Thursday, February 11, 2010

Brasilia - Brazil.

Brasilia is often an ignored city when it comes to tourists visitors who would be overwhelmed by other famous places to visit with associated names like Rio (culture capital), Sao Paulo (business capital), Florianpolis (Industrial capital) and so on. But this Political capital city has its own charm and deserves a visit though may be shorter one than others.








Brasilia trip for me was mostly based on the idea of visiting my only Brazilian friend, Camila at that time to try experience the Brazilian culture more closely being hosted by a family and Wikitravel on Brasilia did tell about few interesting places to see like the Cathedral, the TV tower and various government buildings. One drawback for this city is its big distance from other important cities being in the center of an otherwise famous for its coast country. Brasilia is one of the most modern cities of Brazil and being so its very well planned and organized. You would clearly feel so as you drive around, watching well laid out roads, gardens and parks besides the modern residential buildings. Keep it very green and beautiful.






From Brazil Brasilia

From Brazil Brasilia

From Brazil Brasilia

I arrived in Brasilia from Sao Paulo by plane taking about 2 hrs and departed to Rio from there in bus which took about 17 hours. On that note all websites in Brazil are pretty broken when it comes to English users and more importantly most of them only accept Brazilian credit cards and/or American express cards. So good luck purchasing your tickets !

In Brasilia my hosts gave me a very warm welcome and the two days I spent there were amongst the best traveling time I have repeated mentioned how big fan I have become of Brazilian hospitality and this family definitely played the biggest role in that.

From Brazil Brasilia

Camila also introduced me to her friends and we had some long discussions about both countries' culture, history, past and present. Dancing, Music, food and politics. As I reflected open these conversations and I realized another great aspect of them their open mindedness and again friendliness. I have lots of sweet memories of you guys!

So what did we do in Brasilia besides talking, here is the summary (little text, many photos)
Evening 1st day:
We went to take pictures with the Christmas lights in the center of the city called Esplanada. Followed by going to a party called "Funfarra". I didn't really like the party though it was set in a nice place, the park, next to a lake etc. The music was pretty bad.






From Brazil Brasilia



2nd Day:
We went to lunch in Naturetto and to Ponte JK, Esplanada and Palácio da Alvorada (Lula's house). These bridge and the goverment buildings are very beautiful specially the one of ministry of external affairs. The cities modern architecture differentiates it from those of Rio and Sao Paulo very clearly. The well planed way in which this ~50 year old city has been laid out is itself something interesting to see. 






From Brazil Brasilia




From Brazil Brasilia




From Brazil Brasilia




From Brazil Brasilia



To dance samba in the afternoon we went to CALAF. 




From Brazil Brasilia





From Brazil Brasilia



At night we went to pub named Velvet but we just stayed like half an hour as some other friends wanted to go elsewhere. We then went to Cristina/Martinica. I tried the Brazilian dish called Tapioca here and loved it.






From Brazil Brasilia







From Brazil Brasilia



3rd day:
We went to the TV Tower to get the panormic view of the city but rained spoiled the plan as they stopped the tour at that time. Interestingly the TV tower is surrounded by a market which looks very similar to those big markets with multiple small shops or "mela" like setup pretty common in India. 







From Brazil Brasilia







We then went to Pontão, a popular hangout place for the locals right next to the lake. 




The trip got over much faster than I expected, I was looking forward to Rio but pretty sad to be leaving Brasilia!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Crater Lake in Winter

Last weekend we drove to Crater lake, Oregon. Its a 7.5 hours drive from Mountain View, CA. Its a must visit place. With some interesting facts: Nineth deepest lake in the world and among the purest lake in the world, besides being the most beautiful one because of the perfect blue water. Add snow to that combo and its just amazing.


From Crater Lake and Mt Shasta Trip Feb 2010


From Crater Lake and Mt Shasta Trip Feb 2010





From Crater Lake and Mt Shasta Trip Feb 2010



From Crater Lake and Mt Shasta Trip Feb 2010


During winters the Rims are closed and the only way to see the lake is taking a free walking tour with a Ranger/Guide in the special snow shoes. This is also pretty much the only thing to do here.
Very informative and interesting tour indeed. Lots of interesting information was being given during the tour like:
1) Considered one of the purest lakes (according to the scale for measuring purity its clean depth is 143 ft).
2) How fishes came in and why Fish and don't leave back is the policy
3) Various animals and birds here and how they survive etc.
4) About the history of the lake and its surrounding going back to 400000 years.


From Crater Lake and Mt Shasta Trip Feb 2010



From Crater Lake and Mt Shasta Trip Feb 2010



From Crater Lake and Mt Shasta Trip Feb 2010



The weather on the way was not the most pleasant with rain and show fall most of the time but it was not very bad either. We didn't really need chains though its a good idea to carry them, just in case. Its suggested that we go back in Summers which I am definitely doing, but don't miss Crater lake in Winters either, its worth being seen 2 times :)


From Crater Lake and Mt Shasta Trip Feb 2010



From Crater Lake and Mt Shasta Trip Feb 2010