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Monthly Archive for December, 2008

Happy New Year!

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Looking back

Highlights of the year 2008

Happy New Year to everyone! We have been holed up in Rosario sick from flu in the last few days, but with the new year A Long Drive resumes as we make our way towards Valparaiso, Chile.

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A Life Worth Living

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Serene Christ. For Panorama click here.

The beat – A party everyday – Razor’s edge.

The beat is loud and thick, it reverberates in my chest. All around us are bodies gyrating, dancing to a drunken singer with a voice made rough and gravelly by cigarette smoke and bad living. The favela hums with excitement and taxis crawl forward through dense million man march crowds at a speed where the needle is glued to zero. They are the spillover from the Samba school because they don’t want to pay to dance or can’t pay to dance and they dance to the music echoing from the Samba school as it mixes with home-made frog amplifiers and decibel drag racer wanna be Volkswagens. Inside the Samba school gravel guy screams over the pulsing crowd bathed with complexion unflattering neon light and lonely neglected Caiprinhas stand diluted with ice cubes. This is Rio where the meter of life is pegged to eleven.

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The ‘Good’ and the Ugly

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Favela Tour

City of God – Violence – A paradox – “Middle class” favela – Drugs and guns – A civic challenge. (Map this!)

The very name “Rio de Janeiro” conjures up visions of gun-touting hoodlums, cars running red lights for fear of stopping and a population terrorized by the vast disparity between classes.

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“If you are bored of London, you are bored of life” – London based Polish economist in Rio de Janeiro

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Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

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Santos Dumont

The 14-bis – Objections – Ingrained fact – A contract – Cluster Ballooning. (Map this!)

I have it on good authority that the Wright brothers were NOT first in flight. That distinction belongs to Alberto Santos Dumont of Brazil. Santos Dumont was born in Brazil and spent most of his aeronautical career in France. It was there that he designed and flew the “14-bis”, the name of his aircraft that has the distinction of producing the first powered heavier than air flight in Europe. On September 13th, 1906, Dumont took to the air with the 14-bis, and found his way into the history books. Or not, it depends on who you talk to. Brazilians will stick to this story as it is what they have learned in school.

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