicking at 105) lives in Rio.

I paid nearly R$40 to gt from the airport to my hotel, near the TV tower, as I recall, but your R$100 might still be enough for 2 hours. Allow at least 15-20 minutes to get from the airport to the main esplanade area. Map out in advance exacty what you want to see (i.e., don't just ask the taxi driver to show you the city). You may not have time to see much more than the outsides of buildings for the most part. You could, for example, head for the Congressional building complex, but the tours take ovr an hour so you may have time just to see the outside (the inside isn't architecturally interesting, anyway, from what we saw during the tour). The main museum is looks a bit like the flying saucer in "The Day the Earth Stood Still," though white. The outside if the best part (inside kind of spartan). so just driving by may be enough. National cathedral easy to see as a quick stop. If that's enough for you, you may have time. On Wednesdays, the presidential residence (well, where the prez lives part of the time) is open for tours but I don't think you'd have time. I'd forget taking the time to see the bridge over the lagoa. If you speak no Portuguese, giving directions and getting info could be tough.

Brasilia's airport is not bad, at least until you get to the very crowded, donut-shaped gate area.

Last edited by SoCal; Oct 30, 11 at 8:52 am.
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Old Oct 30, 11, 10:14 am   #3
 
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to me Brasilia-- which we visited just a week ago-- looks like the Jetsons Meets East Berlin
That just whets my appetite - sounds like my idea of paradise! Do they have Jetson-like HoverCabs?

Appreciate the advice
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Old Oct 30, 11, 12:00 pm   #4
 
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That just whets my appetite - sounds like my idea of paradise! Do they have Jetson-like HoverCabs?

Appreciate the advice
Alas, more of a Potemkin Village. Some of the buildings look like someone in the 1960s might have described modern, but all in all just a regular, concrete city.
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Old Oct 30, 11, 12:18 pm   #5
 
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I collect boring soulless capital cities - Im from Australia after all.
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Old Oct 31, 11, 4:16 pm   #6
 
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I recommend using a local tour operator to make the most out of your short time in the city. I have used http://prestheza.com.br before and they are great (although probably more expensive than the 100 BRL taxi budget you have set of the activity). If you contact them they will be able to at least tell you what you'll be able to see in this short period of time.
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Old Nov 1, 11, 6:36 am   #7
 
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I recommend using a local tour operator to make the most out of your short time in the city. I have used http://prestheza.com.br before and they are great (although probably more expensive than the 100 BRL taxi budget you have set of the activity). If you contact them they will be able to at least tell you what you'll be able to see in this short period of time.
It would obviously have to be an individual, personalized tour. We took package tour in a minibus and were not thrilled, but because the stops it emphasized weren't our main interests. We got more out of our taxi driver's tour, but we knew in advance where we wanted to go, and we speak Portuguese. I can try to find our driver's number (my wife tends to keep cards). But in the time you'll have, just giving a ist of a few places you want to drive by may suffice. BTW, DO you speak any Portuguese?
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Old Nov 1, 11, 9:13 am   #8
 
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I speak Portuguese or should I say I communicate in Portuguese, many of the words I use are constructions that don't exist in any language but there is no problem with mutual understanding.

I visit Brasil 3-4 times /year but have never been to Brasilia - I don't like cities that are not easily navigated by public transport and that is the impression I get about Brasilia. I have no problems with Curitiba, Rio, Salvador, Sao Paulo, Fortaleza. I sort of felt that with 3 hours between flights in Brasilia, I could do a quick run around the city and get some idea about whether I liked the feel of the city and maybe devote a few days to a trip there in the future.

The R100 for a taxi for a couple of hours I base on the fact that the Taxi tariff in Rio for waiting time is around R25/hr and apart from the trip to and from the airport I don't imagine that there would be more than about 20km of driving between the main buildings of interest in the city - does that seem reasonable?
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Old Nov 1, 11, 1:40 pm   #9
 
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Yes, two hours during the day is enought time for your Niemeyer architectural tour. You will be somewhat rushed, but it is possible. I did exactly what your are interested in doing back in 1971, but scheduling with a local tour operator sounds better. I have returned many times since on business, and the details of the actual early construction (helicopters ferrying concrete and brick loads due to the lack of adequate roads) is still amazing to hear.

One word of caution: Brasilia is a "new" national government town, created for that purpose. It would be as though Canberra would be located tomorrow in the middle of the Outback. Little existed there at all before the idea of creating the new national Capital of Brasilia began.

Although conditions (restaurants, hotels, nightlife) are improving, there is not much to do there when compared to Sampa, Rio, or other cities with more of a history. Consequently, the local airport on Fridays is packed with outbound traffic, as government and business representatives and families fly to Rio and elsewhere to recreate and essentially escape. The airport return traffic with the same passengers is crowded Sunday nights and Monday mornings.

Last edited by Swissaire; Nov 1, 11 at 1:52 pm.
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Old Nov 3, 11, 6:19 am   #10
 
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Thanks a lot Swissaire for the info.
Considering that the only things around Canberra are Queanbeyan and Yass Junction its may just as well be in the middle of the Outback but maybe Brasilia is more like Broken Hill with some funky buildings
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Old Nov 3, 11, 1:52 pm   #11
 
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Actually, my 1971 visit was a planned stop enroute to Salvador / Bahia.

Back then the entire taxi "tour" came to R$100. The driver stayed with me the entire time, so I walked quite fast at each stop to visit the church, congressional congress, etc. taking photos along the way. Arriving early in the morning, the tour took much of the day, so I tipped the driver R$ 50. He then went out of his way to escort me back into the then small airport, and up to the TransBrasil desk. Everything was wonderful, up to this point.

I had one carry-on with me and when searched, out came a highly-suspicious item for a young Swiss to be caught with. I had been given a gift at a New Year's party in Rio. An authentic, well worn Santos FC Nr. 10 shirt, worn by the great one himself, Pele. His size, and obviously not mine.

This was pulled out and shown around, stains and all, drawing staff and even other passengers into a lively discussion that I could not keep up with. One diplomat from Danemark awaiting his flight said " They are saying you should not be taking this out of the country, as it belongs here. They say you do not know it's importance " and other such statements. I had to explain how it came by it, and the fact Switzerland did know what the game of Futebol was, and that I had also played the position of wing. It did not look like I was getting my shirt ( but a Brasilian National treasure ) back. Despite my new tan, I was turning very red, and wanted to hide somewhere, fast.

When I got my treasured gift back, I kept my mouth sewn-shut, boarded the plane, thinking I might be pulled at any moment. I took the shirt, rolled it up tight, and hid it in one of my packed shoes. When I caught up with my checked case, it went into the bottom recess, inside my dress shoe.

I've been back since, the story still amuses in Brasil, and I still have Santos FC Nr. 10 hidden away in a picture frame. The icon that it is, it only comes out for display during the World Cup.

Last edited by Swissaire; Nov 3, 11 at 1:57 pm.
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Old Jan 5, 12, 12:14 am   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swissaire View Post
Actually, my 1971 visit was a planned stop enroute to Salvador / Bahia.

Back then the entire taxi "tour" came to R$100. The driver stayed with me the entire time, so I walked quite fast at each stop to visit the church, congressional congress, etc. taking photos along the way. Arriving early in the morning, the tour took much of the day, so I tipped the driver R$ 50.
Never mind the Pele shirt, I'm more impressed by the fact that you paid for the tour using Reais in 1971.
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Old Jan 5, 12, 8:45 am   #13
 
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Quite right.
The currency then was the Cruzeiro, followed I recall by the Cruzado. I gave the equivalent denominations, in the same amounts.

I would gladly give 1000 + to fly TransBrasil again: Better, caring service, and the CHF went a long way then.
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