Array ( [total] => 4 [pageSize] => 24 [page] => 0 [results] => Array ( [5636] => Array ( [iID] => 5636 [tTitle] => The Rio Olympics [tSlug] => the-rio-olympics [iTime] => 1471730400 [iUpdate] => 1489792487 [tDescription] => Notwithstanding the doomsayers, the Rio Olympics were quite a success.  Yes, they were way over budget, but Quebec only paid off its Olympic debt 30 years after they hosted the Olympic Summer Games in 1976. Stranger, the head of the IOC claimed that no public funds were used to host the games, which is the kind of bending the truth that breaks it. Or it's just clever book keeping, as money needed to come in from all sides; The state of Rio was bailed out for almost a billion USD just a few weeks before the Olympics, the Brazilian government ponied up a billion for security during the Olympics, though technically as a loan. And money that was supposed to be used for the Paralympics was used for the main games.  Only one Olympian died. Or rather, one Olympian coach, and that was in a car crash. A few had stuff stolen, but the highest profile case turned out to be a fabrication, after gold medallist Lochte spent a drunk night on the town. Reviled as an example of white privilege, perhaps the more poignant response was of the Brazilian police, indicting the swimmerpulling two other swimmers of an airplane as they were leaving the country and barring the two others from leaving the country. Then, one of the swimmers paid close to 11000 USD, either for 'restitution', or to a 'charity'. The BBC has the lawyer of Feigen, who paid, quoted as saying that "the 35000 Reais will be paid to an 'institute'", which, to me, sounds much more like 'white privilege' than anything else in this story. Zika fears were completely overblown, with Slate's prediction of 100 cases not even close to reality. Similarly, fears of the consequences of polluted water have been unfounded. Though only a fraction of the Paralympics tickets have been sold, some 82% of the seats at the Summer Games were filled, though some photos of empty stadiums strongly suggest otherwise. Less than London's 97%, but similar to Sydney's and more than Athens'. But, importantly, tickets started at 40 Reais, some 11 euros. Similar to then cost of a cinema ticket. Rio now has a third, very long, but only with a few stops, metro line, almost mysteriously called Line 4. Line 3, planned for Niteroi, across the bay, has been expected for a while, but is yet to materialise. Line 4 was, and until the end of the Paralympics, is, only open to Olympic ticket holders, who still have to pay dearly to access the speedy connection to the Olympic Park. Crime didn't suddenly disappear. Though some Cariocas feel that the city was safer during the gamesthe numbers suggest that there was actually more violence in Rio during the games.  A bunch of families were thrown out of their houses, though I feel that, after South Africa mostly got away with it in 2010, and Brazil thought they could in 2014, word has gotten out, meaning that the sizeable coverage on displacements is justified, but perhaps reporting on something that is not as bad as it's been with previous and similar events. But, what was it like? Rio has always been popular with foreigners. No one visits Sao Paulo, everyone goes to Rio. During the games, it was just a tad worse. We attended four events.  An early game of basketball between Brazil and Lithuania, with an unpleasant amount of booing from the Brazilian fans, but a rather spectacular game, where Lithuania beat the Brazilians to pulp in the first half, only for Brazil to almost win the game during the second half. Then there was a weightlifting final, where we saw two world records being broken, and the Armenian champion dislocate his elbow, which looked much, much worse, than it seems to have been.  This was followed up by a very entertaining table tennis quarter finals.  We closed with some rather dull kayaking and canoeing. Here, as a spectator, you only have a good view of a very narrow band of the 'track', in our case the area around the 200m mark, for some of the heats the starting position of the participants. But, then, to see who's ahead when they're not right in front of you, requires checking out the large screen, which you just as easily can do at home. We also attended the legendary Holland Heineken House. Which was a thorough disappointment. Painfully expensive, in an upper-middle-class suburb of Rio, both the suburb and the House a nest of upper-class privilege.  But, we did get to see Douwe Bob, live, the Dutch singer at this year's Eurovision. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 1271 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1490 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 13 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -22.9762 [fLongitude] => -43.3946 [tLocation] => Barra Olympic Park [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20160821 ) [5632] => Array ( [iID] => 5632 [tTitle] => Not the Rio Olympics [tSlug] => not-the-rio-olympics [iTime] => 1470348000 [iUpdate] => 1470519253 [tDescription] => A meme that's doing the rounds is to call this year's summer olympics in Rio the 'games of exclusion', or 'jogos da exclusao'. This, because of the families that were removed from what became the venues for both the Olympic Games and the 2014 World Cup. Together with Agencia Publica, I worked on a project collecting 100 stories of displaced families. If anything, the world seems much more aware, now, of the darker underbelly of mega sports events, though with Rio's actions not being different, perhaps even better, than what happened in South Africa for the 2010 World Cup. Even, the Olympic organizers tried to make a point of keeping tickets available for Brazilians at low prices. Expensive tickets do exist, but it's still possible, now, to buy discounted tickets, basically for students, teachers and the elderly, for as little as 20 Reais, currently about 6 euros, while regular priced tickets start at 40 Reais. Yet, other types of exclusion also applied. Were the Russians going to be allowed to participate or not? Were tourists actually going to come or not, out of fear of contracting zika? But, thank Niantic and Nintendo, only two days before the opening of the games, for releasing Pokemon Go in Brazil. At least now the athletes don't have to worry bout being excluded from playing this location-based game on and around what probably is the most beautiful city beach in the world. (Also, if you're interested in an alternative location-based game, try Kompl.) The opening ceremony of the games, though no match for Beijing's in 2008, was received well. Performed at the Maracana stadium, just hours before, one of two of the day's demonstrations went on only a few blocks away. Here, the atmosphere was somewhat tense, but turnout was low, where it felt that as much as half the participants were accredited media. The second demonstration happened earlier, on Copacabana. Where the Maracana demonstration was against the Olympics, the Copacabana one was against Temer, Brazil's acting president, and the coup-through-legal-means he and his staged earlier this year. The Intercept put turnout at 15000, but I thought it noticeably less. But, here, the crowd was mellow, and included a bunch of trade union representatives who, in a way, combined a day at the beach with a passionate denouncing of the president and his actions. If you're on the fence as to whether Temer deserves the negative criticism, be aware that he has been barred from running for public office for eight years, for violating campaign finance laws. However, he was not barred from holding public office, with the presidency being handed to him to due Dilma's dismissal. At the opening ceremony, Temer was one of the bigwigs speaking to the crowds. They should have used the same anti-booing technology used at Eurovision, as an easily noticeable vocal dislike erupted from the stands for the duration of his speech. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 1204 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1289 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 15 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -22.9875 [fLongitude] => -43.2007 [tLocation] => Posto 9 [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20160805 ) [5630] => Array ( [iID] => 5630 [tTitle] => 100 stories [tSlug] => 100-stories [iTime] => 1468965600 [iUpdate] => 1516070018 [tDescription] => A hundred stories of Cariocas, citizens of Rio de Janeiro, relocated for the Olympics or the World Cup, collected in a rich media experience available in both Portuguese and English. Conceptualisation by Olga Lucía Lozano, design by Lorena Parra with implementation by myself, under the fine supervision of Natalia Viana of Agência Pública. 100 stories won the 38º Prêmio Jornalístico Vladimir Herzog de Anistia e Direitos Humanos, in 2016 and was nominated for the Gabriel García Márquez award in the 'Innovation' category in 2017. 100 stories also was a finalist for the Brazilian Prêmio Petrobras de Jornalismo. [iCategory] => 5 [tURL] => [iViews] => 934 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1489 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => sparse [iHideMap] => 1 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 1 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -23.5755 [fLongitude] => -46.8554 [tLocation] => The yellow house [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Work [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 5 [categories] => Array ( [5] => Array ( [iID] => 5 [tName] => Work [tSlug] => work [tDescription] => Work, shmork! But, yes, one needs to make a living as well. I'm a self employed web developer with extensive experience in 'the south', that is, the developing world. I strongly focus on social applications, or, 'web 2.0'. If you're intrigued, you can check out my CV. My business is called Baba's projects. [iOrder] => 6 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => sparse [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => bf:blogitem=5630 ) [5628] => Array ( [iID] => 5628 [tTitle] => Of beaches and prisons [tSlug] => of-beaches-and-prisons [iTime] => 1464472800 [iUpdate] => 1464896962 [tDescription] => Brazil, like most catholic countries, celebrates Corpus Christi, that is, the belief that blood and body of Christ are truly and really present in the Eucharist. On the day of the celebration, often, there’s a procession of altar bread and wine, displayed in a monstrance, which often looks like a solar disc on a pedestal. We bumped in to one such procession while we took the opportunity of the associated long weekend by heading out to Ilha Grande, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Brazil. On the coast, roughly halfway between Rio and Sao Paulo. Now, nearing winter, the island is pleasantly quiet, with the majority of tourists being foreigners, who don’t have the luxury of heading out to Ilha Grande whenever they feel like it, or only when it’s nice and hot. And, yes, though daily temperatures easily rose above 25 degrees, I once or twice felt it a good idea to wear a sweater, at night. But, then, being too lazy to get up and get one, and still feeling quite comfortable drinking a cold beer, overlooking the bay in front the island's main, only, town, meant that what constitutes 'cold' is rather relative. Ilha Grande also has a more notorious side to it. For almost a century, the island was closed to the public, first because it housed a leper colony, and then, until 1994, a high-security prison, home to some of the most dangerous prisoners in Brazil. Now, tranquility is king, but some two dozen people were killed as recently as 6 years ago due to a mudslide after heavy rains. But, times were much tougher, particularly between the late 1960 until the prison closed. After the 1964 coup, political prisoners were also being sent to Cândido Mendes, the prison, which, after they started to collaborate with the more regular, and typically more violent, inmates, resulted in the creation of perhaps Brazil’s deadliest crime syndicate, the Red Phalanx, or Falange Vermelha. Perhaps originally coming from a political ideology, the group changed its name to Comando Vermelho in the early 1980s and now primarily engages in arms and drug trafficking, active in roughly the northern half of the South American continent. Conditions in the prison deteriorated, with the Comando Vermelho in control. In 1993, just a year before it closed, photographer Andre Cypriano spent several months documenting the daily life of those stuck in this Brazilian version of displeasure. Upon closing, residents of the island were shattered, the prison and its network being their sole income. But, quickly reinventing themselves and the island, realising the tropical appeal of tourism on their abandoned island, things turned around quickly. The prison has been torn down, the outer walls all that still stand, but one former prisoner, Julio de Almeida, who once managed to escape but was sent back after four years in Rio, ended up staying on the island for over 50 years. He still lives close to the prison, where we accidentally bumped into the man. We found our way to Dois Rios, the little cluster of houses next to the former prison, by bike. The 9 kilometres or so from the island’s main settlement belies how tough the climb actually is. The reward, besides gawking at the little settlement, is a gorgeous and almost empty beach. A popular trek is the hike to Lopes Mendes, a beach some two hours away by foot, through the jungle. But, so popular, if with gorgeous blue water, that, even now in late autumn, it felt a bit like being on the beach in Copacabana or Leme. On the trek to Lopes Mendes, the second most common tourists, after foreigners, were Paulistas, Brazilians living in Sao Paulo. All of them easily recognisable by their clothes and behaviour. But, in Vila do Abraão, the main village of the island, it was also easy to spot the lower middle class Cariocas, people from Rio, many of them having taken the slow, but cheap, municipal bus from Rio, saving almost two thirds on the price of the faster, intercity bus. We traveled with them on the way back to Rio, passing the distant Carioca communities, now filled with those forcibly displaced to make room for the upcoming Olympics. 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