24.11.2006 28 °C
Belo Horizonte is not the most interesting place in the world, but at the moment, that suits me fine, because I have a cold. (I have no idea how I managed to get a cold in a country where the temperature hits 28 degrees every day.) Strangely enough, Belo Horizonte is a perfect place to take a break from all the strenuous travelling. I am staying in a small, but good hostel called O Sorriso do Lagarto (The Lizard's Smile) right in the snazzy Savassi district of Belo Horizonte.
Belo Horizonte has favelas (slums), but Savassi, especially the Pátio Savassi shopping mall, is becoming my experience of 'rich Brazil'. Pátio Savassi is a huge shopping centre which looks like an exact replica of a shopping mall I spent some hours in in Columbus, Ohio (Andrew, are you reading this?) Except for that every shop is a brand-name shop: there is a Tommy Hilfiger shop, a Calvin Klein shop, an ARMANI SHOP... Prices, I calculated, are near enough to the prices in Europe - so I won't be buying much!
Still, the shopping complex is a fun place to hang out if you don't have the energy for more strenuous sight-seeing. It's also interesting to see how the shopping centre functions as a kind of air-conditioned, ultra-clean bubble of decadence for middle-class and rich Brazilians - of which there are more than I imagined, the place is always packed!