Brazil vs. Japan will open FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 at 4 p.m. local time at Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha in Brasília today. Federal District officials informed security and urban mobility actions for the event, which will include the "Brasília Joga Junto" (Brasília Plays Along) party from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Esplanada dos Ministérios, the lawn between the Metropolitan Cathedral and the National Congress.
At the Esplanada, nine high-res screens will show the opening ceremony and the match. After the game, arena goers can follow a parade led by trios elétricos (sound-wired trucks with bands playing on top, namely Obará, Ile Axe Oya Bagan, Mambembricante, Banda Imagem, Pé de Cerrado and Boi do Seu Teodoro) to the Esplanada for shows. The lineup: Seu Estrelo e Fuá de Terreiro (opening at 6 p.m.), Revelação (samba) and Asa de Águia (axé music from Bahia).
Military Police have assigned 3,100 officers to game day security. A team of 607 firefighters and 240 special force officers will be on duty.
According to the latest reports in the local press, three to five people have been arrested following the protest during which about 200 people burned tires on a road leading to the National Stadium yesterday.
Local authorities have renewed their appeal to the public: take public transportantion to the arena. There will be five special bus lines running; other bus lines will be free from noon to 9 p.m. for those with game tickets; a special bus for wheelchair users will be available at Parking 12 at Parque da Cidade.
The subway (ticket price: R$2) will be open from 6 a.m. on. All stations will be open until 11:30 p..m for departures and arrivals, and after that time Central Station will be open for departures only.
About 500 taxis will be using the parking lot at the Brasil 21 building.
World soccer fans in Brasilia for the Confederations Cup can also enjoy an exhibition at the National Theater commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1962 World Cup. Some of the items on display are jerseys worn by the champions, posters and photos of the final (Brazil 3 vs. Czechoslovakia 1) and a replica of the Jules Rimet Trophy (the original, which had been perpetually awarded to Brazil after winning three World Cups, was stolen from the Rio de Janeiro headquarters of today's Brazil Soccer Confederation in 1983).
Companies offering city tours to soccer fans interested in guided sightseeing include Catedral Turismo (55-61-3964-9122), which has double deckers with a wheechair-accessible area and audio guides in English and Spanish. Attractions where the tour stops for 10 minutes: Metropolitan Cathedral, Praça dos Três Poderes, and Palácio da Alvorada.
Brasilia is one of the host cities in FIFA Confederations Cup 2013 and 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil with a higher chance of sunshine through those winter events; check out the local weather forecast on Weather.com.
Several changes are in place for Rio de Janeiro's top two paid attractions. Some of those changes are related to the upcoming World Youth Day (worldyouthday.com).
Tickets to the Bondinho must be purchased online from July 17 to Aug.1; read more about it here:
The Corcovado will open at night during WYD. Alterations in the ticket purchase process brought about by a recent decree issued by Rio's city administration have been ruled out by a judge. The Corcovado is often on the news these days (with long, long lines at the Largo do Machado van stop among the latest); if you're headed for Rio, get informed about the most recent updates before you visit the attraction.
Tomorrow, world soccer fans will have one more opportunity to purchase tickets to FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 (read more). Some of the games in the tournament starting on June 15 will take place in Fortaleza, the first host city in the Confederations Cup and 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil to have its host stadium inaugurated.
One of two arenas which will open their Confederations Cup schedule with a Brazil match (the other one is the National Stadium Brasília), Castelão looks quite different from when it opened in 1973. Learn more about Ceará State's most important soccer stadium.
A super backpacker destination and an ecotourism and adventure travel paradise, Bonito, in Mato Grosso do Sul, has gotten a little more feasible for student travel with the opening of Hostel Beija-Flor and its travel agency.
Brigitte, the owner, is from Switzerland. English, French, German and Portuguese are spoken at the hostel with a family atmosphere, with a continental buffet breakfast included in the rates and rooms (2-4 beds) with A/C and a bathroom. Wi-Fi is included.
Blue Lake Cave (above), waterfalls, white water rafting, diving and snorkeling in Bonito and neighboring areas in Southern Pantanal can all be arranged through Brigitte's agency; so can visits to local farms.
Rua Luiz da Costa Leite 1028
Bonito - MS
A symbol of luxury travel in Brazil, Hotel Unique is on many of the world's it-lists; one of my favorite is "30 projetos - Obras-chave para entender a arquitetura nacional" ("30 Projects - Key Works to Understand National Architecture"), on ARCOWeb. The hotel's crimson rooftop pool with one of the best views of the São Paulo skyline has celebrity status.
Aesthetics and service really come together at the Ruy Ohtake-designed hotel in the Jardins district, which I thoroughly enjoyed visiting for a tour, even more so because I admire Ohtake's architecture immensely (as I do the art of his mother, Tomie Ohtake, and the research work and publications by his brother, designer and graphic artist Ricardo Ohtake).
Senses are alternately jolted and soothed at the Unique, also thanks to landscaping by Gilberto Elkis, interiors by João Armentano, and intriguing objects everywhere, like this large statue of Saint George to the left of the hotel entrance (the dragon is an addition, staff said) or the Boa sofa by the Campana brothers.
The avenue the hotel is located on is busy - after the tour, I took a bus at a stop across the street to Paulista Avenue - but the suites are islands of peace in the megalopolis, and nearby Ibirapuera Park is like a green shield.
Culinary by Emmanuel Bassoleil, one of Brazil's greatest chefs, attracts guests and non-guests from all over the world to rooftop Skye Bar & Restaurant, here seen with the water mirror which lights up the lobby six floors below.
Last September, the Unique turned 10, without fuss. But Ruy Ohtake specially designed limited edition t-shirts for the occasion, benefiting Laramara - an association supporting people with visual impairments, founded by Mara and Victor Siaulys in 1991 and directed by their youngest daughter Lara Siaulys, who lost her sight as an infant. Her siblings, Jonas Siaulys and Tatiana Siaulys Zanchetta, own the Unique and the also stunning Unique Garden, respectively.
- Hotel Unique, São Paulo, Brazil
Rio de Janeiro's Historic Downtown (Centro Histórico) just keeps getting better and better, thanks to the reurbanization of the area, restored cultural landmarks such as Theatro Municipal and its restaurants and happy hour.
Rua do Rosário is one of the attractive streets in Centro Histórico which has a string of handsome historical constructions, some of which now house eateries. The rosary in the street's name evokes a church located on Rua Uruguaiana where it intersects with Rosário: Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Rosário e São Benedito dos Homens Pretos, where a new museum dedicated to African-Brazilian heritage opened last Monday, May 13 (Abolition of Slavery Day in Brazil).
Rua do Rosário has a historic church of its own - Igreja da Venerável Ordem de Nossa Senhora da Conceição e Boa Morte, built in 1735. It's on the corner of Avenida Rio Branco.
The street has several places to eat, from nice franchises such as Spoleto (at #140) to one-of-a-kind spots or branches of nice multi-address restaurants such as these:
- At #24:Casual Retro
Portuguese food is one of Rio's strengths, and this place is no exception to the appetizing rule.
- At #30: Al-Farabi
A unique spot (restaurant + book shop) serving Middle Eastern food.
- At #34: Brasserie Rosario
A well-known Rio fave with live music (including fine jazz)
- At #36: Lampadosa
I learned from Rio de Janeiro culinary writer Fabio Codeço about this new place (opened last April) by Luciano Pires, owner of Cais do Oriente, and his fiancee, chef Simone Almeida.
- At #84: Expresso dos Alpes
Ana Rita Ulyssea's cute cafe serves light meals as well as coffee, chocolate and pastries.
- At #107: Esch
The Leblon branch of Rio's famous cigar lounge (which also has a São Paulo address) gets more hype and celebs, but this spot has a vibe all its own.
Right across from Expresso dos Alpes is one side of the outstanding Galeria Sul America, designed by J. Gire and R. Prentice and with retrofit by Tishman Speyer. The building with a ground floor open to the public occupies the block outlined by Rua da Quitanda, Rua do Rosário, Rua do Carmo and Rua do Ouvidor.
Note that because the area has so many office buildings, public institutions and shops, many of the eateries close on weekends; check opening hours before you go.
Photos by Alexandre Macieira/Riotur
Unidos da Tijuca, one of the top samba schools in Rio de Janeiro, will commemorate F1 racing car driver Ayrton Senna (1960-1994) in their 2014 Carnival parade.
The theme was officially announced last night in an event at Cidade do Samba which was attended by Viviane Senna, Ayrton's sister and the president of Instituto Ayrton Senna, as well as by carnavalesco (Carnival director) Paulo Barros and Unidos da Tijuca president Fernando Horta.
Horta said that he had long wanted to pay homage to the famous driver, who died in an accident on Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola, Italy. "I always followed F1 and I was an Ayrton Senna fan," said Horta. "It is fitting that I should fulfill my old wish [and pay homage to Senna] in 2014, when it will be 20 years since he left us."
Paulo Barros, whose creativity has led to a series of stunning Unidos da Tijuca parades in recent years, including the 2010 and 2012 titles, said that this is more than a biographical theme. "Ayrton is symbol of heroism, thrills, emotion, passion. That's what I'll bring to the avenue."
Viviane Senna said she felt honored by the school's decision: "It couldn't be in better hands; Paulo puts feeling and his heart into his work, as my brother did." As president of IAS, she continues her brother's wish to do something for Brazilian children. The non-governmental organization dedicated to education and development has helped 2 million children in 1,500 cities.
Unidos da Tijuca:
- Unidos da Tijuca on YouTube
One of the most important celebrations in Brazil's African heritage tourism, Bembé do Mercado will start tomorrow in Santo Amaro, Bahia. The feast with a strong focus on the Candomblé religion commemorates the Abolition of Slavery of Brazil on May 13, 1888 and has been held nearly every year since 1899.
This year is special for Bembé participants as it will be the first time the event takes place since it was officially listed as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Bahia in 2012. The program (see it on Africas.com.br) includes several performances by cultural groups, traditional Afro-Brazilian expressions such as samba de roda and samba chula, and Candomblé rites held in a tent with great religious symbolism which is set up every year specially for the event.
The festivities close with a procession to nearby Itapema Beach and the offering of a gift to Iemanjá, the orisha (Candomblé deity) of the waters.
The town of Santo Amaro, located just about 41 miles from Salvador, is in the Recôncavo Baiano region, rich in African heritage manifestations, including the Feast of Good Death. In the US, Afro Brazil Tours & Travel offer trips to the region.
- Bembé do Mercado, May 13-19, 2013 in Santo Amaro, Bahia, Brazil
Before hosting FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 (June 15-30) and 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, Salvador's newly opened host stadium - Arena Fonte Nova - is hosting the first of two matches in the 2013 Bahia soccer tournament finals.
The first match in the finals and the third Ba-Vi (Bahia vs. Vitoria, the local classic) to take place in the new stadium is tomorrow at 4 p.m. The second game in the finals will be played on May 19 at Vitória's home arena: Manoel Barradas Stadium, better known as Barradão, in Salvador's Canabrava district.
Vitória, which won the first two classics at the new Fonte Nova, will try to break a 18-year stint without beating Bahia three times in a row. The match will not be played to the noise of caxirolas (pronounced ca-shee-RO-las), the "Brazilian vuvuzela". The Bahia Military Police announced last Thursday that the instruments have been banned from the stadium because they were thrown on the pitch by disgruntled Bahia fans last April 28, the first test event.
The first Confederations Cup match at Fonte Nova will be Nigeria vs. Uruguay, on June 20. The arena received a positive evaluation from the Local Organizing Committee after the test event.
Committee CEO Ricardo Trade, in an interview to the Brazilian government's official Portal da Copa (www.copa2014.gov.br), reinforced the importance of test events to detect problems and praised the arena's beauty and efficiency.
Trade also noted the positive efforts on the part of the city of Salvador regarding urban mobility.
- Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador, Brazil
Avek, a restaurant with a wine bar and a wine store, is one of the newest openings on Rua Joaquim Antunes, a street in the Pinheiros district containing a string of nice restaurants in a five-block stretch.
Owners Jean Duboc and Maurício Cerrutti have entrusted their new venture to French chef Alain Uzan (who used to own a place in Jardins, Le Bistro d'Alain) and sommelière Luciene Carvalho.
The new place, designed by Estúdio Arkiz, looks sleek, with dark wood, a cork wall with 38 lamps, and works by Spanish artist David Dalmau. The wine store is right at the entrance.
Chef Uzan grew up in the seaside Vendeé in France, the son of restaurant owners. He moved to São Paulo in 1999. Besides owning Le Bistro d'Alain, he's worked extensively as a consultant.
The menu he has developed for Avek blends creations he has perfected through his history as a chef and dishes created specially for the new place, including a menu for the bar à vin. Oysters, charcuterie, tartines, vols au vents and 12 kinds of appetizers served on spoons (robalo ceviche and shrimp à la provençale are two of the options you can enjoy with the wines).
Luciene Carvalho has selected 100 labels for the restaurant and 200 for the store. Among the highlights are handcrafted Champagne labels such as Lamblot, Michel Arnould, and Franck Bonville, imported exclusively by Hedoniste.
In the main dining room, chef Uzan's specialties include starters such as the house's dried magret with greens, walnuts and Roquefort (R$ 32) and crisp crayfish with arugula and mango (R$ 38).
For the main dish, try the entrecôte grelhado with the chef's sauce and homemade pommes frites (R$ 49) or "Le petit Parisien" steak tartare with three sauces (R$ 38). For dessert, macaroons with red berries (R$22) and a three-chocolate cube (R$26) are some of the choices.
Rua Joaquim Antunes 48
Hours: Lunch Tue-Fri noon to 3 p.m., Sat and Sun noon to 4 p.m. Dinner Tue-Thur 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., Fri and Sat 5:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Valet parking: R$ 15 (lunch), R$ 20 (dinner)
Wheelchair-accessible Wi-Fi availabe
Photos by Tadeu Brunelli courtesy of Avek.