Looking Around Brasilia

I think that the Brasilia cathedral looks like a standing rib roast or maybe one of those things Fred Flintstone used to eat.  Ostensibly it is reminiscent of Jesus’ crown of thorns.  No matter what you think it looks like, the building is attractive within its landscape.  You go down through an underground entrance, which is supposed to remind you of the catacombs presuming you had memories of catacombs to recall, but the effect does work well as you come out of the darkness into the light.  The glass roof gives the whole place an open sky, maybe heavenly, aspect as you see in the photos. With all due modesty, I like my photo more than many others I have seen because I took them near midday on a sunny day.  You can see the intensity of light that you might not get on a cloudier day or a time of the day when the sun was not as intense.   The photos in the guides I have make it look a little dull.  It really is very bright or at least it can be.

The photo above shows workers fixing the stained glass.  The cathedral was being repaired when I visited.  I have noticed that monuments all over the world are almost always being restored when I visit.  It is rare to get to see anyplace w/o some kind of scaffolding or work barriers.  I have been riding my bike past the Jefferson Memorial for more than twenty-five years and I don’t think I have ever seen it entirely w/o some work being done. This creates a minor dilemma when I take pictures.  Do I put in the renovation, which is omnipresent, or do I take pictures around the repairs and show the “spirit” of the place. I usually opt for the prettier picture.  I justify philosophically that I am getting the essence of thing, the true nature, instead of its ephemeral & corrupted temporal state.   

This picture shows some of our students as a “whispering wall”.  The shape and the smooth hard surface create an acoustical anomaly.  Sound follows the wall, so that a person whispering dozens of meters away can be heard clearly at other points along the wall.  

Above is the presidential residence.  It is a long way off in the distance behind the emu.  They had a few of these birds grazing in the grass.  A different angle below shows the Brasilia landscape and the sprinklers that keep everything green during the dry season.  There is plenty of water in Brasilia, enough to keep everything lush and green the whole year, but it actually falls only during half of the year.  There is no reason to “conserve” water, as you might need to do in a desert. In fact, for half of the year there is too much water.  Half of the year it rains every day and the other half it doesn’t rain at all, so they have to manage water to make it available all year around.  This land in its natural or semi-natural state is a very difficult place for to live.  That is why it remained sparsely settled for so long.  But with infrastructure and improvements, it is be very pleasant.  I suppose it is like southern California or parts of the Mediterranean in that water way, except that here the water doesn’t need to be moved from a long way away, but rather has to be moved in time of availability.

Below is an arm of the man-made lake, Lake Paranoá.  W/o this lake, life in Brasilia would be a lot harder.  The lake supplies water for the city and electricity through its hydropower at the dam.  So much standing water also changes the local climate, adding a little much needed humidity during the dry season.  It still gets very dry, but near the lake it is less so.  The lake also provides wildlife habitat in otherwise desolate seasons and it looks good, as you can see from the picture.