Could this be the strangest city I have visited? And yet the people, the mood, the food, and the culture all seem quite normal, whatever that means.
I had not realized how much the city center was patterned after the Washington Mall, yet with modernist rather than classical buildings for the government, and with a modernist layout. On each side of the major highway is “Crystal City on steroids,” with five-lane highways, boxy skyscrapers, and a huge bus station straddling the main road. It resembles an old science fiction movie and yes I like old science fiction movies. View here, and it really looks like this! It is no wonder that the aliens chose Brazil to visit.
There is also a private sector presence here. Don’t forget the neat bridge. Here is my favorite church in town, Dom Bosco. Here is the fine Palacio Itamarati.
The Memorial JK is an egotistical political monument. It was built by Niemeyer in 1980 to honor the founder of Brasilia, Juscelino Kubitschek, former President of Brazil, which is in turn a way to honor Niemayer. Kubitschek’s remains lie beneath a skylight in a granite tomb, and the coffin reads O FUNDADOR. The surrounding rooms are full of insufferable photos, suits, medals, and tie clips.
The clouds and skies are first-rate.
The home of the vice President is surrounded by ostriches.