Tackling Corruption in Brasília 09/21/11
-The 15th IACC will be held from 7-10 November 2012 in Brasília, Brazil
The plan for a new, planned central capital of Brazil was first conceived in 1827 by José Bonifacio, an advisor to Emperor Pedro I but it was not until 1956 that construction began on Brasilia; the embodiment of urban planning. Built in just four years between 1956 and 1960 under the leadership of President Juscelino Kubitsche, the plane-shaped city is made up of well defined sectors; residential, hotel, commercial and embassy. In 1987, Brasilia was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the only city built in the 20th Century to receive this mark of distinction due to its unique design and fantastic architecture. The original plan of the city was to accommodate 500,000 people, mostly government workers but now the city has over 2 million inhabitants. Many of the migrant workers who came to help build the city ended up staying, and these communities now form the basis of Brasilia’s many “satellite cities.” Brasilia’s history is one of the things that makes this city unique. Brasilia is a model to future city builders about what can be done with determination, skill and urban planning.
Brasília is the seat of all three branches of the Brazilian government and works as a venue for political events, music performances and movie festivals. Brasília is a cosmopolitan city, with around 119 embassies, a wide range of restaurants and well-designed infrastructure. You can visit innovative buildings and imaginative monuments, ranging from the hyperboloid Cathedral of Brasilia to the lunar-esque Complexo Cultural da Republica to the glass-box Palacio da Alvorada.
The climate in Brasilia Brazil is mild and comfortable any time of year. The 15th IACC will be taking place in November when the average temperature is 22˚C
Most local buses start from or go through the rodoviária, at the precise center of the city, and run along the “wings” - serving the residential zones - or through the Monumental Axis. Red-and-white minibuses, called Zebrinha (little zebras) or Transporte de Vizinhança are very useful for moving around, as they link the central area of Brasilia (Setor Comercial, Setor de Diversões etc.) to Esplanada dos Ministérios, the airport and some of the main avenues (L2 and W3).
Buses must be flagged; otherwise they will only stop when a passenger requests to hop off. Single fares are R$ 2.00 for travel within Brasília. There is no advance sale of tickets, pay as you board.
Taxis are relatively expensive in Brasilia and usually cannot be hailed on the streets. Taxi stands, however, are close to all tourist attractions and any hotel will be able to call a cab or provide the phone number of the best known dispatch offices. All taxis must have taximeters and can start charging only after the passenger has boarded.
The Metrô subway system started operating in 2001. Its Y-shaped line starts in the main bus station (Rodoviária de Brasília - “Central” station) and makes its first stop at Setor Comercial Sul (“Galeria” station), which is fairly near some hotels South of Monumental Axis. It runs along the south wing, stopping at blocks 102, 108, 112 and 114, then going through suburbs. The subway uses to operate 6 AM to 11:30 PM from Monday to Friday (some stations stop selling tickets at 10:30 PM), and from 7 AM to 7 PM on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. It is common to be offered special timelines on some holidays, like New Year’s Eve and the April 21st (city’s anniversary). It’s not particularly useful for tourists, as it does not attend the main attractions, but you may check Around Brasilia by subway, for a proposed itinerary that includes attractions such as the Buddhist Temple (EQS 115/116, access by “114 Sul” Station); Parkshopping mall (next to “Shopping” station) and a typical fair in the satellite city of Guará (access by “Feira” Station). Single fare: R$ 3,00, R$ 2,00 on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.
In Brasilia crime has recently been on the rise. Tourists should practice caution and common sense while travelling in Brasilia. Pickpockets tend to target places where tourists congregate, so be cautious when going to historic sites, museums, restaurants, or when taking public transportation. Avoid walking alone in isolated areas, especially after dark.
Tipping in Brazil is typically not expected nor given. Obviously, if someone provides a typically good or special service, you might consider a bit extra.
At almost all restaurants and bars, a standard “Serviço” service fee of 10% is included as a line item at the end of the “conta” or bill. It is not expected to surpass this amount. It is always clearly identified this fee is not obligatory, but it is hardly expected you pay it.
At bars, the bartenders do not handle cash. In a bar or a restaurant, you ask the bartender for your bill, and he brings a total (usually with full details). Communication is often informal and does not rely on strict rules of protocol.