Tuesday, 19 October 2004

My Local

I went local last night for food and drink. I found this small restaurant at the top of a flight of stairs where I got a very nice meal that I could not finish for less than 9 reais, that is about GBP 1.80, drinks included. After that I went to a local bar, but not for very long. To put it mildly, it was not the best frequented place I've ever been to. It appears my hotel is in a slightly sleazy neighbourhood.

Now, I can hear people ask: "but why don't you look in your travel guide to find nice places to go to?" Well, I'd like to ask the same from Lonely Planet. Their section on Belo Horizonte in their Brazil guide is abysmal. Granted, it is not a typical tourist destination, compared to other cities in Brazil but it is still the 3rd or 4th largest city in the country. More than 3 or 4 pages would be nice and a map where streets are missing is definitely out of order. Fair enough, they're not big streets but they have some nice restaurants and bars that, as a result, are also missing. They also managed to miss some of the most amazing neo-gothic churches and colonial buildings I've ever seen. I am atheist but some of the churches here are amongst the best examples of places of worship that are so atmospheric they would inspire awe and respect in anybody, whatever their faith. Missing them in a travel guide is gross negligence. Ok, I'll stop ranting now and do what I've been doing for 3 days: build my own guide to Belo Horizonte using local resources and experimenting. If I'm in a good mood when I come back, I might send it to Lonely Planet.

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