Origins of the Animal Game

Screen Shot 2018-11-19 at 4.02.22 PM

I translated pieces of an article from 1963 and posted them below. You’ll read about how the animal game was played in Cambodia, how different variations of the game pre-existed the one we all know (including the more prominent flower game), and that Brazilians have a Mexican to thank for the continuation and proliferation of the game in Rio.

______

Jornal do Brasil
12/13/1963

Despite a law to the contrary, the animal game is considered one of the most serious institutions in Brazil. And every afternoon, from one end of the country to the other, Brazilians ask themselves: “What animal did you get?” The animal game only exists in Brazil and in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The animal game started to be played in Brazil and only a few years later it was introduced in Phnom Penh. Senator Érico Coelho (depicted), who in 1915 proposed to congress the legalization of the animal game throughout the country – which occurred for the first time – justified his bill with the fact that it was an eminently Brazilian game, warning that it would be easier pass a camel through the eye of a needle than to make people stop gambling on the camel.

Before the animal game appeared in Brazil, there existed, with the same characteristics, the game of flowers, fruits, birds and numbers. Before the advent of the animal game, the numbers game was very popular in Espírito Santo. The flower game, however, was the one that had the most fans throughout the whole country. As in the current animal game, the other games consisted of 25 numbers, a fact for which no one has yet found an explanation. […] A Mexican, by the name of Manoel Ismael Zevada, was the biggest financier of the flower game in Rio. His bank was on Rua do Ouvidor, according to the chroniclers of Old Rio.

Screen Shot 2018-11-19 at 5.07.52 PM

(Almanak Laemmert: Administrativo, Mercantil e Industrial do Rio de Janeiro, 1900)

This is where the Barão de Drummond comes into play. João Batista Viana Drummond, a friend of Dom Pedro II, from Minas Gerais, would address Princess Isabel as “my angel” and, in her honor, named the farm on his property after her. It would become Vila Isabel – on the former Fazenda do Macaco, where he founded a zoo (on the slope of the Serra do Engenho Novo), which was the first that Rio had. […] Because he was one of the monarchists who supported Marechal Deodoro da Fonseca, Barão de Drummond fell into disgrace with Marechal Floriano Peixoto, who cut the annual sum that the Federal Government gave for the maintenance of his Zoo by 10 contos de réis. That was in 1892.

The Mexican, Zevada, knowing that Barão de Drummond was going to close the Zoo, due to a lack of financing, proposed the animal game – just as he did on Rua do Ouvidor – in order to keep it going.

Quickly, the animal game dominated the city and the zoo was no longer big enough for the visitors, who went to Vila Isabel to gamble more than they went there to see the animals in the zoo.

In less than a year there wasn’t a corner in Rio without an animal game, which alarmed the police, who prohibited it at the zoo. Already rooted in the habits of the carioca, it began to be played out of sight…

Source (pdf, PT)

Advertisements

RioZoo to become a biopark

 

Biosfera-das-aves.jpg

In the first quarter of 2019, visitors who visit Rio’s Zoo in Quinta da Boa Vista will participate in a safari on a 400-meter-long boat ride down an artificial river. The attraction will take place in the 12,000-square-foot savannah area, a biome that will have species such as zebras and giraffes – which currently no longer exist in the area and will once again enchant children and adults – as well as wildebeests. This will be the first of the six biomes that will form the new park to be delivered to the public. The demolition of the old space for sea lions, in early June, marked the beginning of construction.

At an announced cost of US$17.3 million, the improvements will be funded by Grupo Cataratas, as foreseen in the 35-year concession contract, signed in 2016, with Rio’s city hall. The intervention, which will be completed by the end of 2019, aims to adapt the area of the zoo – whose entry will cost just over $9 after the end of the modernization project (currently a ticket is around $5) – to the new model around the world: the inverse enclosure, where visitors traverse smaller areas and animals share wider areas, rather than cages, similar to the natural habitat of these species.

“Rio’s zoo is quite old. We’ve arrivat at the concept of a more modern zoo. There are examples of zoos that are world landmarks, such as the one in San Diego. All these attractions already exist in other zoos. We want to build a brand new zoo by searching for the best ideas out there. In the project, the area for the public is smaller than it is today because it’s currently disproportionate. We’re going to reduce it without causing discomfort. The objective is to greatly increase the space for animals, with the so-called inverse enclosure”, said Bruno Marques, president of Grupo Cataratas.

According to him, there will be no significant increase in animals. In addition to the almost 1,200 that already exist, zebras and giraffes and, in the future, rhinoceros should be added to the zoo. The entire project must be completed by the end of next year, says Bruno Marques:

“Our intention is to do the project in three phases. We should already open the first phase in the first quarter of next year, a second in the middle of the year and the last one by the end of the year.”

During the renovation, the zoo will be partially open, from Friday to Sunday and also from 10am to 5pm, with the closing of the ticket office at 4pm – the new opening hours were adopted about a month ago in preparation of construction. Before, the Zoo was open from Tuesday to Friday. It is expected that, after completion of construction, the zoo will receive 1.3 million visitors per year. Last year, there were 700 thousand visitors.

 

Biosfera-dos-elefantes-768x432.jpg

MORE THAN 100 SPECIES OF BIRDS

In the bird biosphere, the first area will be the visitors’ walk in the future, a large nursery of approximately 3,000 square meters. More than 100 species will be divided into three biomes: Atlantic Forest, Pantanal and Parrots. There will also be the option of a canopy circuit. The sensation will be of an immersion in a large rainforest, says the concessionaire responsible for its management.

During the visit, the biosphere for reptiles and insects will be the second stop. These environments will be made of vegetation, with turtles, snakes and alligators. The biosphere for felines and canines promises to enclose the visitor. Tigers, lions, jaguars and wolves will be observed through glass tunnels. The area will be over 7,000 square meters.

One of the bets of the new park will be the elephant biosphere. Access to the area, where the largest land animals will be, will be through gazebos, tunnels and acrylic aquariums. The space will have waterfalls and walkways with a 360 degree view for the public. Beyond elephants, bears and marine animals will have lakes and transparent tanks. The concessionaire also promises an aquatic ballet of penguins.

“It will be one of our greatest attractions. Inside, we will make a deep acrylic pool so the audience can see how the elephants behave in the water. We will do the same thing with the hippopotamus – said the president of Grupo Cataratas.

Fazendinha will be kept as a place for the education of children so they can have close contact with animals. This is where the little ones will learn, for example, where the milk and eggs come from that are part of their food.

Grupo Cataratas has been in charge of the management of the zoo since 2016. The company is responsible for the management of visitation at Iguaçu National Park. Throughout the 35-year concession contract, the concessionaire says it will invest $34.7 million in the construction of the site (including the $17.3 million in this reform). The estimate is that, over the contract period, the city will receive a return of $347 million, considering the payment of taxes, investment in city patrimony, the generation of jobs and reduction of the city’s expenses. Just between 2017 and 2030, the direct return to the city should be $41.9 million.

Alimentação-das-girafas-768x432.jpg

 

VISITORS RECEIVED TOUR PASS

Two visitors in love with the Rio Zoo received an unlimited one-year visitation pass from the current administration. Actor André Sebastião Santos, 29, who owns a blog about the park since 2009, was one of the chosen ones.

“I created the blog because the zoo’s old site was very outdated, with little information about the animals. So I decided to create the blog to update it. I’ve lost count of how many times I visited the zoo. I think the zoo will look really pretty,” says André.

Leandro Henrique Simões, 10, has also lost count of how many times he has visited. The answer is “many,” since the first time he was on the spot was when he was still a year old, and since then, Leandro has celebrated his birthday there. With the reform, he hopes to see the giraffe and penguins again:

“I like Simba (the lion) better, but I miss the giraffe and the penguins.” I’m very excited. I want to do the boat trip (in the Savana area).

RIO’S ZOO IS THE OLDEST OF THE COUNTRY

The Zoo of Rio de Janeiro is the oldest in Brazil, at 78 years old. The area is located in the Quinta da Boa Vista Park, former residence of the Portuguese imperial family. The city obtained the space on March 18, 1945. One of the most striking images of its construction was the imposing gate built at its entrance, which can be seen in the landscape of some paintings from the imperial period. The gate was offered by an English nobleman as a wedding gift to Dom Pedro I and the future Empress Leopoldina.

Despite being the oldest that’s still active, the current zoo was not the first in the country. The activity of showing animals and trying to bring a bit of wildlife into the city began on January 16, 1888, when the Baron do Drummond founded the first Brazilian zoo in Vila Isabel, with an area of streams, artificial lakes and an extensive collection of animals.

Over the years, however, it created financial difficulties. The maintenance of the animals became difficult and to solve the problem, Baron do Drummond created the “jogo do bicho“, attracting the attention of visitors, residents of the neighborhood and, later, of the whole city, who placed their bets in the morning and checked the results in the afternoon.

The Baron of Drumond’s initiative, however, was not enough to save the ancient zoo, which ended by closing its doors in the 1940s. – Source (PT)

____

Note: That Brazil’s first zoo was built in Rio in the late 1880s is debateable, although in the 1640s, Recife’s Palácio de Friburgo was technically under Dutch rule at the time.

Despite crises, Rio shines

15272853965b088694ae3ff_1527285396_3x2_md.jpg

Amid the economic and security crisis, Rio is still the ‘marvelous city’ for residents of São Paulo

Preferred destination: Carnival (21%) | New Years (20%) | national tourism (17%) | State tourism (13%) | Beach – Copacabana (4%)

Rio is not a single picture, it’s not just news. It’s several cities, and lots of news – many of them good – that make you dizzy. Rio is the conversation with the taxi driver who says he’s reached his limit, but that he wouldn’t trade it for anything, it’s the friendly waiter with whom you have to feign an alleged intimacy to be served, it’s the strong-lunged mate seller on the beach, the sunset at Arpoador, the view from Vidigal … And everything else that’s enchanting.

This makes Rio what it is and will keep being: God’s whim, at his best and worst mood. Some of the news that Rio sends me fills my soul. Other knock me out in one breath. On average, the city’s image, constructed at a distance, doesn’t compare much with what you see in person.

Some especially comforting examples: Lapa with full bars, a walk through region that has AquaRio and the Museum of Tomorrow, a beer in Urca – it doesn’t have to be on the seawall -, Parque Lage, the Botanical Garden. Each of these already makes it worth it to be there. That’s why for residents of São Paulo, Bahia, Minas Gerais and even aliens, if they exist, Rio remains on the list of destinations one shouldn’t miss. – Source (PT)

Is tourism the solution for Rio?

Rio, a solution with open arms
by Vinicius Lummertz, President of Embratur

A new window of opportunity has been opening up for tourism in Rio de Janeiro. Cities that were consolidating as major tourist destinations in the world are reaching their limit, analysts say. In a striking article (PT) in the magazine Visão, Portuguese journalist Sara Rodrigues has no doubts: “Tourismphobia is spreading throughout Europe”. Cities like Barcelona (32 million last year, with 8 million foreigners, for a fixed population of 1.5 million) or Venice (22 million in 2016, for a population of 350,000) are studying ways to contain the hordes of visitors.

So, now it is our turn. Yes, it’s time to say that if they don’t want tourists, then may they come to Rio, may they come to Brazil.

The city, like Christ the Redeemer that illuminates it, is with open arms, as always. New tourist facilities installed during the cycle of major events (2007-2017) are there, as well as investments in mobility. In terms of private initiatives, more than twice as many beds are being offered as were available less than ten years ago.

For the first time in the last three years, the number of new international connections to Brazil (Rio included) has grown again. We now have the ease of electronic visa entry for Australians and, by the end of January, for Americans, Canadians, and Japanese. The exchange rate is still favorable for tourists coming to Brazil.

In September a nice calendar of events was announced, predicting big events every month and other dozens of happenings scattered throughout the year. Today’s major tourist destinations were as violent as Rio de Janeiro 30 years ago. Not taking into account the recent terrorist attacks that scare residents and tourists from emblematic cities around the globe. Thirty years ago, Miami, for example, as well as being a city surrounded by crime, was bankrupt. The city council put several measures in place, among them the creation of a calendar of events.

Tourism is starting to be treated as the protagonist for a possible exit to the serious economic and social problems of the city that is the postcard of Brazil. This assertion that tourism belongs on the main agenda of the economy has also become political, and therefore should take on new heights of awareness in society.

Why Rio? The city continues being the largest connection in Brazil with the rest of the universe and speaks for the world to the rest of the country.

When it doesn’t speak for politics, it speaks for aesthetics, music, arts or habits. Its greatest good is its lightness and its renewal. Its evil perhaps is too adaptive. Not being able to say “enough already!”. Both the good and bad appear first and last in Rio.

Here we have the magic mirror of the nation. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to talk about Rio’s problems, about Rio’s violence, without contextualizing Brazil. We are coming out of a difficult time, nationally, with increasingly strong signs of economic recovery. Brazilian tourism and Rio tourism must be prioritized at this time, instead of looking at the city like a shattered glass.

Government actions to tackle organized crime are fundamental. But said actions alone don’t solve the problem. Of course taking assault rifles off the streets will be an important step. However, it’s necessary that young people no longer see the appeal of the criminal world. The greatest concrete opportunities for such youth are in tourism and in an attractive environment linked to a strong tourist town.

The victory of Rio will have a greater result than simply saving the city. It will have the role of guiding Brazil along new and happy paths that have the words ‘tourism’ and ‘creativity’ as a central point. – Source (PT)


This is placing the cart before the horse. Rio needs to take care of public security before it focuses on a tourism push. Tourism being down is a direct result of the lack of safety. This is to say nothing of the main reason for tourism-phobia in Europe. Over-tourism is a disease and can only be controled with laws in place, which are then being actively enforced. Tourism makes the economy move but it’s just a band-aid to larger economic problems.

Giant ferris wheel – A new Rio fixture

bgo60rhfageu6q5acvrhrsyy6

A ferris wheel, 88 meters high, will be part of the Olympic Boulevard scenery. To be inaugurated by the first half of 2018, between AquaRio and the Aqwa building (see below), a ticket will cost from US$6-9 (R$20-30). Inspired by other world-famous ferris wheels, such as London Eye, the so-called Estrela do Rio will be the largest in Brazil.

The project, estimated at $6.1 million, will be funded by a company to be created by Esfeco Administração, holding company of Trem do Corcovado, AquaRio and Complexo Paineiras. The wheel will have 48 cabins with air conditioning and capacity for 300 people. Each round will last 30 minutes and will offer the visitor a 330-degree view of the city.

Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 10.49.15.png

(One can see the relation between Aqwa and AquaRio, as well as Cidade do Samba on the left, and Pedra do Sal on the right)

“The wheel will be installed in a large square where a gas station was previously located, on an area of ​​2000 m², stretching out the Boulevard walkway. In Guanabara Bay, with the Rio-Niteroi Bridge, it will provide a view of Praça Mauá and the Museum of Tomorrow, and the entire downtown,” said Sávio Neves, director of Esfeco. He initially discussed the idea with the former mayor Eduardo Paes, in 2009.

The Estrela do Rio will run every day of the week from 11h to 22h. The structure will be accessed by VLT stations Cidade do Samba and AquaRio. The expectation is to increase the flow of people in the region, especially to AquaRio, which has already received 1.4 million visitors.

Sávio Neves is going to China in the coming days to choose a supplier. After closing the deal, the product will be transported by ship to Rio. Staff will be trained by Chinese manufacturers. According to Neves, the largest Ferris wheel in Brazil is in the Hopi Hari amusement park, in São Paulo, at 44 meters, half the height of Rio’s. The largest ferris wheel in the world is the High Roller, in Las Vegas, at 167 meters. The Estrela do Rio is also more than double the size of the 2017 Rock in Rio ferris wheel, which was 35 meters, and higher than the one set up at Copacabana Fort in 2008 and 2009, at 36 meters.

A concessionária Porto Novo retomará hoje a operação na Zona Portuária, interrompida em julho por falta de pagamento. Ela fará manutenção, conserto de calçadas, arborização, drenagem, iluminação e controle de tráfego.

The Porto Novo concessionaire has resumed operations in the port area, previously stopped in July due to lack of payment. It will do maintenance, and repair of sidewalks, trees, drainage, illumination and traffic control. – Source (PT)

Esqueleto Tourist Hotel

IMG_0588-1024x768

In 1953, work began on the construction of Gavea Tourist Hotel. The idea, designed by architect Décio da Silva Pacheco, was to make a luxury establishment targeting high-earning clientele. The location encompasses about 30,000 square meters, which was to include a restaurant, a private forest and even an aerial tram. Although unfinished, the space was opened for some events: in 1965, there was a large New Year’s Eve celebration with 1,000 guests, and a night club called Sky Terrace was open for a while on the property grounds. From the 60s onward, the setting has been the backdrop for films, model shoots as well as highly frequented by curious travelers over the last decade, including for sports.

3442525204_295a00181d_o.jpg

GPS-Esqueleto.jpg

However, in March 1972, the construction of the Hotel was interrupted by developer California Investments, which would take over the project. Five years later, the company filed for bankruptcy and work stopped altogether (and gone with it, the money from 11,000 people who bought shares in the company in exchange for free stays at the hotel). In 2011 it was sold to a group of investors for R$29 million and the building was closed in preparation for technical inspections and future construction, but there were problems with permits and the project didn’t go ahead.

As mentioned, that doesn’t stop people from going there, though. In part, thanks to Globo’s article (PT) in 2016 about the location becoming a tourist spot, there have been many reports (even up to August 2017) of guards posted there and the location being effectively closed. – Sources 1 (PT), 2 (PT) and 3 (PT)

gavea-tourist-hotel

Policing Rio beaches – 1917

TB1.jpg

Cariocas and the Sea, Not Always a Love Affair
O Globo, 2005

The history of the evolution of habits shows that going to the beach was already an activity that could end at the police station

The sea bath in 1917 was therapy advised by doctors and restricted, by decree, to certain times. Noise and shouting were also forbidden. Bathing suits, only with “necessary decency”, that is, with the body covered up. The swimsuits were less suffocating in the 1930s, but the police took the looser bathers to jail. It was the “pro-decency campaign.” The libertarian vocation of the Carioca was reborn in the boldness of the fifties, which, even under the sandstorm of conservatives, transgressed with showy “two pieces.” The swimsuit became the bikini, and in the 80s they took off the top. Topless didn’t take root, but the limit was no longer a decree or code of conduct, but the fashion.

With a century having passed, Cariocas have killed off various laws, ordinances and rules of behavior to choose, without repression, the proper conduct for the magical scenery formed by sand, sea and bodies exposed to the sun.

TB5.jpg

Outlaw bathers could spend five days in jail

The beaches fell into the purview of the law after a decree (1.143) from Rio Mayor Amaro Cavalcanti in May 1917. The measure, which regulated the use of Leme and Copacabana beaches, instituted: “Sea baths will only be allowed from April 1st to November 30th, from 6 to 9AM and from 4 to 6PM; From December 1st to March 31st from 5 to 8AM and from 5 to 7PM. In other words: during the day, the beach was off limits. Anyone who broke the rules, paid 20 mil reis or spent five days in prison.

802878.jpg

Claudia Gaspar, author of the book “Orla Carioca: história e cultura“, says that the first beaches laws had probable French origin.

“The rules must have come from manuals from that country, so much that the lifeguard stations were called places of sauvatage. Despite the restrictions, it was a step up from the previous period, when some people rented boats in Praça XV to take private baths off the coast. The beach was still more medicinal than social,” recalls Claudia.

Writers came out in defense of the one-piece. The author of “Orla Carioca” found in a 1926 edition of the newspaper “Beira Mar” an ode to freedom: “We are already angry about this false moral civilization created by our grandparents. It is frankly ridiculous that in the mid-twentieth century we want to shape our standard of living in the archaic and moldy mirrors of 1830. ”

It was not long before society reacted: on January 12, 1931, on the front page of Globo, the headline said: “The pro-modesty campaign was initiated by the police on the bathing beaches of Rio.” The photos showed bathers forced to wear long robes and others being taken to the police station. It was forbidden, among other things, to walk the access streets to the beach dressed in swimsuits. The limits continued in the years to come, as 69-year old retired UFRJ history professor Miridan Falci says:

“One would leave the beach with a large towel wrapped around one’s body, and at times it was forbidden. On the buses, a warning said: “the entry of bathers is prohibited”. But I witnessed liberation: I was on Ipanema Beach in 1971, the day that Leila Diniz appeared pregnant in a bikini!

TB8.jpg

Topless fashion erupted in the “summer of amnesty”, in 1980, but it never became a broad, general and unrestrained fashion. Legally, it was banned and unbanned several times – the first time in 1973, when the Federal Supreme Court denied an injunction requested by a bather, who wanted to expose her body with the approval of the judges. In 2000, commercial representative Rosimeri Moura da Costa, 34, was arrested while going topless in Recreio, accused of an obscene act. Today, Cariocas are free to leave the beach and go to chic places, but they prefer tempered swimsuits, even on the beach, according to a couple of artists Lúcio Tapajós, 35, and Renata Nonô, 32. She gives her version for the return to the past:

“Even to buy a coconut at the kiosk, many girls wear a shorts or a sarong. And the bikinis look like bathing suits. But this is not a conservative wave, but an excess of body worship. People get hysterical when they have cellulite or a stretch mark.”

It is another kind of dictatorship: that of the perfect body. But at least in sports, there are those who float above the new rules. Marianne Kerr, 23, surfs every day in a bikini at Leblon. When the time is short, one leaves home ready to enter the water without fear of being misinterpreted.

“Since I live close by, when I’m in a hurry, before college or work, I go out in a bikini to the beach. Cariocas do not do much of this, but there is nothing wrong with it”, says the surfer, who studies psychology at PUC.

Marianne would not have a good time on a beach from last century. She would have a problem with her bikini until the 1950s, and in the 1970s she would have to leave the board in the sand for most of the day, as surfing also suffered under the laws. A 1976 resolution by the State Department of Public Safety established that the sport could only be practiced after 2PM on seven beaches in the state. On the rest of the coast it was forbidden. Frescobol continues to be illegal, but the most restricted sport currently is kitesurfing, allowed in Rio just between two kiosks at Barra beach. – Source (PT, PDF)


For more, listen to this 10-minute podcast (PT) from Cultura Popular Carioca, or read this article (PT) from O Globo. From Deep Rio, be sure to check out The Cabines of Copacabana. I’ll also add two articles from Revista da Semana from 1917/18 that talk about the dangers of indecency (once clicked, you can open them full size in the bottom, right-hand corner).

 

Gavea Planetarium gets protected status

66406062_RI-Rio-de-JaneiroRJ-17-04-2017-Terreno-da-CEHAB-vai-a-leilaoO-terreno-da-Cehab-onde-fi.jpg

“Inaugurated on November 19, 1970, the Fundação Planetário is dedicated to disseminating astronomy and related sciences and offering quality culture and leisure to the people of Rio de Janeiro and other visitors, becoming synonymous with fun not only through the Summit Sessions, but by promoting a series of cultural activities and projects, for all kinds of people, allowing integration between the most diverse areas of science.

The Planetarium Foundation has two units in operation: Gávea and Santa Cruz. In Gávea, the visitor can visit the Museum of the Universe, which houses 60 interactive experiments and exhibitions; the Giordano Bruno Library, with a collection of approximately 2,500 books, the amphitheater, the Sergio Menge auditorium, the Galileo Space, aimed at children’s recreation; Telescopes Square, where telescope observations occur; and the Carl Sagan and Galileo Galilei Summits, reformed in 2011.” – Official Site

palentario-da-gavea.jpg

Protected Status

Amid the legal dispute over a possible sale of the land to pay labor debts, the Gávea Planetarium will be listed as part of Rio’s historical and cultural heritage. The bill 2.640/17 had already been approved by the Rio de Janeiro Legislative Assembly (Alerj), who on Wednesday (August 23, 2017) overturned governor Luiz Fernando Pezão’s veto. Of the 70 parliamentarians, 48 voted in favor of overturning the veto.

The declaration does not prevent the sale of the land, which almost took place in April in order to pay the labor debts of Rio’s State Housing Company (Cehab), which owns the area. But the demolition or de-characterization of the original property is forbidden. – Source (PT)

Rio Olympics, one year later

I’ve been seeing articles and videos on the topic for a few months but I was waiting for one that could hit upon the zeitgeist. I think this 19-min report by China Global TV Network does a nice job of showing just that.

It’s sad to see but it’s not like this wasn’t the expected outcome. There are so many pressing issues but I feel like if public safety could be at least under control, it’d make a world of difference. For that to happen, police presence would have to be increased by 10 times.

The People’s Pool in Ramos

666188-970x600-1.jpeg

When most people think of beaches in Rio, images of the beautiful Copacabana or a sunset in Ipanema usually come to mind. But a few miles from these icons of Brazilian landscape sits an artificial lake not far from a polluted beach.

Piscinão de Ramos, or “big pool of Ramos”, is where thousands of people who live in the surrounding favelas, or slums, of Rio choose to go every summer. Julio Bittencourt, a young Brazilian photographer, was fascinated by its uniqueness. Over the last three years, he photographed the beach-goers of Ramos and was received with curious gazes and smiles.

“There are certain things that you only see in beaches in Brazil,” says Bittencourt. “Cariocas (locals of Rio) have a very special humor, very unique. I think all the humor and irony involved in the images are probably the most ‘Rio’ part of the work. It’s there all the time and you’re just struck by it every time you go there.”

The simplicity of life also caught Bittencourt’s attention. “Most of those people live their everyday lives with very little,” he says. But when they’re in Ramos, “they can forget about work and their problems. It makes you think how small your own problems are.” – Source


 meninos-pulam-para-tentar-pegar-boia-no-piscinao-de-ramos-cada-artefato-flutuante-e-alugado-por-r-5-valor-que-permite-o-uso-durante-meia-hora-o-comerciante-fabio-mota-28-eventualmente-deixa-as-1422467720070_956x500.jpg

The Piscinão de Ramos was planned, built and opened under the Anthony Garotinho administration between 2000 and 2001. Despite its name, it actually lies within the neighborhood of Maré.


The swimming pool cost R$18 million, which was paid by Petrobras through a collaboration agreement with the State. It was compensation for the leakage of more than one million liters of oil in the waters of Guanabara Bay, months before, by the state-owned company.

Samba singer Dicró, who died in 2012, starred in an announcement for the State inviting people to the opening, to the sound of his samba. “Sunny Sunday / guess where we’re going / I rented a truck / I’m going to take my mother-in-law to Ramos beach,” he sang.

The idea of ​​using money from environmental compensation to create an area of leisure was questioned. The government argued, claiming that the nearby beaches of Guanabara Bay were polluted. The promise of leisure in a needy area, with a bicycle lane, sports courts and clean water that was replaced every four days, filled the place, which saw more than 50 thousand people going there on sunny Saturdays or Sundays. The attraction appeared in soap operas, served as a place for New Year’s Eve festivities and even inspired, at the time, a similar initiative in São Gonçalo (now closed), in the metropolitan region. – Source (PT)


Note 1: See some of Bittencourt’s photos from his “Ramos” project about the pool, and a video made for an expo about the images.

Note 2: If you want to get the vibe of the place, see this short documentary (PT) from 2014 which features interviews with lots of locals.

Note 3: Piscinão almost inspired a future pool (PT) in the greater São Paulo region.

Note 4: If you open up the Veja Rio piece, you’ll see it’s actually about how Piscinão is rather abandoned due to the State’s economic crisis. Since the start of 2016, the pool at Parque Radical, in Deodoro, has become new spot for Rio suburbanites who don’t want to waste time getting to the beach.