Voting for the Aussie election

Trip Start Feb 06, 2007
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268
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Trip End Jan 14, 2008


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Flag of Brazil  ,
Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tuesday November 13th, Brasilia
Despite the delays we pulled into Brasilia at 4.30am, though this quickly became 5.30am, as half of Brazil follows daylight saving. For a capital city, the bus station was an absolute disgrace. The toilets were sparkling clean, but the doors were held on with string, all the locks were broken, and the bottoms of the doors were rotten and falling off.
We had hours to kill because we were here to VOTE (in our Federal election, thank goodness we have missed 24-hour speechifying by the main parties), and voting times at the embassy were hours later. This was a good time to find out the times of buses to Foz do Iguaçu, or Curitiba, or Alto Paraiso. AP was quickly crossed off. It is north of here and the national park takes more persistence to reach than we have left.
A local bus took us to the centre of the city, and a well-meaning but totally misguided fellow sent us another bus to the embassy area. We walked and walked and walked, and found every embassy under the sun but ours. After lots of asking we finally saw our flag. The guys on the gate only spoke Portuguese but understood we wanted to get inside. After that it was all straightforward. The consul printed out the House of Reps voting paper, fished out a Senate paper, and we voted. We found some Seniors magazines from home and took several. Other than novels, English reading matter has been non-existent for months.
The embassy is only 10 minutes from the cathedral and needs no bus to get there. This was when we started to realise that Brasilia has been invaded from space. Concrete flying saucers abound, and the architects may be famous, but they were definitely on something hallucinatory. The circular cathedral looks like a set of white plastic hair grips artistically arranged, with a grubby concrete thing holding its bells (and a flying saucer in front). Inside was much better, with a lovely leadlight roof, and a marble wall Barb's height right round, and curved up its face. Like in the whispering dome in St Paul's Cathedral in London, you can stand on an edge of this wall and talk in normal tones to someone on the other side of the building, 40 metres away. It was amazing.
A modern art centre, like another flying saucer, had a roof that whispered to you, and a suspended side walkway that went outside and came back in lower down. One of its displays consisted of 3 simultaneous videos of a woman in very high heels and a floaty white dress tripping over her feet and landing on her face on the floor. A man who worked in a bank talked to us and told us he found the place very uplifting. Have we missed something ?
We spent a very enjoyable day looking at crazy buildings and trying to get into places not open at the times listed in our guide book.
Back at the bus station we did a complete revision of plans. After what the Aussie consul told us about Rio, we are going there after all. Overnight buses to Rio are very expensive, but the 'special' of the day was a ticket to Belo Horizonte, more than half way there, for 60R. Why not ?
A couple of hours out of Brasilia the bus collided with a horse, and wrecked the front bus lights. Within 5 minutes the police were there with rainbow coloured lights to stop anyone running into the corpse, and after only half an hour the bus company had conjured up another bus, transferred our luggage, and we were on our way.
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