Day 4: Winding things down
Updated: Aug 12, 2020
Day 4 goes on with much less effort. So much so, that the picture above was taken on Day 3. It is a quote from president Juscelino Kubitschek, the man who idealized Brasília, during his speech when he sanctioned the law that formalized the date of change of the capitol. It's engraved at the main entry of the National Congress (slightly to your right is the Chamber of Deputies; to your left, the Senate). The grandeur of Kubitschek's tone is obvious; he was a visionary and, as such, a megalomaniac. But a very pragmatic one as well. The whole "viril step" thing is not lost on me.
I spent the day interviewing civil servants, getting a bit more into the nitty-gritty of the life at the Chamber of Deputies and the legislative process. There were only a few sessions in the morning and nothing scheduled for the afternoon as most deputies tend to leave by then. Tuesday and Wednesday feel like an entire week and then it's all gone, as fast as it came. The constant buzz of talking, water being poured, phones ringing or vibrating, people shouting, bumping into each other, signs posted everywhere for seminars and events, all gone. I was able to take my time.
Which means today I'll just post some practicalities. If you hear that public transport in Brasília is impossible, you've heard right. That visionary president believed in cars. Really believed in cars. So Brasília feels like you're always on a highway. There are no sidewalks, everything is really far to walk to. In between buildings, there are huge patches of green, natural forestry (cerrado) as far as I know, and that's about it. Only in residential areas will you see shops, restaurants, and living spaces. Could I take a bus from where I am to the Chamber? Yes. It would take me a little over an hour to get there. By car, about 15 minutes. I've been using private car services and the feeling is that I'm paying to have that hour, either to rest, get ready or, of course, work.
At the one point, there was a project to build a mall within or around the Congress, I'm don't remember exactly anymore. There was, obviously, a public outcry against it and even I signed a petition. But now I see the appeal, not of a mall, but of a pharmacy, a xerox and print shop, and other utilities like that being in the building. Because there are none around it and none around where I'm staying. I'd need a car for it.
Once I was done, a friend took me to a place that, somehow, manages to have Guinness on tap! So that was exciting. Another unsual thing is that it's been raining cats and dogs, something that I didn't know happened around here, since Brasília is known for its dry climate for most of the year - and that's all I've seen even though I've been here many times. And that's it, week over, let's see if I can get my interviews next week!