Natal Brazil

Information about the city of Natal, in Brazil.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Illegal tunnel was being carved

A Spanish group which is building a hotel and a mall in Ponta Negra was carving a tunnel without any authorization.
The tunnel would pass under avenida Roberto Freire (the street which goes downhill to the Ponta Negra beach) and would connect the hotel to the beach street. It was discovered only because the workers broke a water pipe, and CAERN (the Water and Sewage Company) was called.

When CAERN reached the tunnel, it was already 3 meters high, 3 meters wide and 18 meters long (see photo). The city Government ordered immediate stop of the work. The owner of the hotel, Adolfo Sierra Calderon, went to the authorities, but didn't explain why he was building the tunnel.

Carving such a big tunnel is obviously against the law (probably a crime), and puts at risk the safety of many people; even in Brazil, this kind of act is unheard of. The Spaniards managed to burst another wave of criticisms against the foreigns who "come to Ponta Negra and do whatever they want". See comments by the readers of Tribuna do Norte here.

The name of the mall being built is Gorbea Shopping. Recommended for those who want to do business with people who don't seem to care much about respecting the law.

Update: the Public Prosecutors entered into an 'agreement' with the Spaniards. There will be no criminal suit. The Spaniards should 'donate' some equipment to be used in water sanitation or something similar; estimated cost is 'at least' R$ 20,000 (about US$ 10,000); the Prosecutors will be 'very rigorous' to guarantee that the Spaniards fulfill the agreement.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Dollar breaks the R$2 barrier

Today, for the first time since February of 2001, the dollar fell below the R$ 2 barrier: markets closed with the course of US$1 = R$ 1.9890.

In 2002 and 2003, the dollar reached almost US$ 4, because President Lula used to defend ideas like non-payment of debts, punishment to wild capitalists, etc. However, after taking office, Lula continued (and in many cases deepened) the orthodox measures implanted by ex-President Fernando Henrique Cardoso. This continuity of Economy policies, along with the excellent conditions of the international financial market, caused the dollar to fall since 2004.

This is bad news for foreign tourists, and for businesses which depend on tourism.
Many Brazilian tourists are preferring a trip to Miami or Buenos Aires rather than the Northeast, because prices in dollar are falling.
On the other hand, tourists who bring dollars to spend in Brazil are seeing their money buying less and less.
The euro has not been loosing much to the Real, so prices in euros are not going up. However, with the increase of Brazilians travelling abroad (and they must return, eventually), airline companies have less seats to sell to foreigns; this decreases availability and increases prices of tickets.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Pope in Brazil

The Pope Benedict XVI (in Portuguese, he is called Bento 16) arrived today in Brazil, and will stay here until the 14th. Brazil is THE biggest Catholic country in the world.
There are political discussions about the importance of this visit; for example, there is a draft of law in Congress about legalization of abortion in Brazil (today, abortion is legal only in very specific circumstances), and the Pope would have talked about "excomunhão" (expelling from Catholicism) of Deputies and Senators who vote for the law.

The purpose of this post, however, is to remind Catholics visiting Natal that a Pope visited the city in the past.
Pope John Paul II came to Brazil in 1991 (it was his second visit to Brazil), and the first city he visited was Natal. On October 12th, day of the Patron Saint of Brazil, Our Lady Aparecida, John Paul II celebrated a mass at the Cathedral of Natal (see his speach).

John Paul stayed one night in Natal. Instead of the hotels by the beach, the Pope chose to stay at the Centro de Treinamento, a Training Center used by the Catholic Church for meetings and events.
The Training Center is located at the end of Ponta Negra village, about one hundred meters behind the Ponta Negra church.
The Center has, besides meeting halls, some rooms used for accommodation of the people who attend the events.

Last year, I visited the center (I mean: I asked the lady who was guarding the gate to allow me a short entrance), and I was told that, during certain months of the year (from January to March), the rooms are open for other guests.
Catholics may find spiritually significant to visit the center. In the garden, there is a tree (a pau-brazil) which was planted by the Pope.

Labels: ,