So as I have mentioned in a previous post, I did not love the city of Brasilia; too modern, too much concrete, etc. It's like if Shanghai and the Jetsons had a love-child, with a splash of eastern soviet block communism. Part of it too, had to do with the “bubble within the bubble” which we were kept. There were certain moments however, when we got glimpses of of everyday life for those who live in the city, enjoyed a good meal, or both.
I enjoyed dinner at SOHO in the Lago Sul area; a manmade lake surrounded with resturaunts that provide a stunning view of the sunset. Oh wait, that's right, we're on Brazilian time, so we actually missed it. Still, the food and company was good.
And just in case your find yourself at the restuarant some time in the future and can't figure out where the bathroom is, just look for these symbols on each door; the banannas indicate men, and the bikinis, women.
The absolute highlight of Brasilia however, and one of the best experiences I've had in Brazil so far, was eating at the famed Universal Diner. On our last night, we were given free time and the option to have dinner on our own. While many of my fellow fellows (that never gets old:)) decided to stay at the hotel and enjoy dinner in the Old Bar, Jennifer, Fernando, Adrian, and myself decided to break free and head out to find real, live Brazilians. It really did feel like prison break.
By the suggestion of Lonely Planet, we had the taxi take us to the Universal Diner, which sits on a little block with cute little restuarants and bars (the first we have seen that are not inside malls). The decor of the place is a mixture1950s nostalgia and kitsch flaire. The place just has a great vibe, and on top of that, the food is outstanding.
We had a great meal with many laughs, and already we were going on and on about how wonderful the night was, when the chef came over to ask about our meal. Extremely charismatic, she spent a good amout of her time chatting with us by our table, then wound up sending us a free round of drinks.
The night continued at a little bar down the street where we were able to sit outside, watch some futball, and just relax.
I was so glad we were able to break out of the bubble a bit and experience a little real Brazil. Underneath the creepy retro-futurism that is much of Brasilia, there is a lively scene that resembles more of what you think of when you think of Brazilian culture. If you find yourself in Brasila, you must make every effort to seek out the Universal Diner; as Fernando would say, “It was, simply,….the best.” 🙂