After spending the week in São Paulo, we flew to Brasília to visit our first friends from Brazil. My how Brasília has grown! It has nearly 1 million more inhabitants than when we first traveled to the Brazilian capital nearly 20 years ago.
The first new MUST SEE item is the new soccer stadium being built for the 2014 World Cup. It looks fabulous. You can check out this link to see a time-lapse video of the construction.
We enjoyed a typical Brazilian breakfast (OK - with Frosted Flakes, too). There was a homemade cake, ham and cheese for breakfast sandwiches on mini French bread loaves, lots and lots of fresh fruit, cheese breads, and of course, coffee and milk.
Here are some tapioca pancakes surrounded by the most delicious pineapple and papaya.
I love the Brazilian breakfast sandwich. I remember when I was 17 and came to Brazil for the first time. I called home and told my Mom how the food was different but the same. "We have ham and cheese sandwiches for breakfast here!" I exclaimed. Now it's one of my favorite treats when I come to Brazil. In fact, I often forego all the other delicious items at the breakfast buffet in the restaurant for my café com leite, papaya and a small ham and cheese sandwich (with nothing else on it - just bread, ham and cheese). I'm in heaven when I start my day off this way.
Brasília is the one place we did a little sightseeing. We drove down the road by the Palácio do Planalto and federal government buildings - which is similar to our National Mall in Washington, DC. We drove by the National Cathedral - designed by Oscar Niemeyer - whose architectural designs are unique and truly Brazilian.
We went to see the newest tourist attraction in Brasília, also designed by Oscar Niemeyer, the new TV Digital Tower - which, as its name implies, is a functional tower, but also a tourist attraction, located on the highest point in the greater Brasília metropolitan area. We took an elevator to the top (13th floor) and took in the panoramic views of the city.
I enjoyed the back view from the tower which showed mostly the satellite cities, or suburbs, that are continuously expanding.
I enjoyed being a tourist. I always do. I like to see things, see the people, see what is being sold as local tourist items (some of these things never change), see the landscape. See. See. See.
As we left the tower, I saw this gorgeous moth on the sidewalk. I thought it looked like a huge fly and wanted to snap a picture with my big toe in the shot to show you how big it was. I mean the moth, not my big toe.
After our visit to the top, we took part in all the tourist things one generally does after a big tourist attraction - we shopped in the little stores and street vendors. I love to travel and see people. I love to see the changes since last time, see the things that stay the same, see the growth, sadly, see the Americanization of some things (My soap box is against our American food products - not to be confused with actual food - spreading across the world and causing the same health problems in other countries... but I'll step down from my soap box now). I love to see, see, see.
So after ice creams and other treats, we stopped at the street vendors and enjoyed coconut milk straight from the coconut and some popcorn. I couldn't resist the sweet Red Candy Popcorn I remembered from my youth. With no willpower and the happy feeling of childhood, I snacked on a whole bag of the Pipoca Doce. I was in heaven. Funny that I didn't notice that the local Brazilian vendors smartly put on some funny baseball caps with neck flaps. In hindsight, when I got home and discovered my sunburned neck, I thought they were very smart street vendors!
After our 'little' snack, we met the whole family for lunch at a delightful outdoor Bier Fass restaurant along the banks of the South Lake. We enjoyed our meal with family and friends while listening to some ingenious Brazilian samba musicians delight us with a congenial music which was just perfect for our leisurely dining experience.
And so that was our day as Brazilian tourists. Food. Friends. Fun. And more food!