Archive for July, 2007

Cheaper flights to Brazil?

Cheaper flights to Brazil?

In the midst of so many negative news on air travel in Brazil, the Brazilian newspaper Valor Econômico publishes today a surprisingly positive piece of news: Governo quer reduzir tarifa de vôos para fora do país (the government wants to reduce fares for international flights). Briefly, it would seem that the Brazilian government wants a more flexible price structure (prices are regulated by the government). The aim would be to allow airlines to give bigger discounts on their flights to the U.S. and Europe.

The only plausible explanation for the news (piece of news that needs to be taken with a pinch of salt) is that the government is trying to minimize the negative impact (or should it be rather catastrophic impact?) that the airport crisis will have on international tourism in Brazil. Whatever the reason, the discounts are welcome. Specially at a time when domestic fares increased 7,32% in June and 8,25% in July, with further increases on the way (Tarifa aérea aumentou em julho e deve subir mais).

From this blog we have adviced you for quite a long time now to plan trips to Brazil that reduce the number of domestic flights you take to a minimum. The way things are going, our advice will be even more important in years to come, taking into account the constant increase in the price of domestic flights.

July 31, 2007 | By More
Ruy Ohtake in São Paulo

Ruy Ohtake in São Paulo

São Paulo is host to some excellent examples of the work of Japanese-Brazilian architect Ruy Ohtake. One of those examples is the Hotel Unique, winner of uncountable architecture prizes for its futuristic design. Fans of the game show Amazing Race (ninth season) will remember that the contestants had to climb to the top terrace of the hotel.

hotel Unique, São Paulo

hotel Unique

The second outstanding work is the building complex known as Centro Cultural Tomie Ohtake, aka Carambola (star fruit).

Carambola, São Paulo

Carambola, São Paulo

Location of the buildings:


View Ruy Ohtake in a larger map

This entry was originally published in the Blog de São Paulo.

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July 31, 2007 | By More
False friends: oi

False friends: oi

The moment you set foot on Brazil people will greet you with the word oi! Do not panic, they are not trying to attract your attention because they are angry. Oi! means simply hi!

If you want to render the English oi! into Portuguese, go for something like ei!

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July 27, 2007 | By More
Long queues ahoy!

Long queues ahoy!

The new Brazilian Defence minister has just declared that never-ending queues at the airports are the price you pay for safety.

Hold on. If the queues represent any price at all, it has to be the price of incompetence. Because 10 months of queues at the Brazilian airports have brought no safety whatsoever. So much so that president Lula declared yesterday – to the dismay of tourism authorities, I suppose, that every time he takes a plane in Brazil he puts his trust in God. The former Defence minister had already declared that the solution to the air crisis in Brazil involved “a lot of faith and a lot of praying”.

Are you still keen on a trip to Brazil?

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July 26, 2007 | By More
Lost luggage

Lost luggage

A reader of this blog wrote in despair a couple of days ago from the States. Her husband was in Brazil, he had arrived in the country right in the middle of the chaotic situation Brazilian airports are facing at the moment. He had taken a GOL connecting flight from Rio to São Paulo and his luggage was nowhere to be seen. His luggage contained all his belongings. GOL staff were not helping at all and all attempts to contact the company on the phone were fruitless. What could he possibly do?

At times like this I feel really powerless. I do not work for the tourism & travel industry so the most I can do is try and give some basic and sensible advice, knowing perfectly well my words might not go a very long way, given the shambles Brazilian airports have become.

In any case, should you find yourself in a similar situation, this is my advice:

  • do not leave the airport. Once you do that, your chances of contacting the airline on the phone are slim. Right now, getting through to somebody on the telephone is just something that is not going to happen. The whole system has collapsed.
  • at the airport, try to talk to someone from the airline and get a document in writing stating your luggage hasn’t turned up.
  • go to the ANAC office at the airport and file a complaint. ANAC is the Brazilian’s government regulatory body supposedly responsible for defending passenger’s rights.

None of this actions will guarantee you will get your luggage back. But being away from the airport is even more unlikely to yield any results.

I’m glad to report our reader’s luggage finally turned up.

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July 25, 2007 | By More