An Auditory History of Samba

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Below are two collections I came across detailing the history of samba and other popular songs. Enjoy!

Como e Por quê nascem as Canções

“Well-known in sports and cultural journalism, John Max is the author, along with Charles Didier, of Noel Rosa – Uma biografia and has published books on Paulinho da Viola, movie soundtracks, and the great stars of Brazilian football and Maracanã. On the radio, he made the documentary Vinicius – Poesia, música e paixão in 32 chapters. He is one of the leading experts in the history and stories of Brazilian music, a subject that is addressed this program, highlighting how important popular songs emerged.”

The 32-part short-audio series from Rádio Batuta on samba and other popular Brazilian songs can be found here (PT).

FYI: The audios don’t seem to work on Safari, but they worked on Chrome.

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No Tempo do Samba

In this 24-part series from Rádio UFOP, out of the Federal University of Ouro Preto, the history of samba is retold. Each episode is about 10 minutes and they’re all in Portuguese. The project blog is here (PT).

FYI: The pace is slightly too fast and the background music can be bothersome when trying to focus on the host’s words.

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How the French looted Rio

DUGUAY-TROUIN RIO-1711 PETIT-DIEULOIS

September 21st, 1711. A French expedition led by corsair René Duguay-Trouin took Rio de Janeiro after nine days of siege to the city. The navigator imposed conditions to leave the city: receive the equivalent of 2 million French pounds. Negotiations lasted for weeks. The Portuguese rulers haggled. They did not have such a huge amount at hand.

Duguay-Trouin threatened to burn the entire village, then with 12,000 inhabitants. Finally, on October 28th, the Portuguese gave in, although they did not pay everything the kidnappers asked for. But, two weeks later, when they set out for France, the full amount – a product, for the most part, of the sacking of the city – was a fortune: 600 kilos of gold, 610,000 cruzados, a hundred boxes of sugar, 200 oxen, slaves, and dozens of other items. The expedition, partly financed with official French money, had yielded almost a 100% profit. Thus ending the first kidnapping of Rio.

Do not think Duguay-Trouin was a pirate. He was a corsair, which is different. That is to say: he looted like a pirate, but with all the support of a monarch. King Louis XIV granted him a charter, a document that gave him the task of stealing enemy ships. Europe was experiencing one of its periodic dynastic wars, true worldwide conflicts that involved combat in every sea where there was a European presence. Portugal was an ally of England, therefore an enemy of France. Brazil, a Portuguese colony, became, consequently, the object of greed of French corsairs.

Duguay-Trouin was a true expert at looting when he arrived at the gates of Rio in September, 1711. By 1709, he had already captured more than 300 merchant ships and twenty war ships. His fleet of seventeen boats sailed for Brazil in June, made a stopover in the Cape Verde archipelago, and proceeded as fast as possible – which at that time meant 10 or 15 knots. The ship Le Lys, commanded personally by Duguay-Trouin, had more than one hundred victims of scurvy.

Curiously, a British boat was able to make the crossing of the Atlantic more quickly and arrived in time to warn the Portuguese in Rio. When the fleet passed through Cabo Frio it was sighted and Rio received a new warning. The Portuguese should have been ready for the attack. But they were not. In a fierce campaign, Duguay-Trouin managed to enter Guanabara Bay and sequester the city. Entirely.

The key to take Rio was to avoid fire from Carioca fortresses, to disembark troops and to advance fast. In September 1710, a year before, French privateer Jean-François Duclerc had attempted this. His five ships were prevented from entering Guanabara Bay by the forts. Duclerc landed his small troops far away and made a strenuous march to Rio. Tired and without the support of naval artillery, the corsairs were beaten by the Cariocas and surrendered. But the attack revealed an impressive amount of ineptitude among the defenders. It was the population, not the regular troops, who acted.

Forts are made of stone and don’t catch fire if attacked with spherical iron bullets, fired from cannons with maximum reach of 2 kilos (2 km?). Wooden ships, with canvas sails and carrying gunpowder, are very flammable. And the defender can use a powerful weapon: the bullets can be heated in furnaces and fired still incandescent. The attacker’s biggest enemy is fire, so the fleet must avoid exchanging shots with the forts. Escaping the fire, sailing ships are extremely resistant to massive iron bullets. According to John Keegan, a specialist in military history at the time, naval battles were decided more by the death of the sailors, in concentrated carnage, than by the sinking of ships.

Preparations for taking on the French, however, were made without urgency. Rio’s fortresses were almost unguarded when the fleet quickly entered on September 12th. Soldiers and sailors were digging trenches. To add to it, thanks to a providential wind, Duguay-Trouin’s ships passed through without giving time for the fort’s canons to practice aiming at them.

The French took over the city after intense canon firing. They released prisoners from the Duclerc expedition (except the man himself, who had been murdered) and nearly a hundred Jews arrested by the Inquisition (two went to France, with the privateers). The governor, the bishop, the admiral, all the notable people fled earlier. The poorest people suffered the most. A thunderstorm made nightfall a nightmare. People were trampled, drowned in the mud, mothers lost their children, while the canons and thunder made it hard to hear the screams.

Duguay-Trouin, the corsair hijacker, said that the expedition yielded 92% profit to shareholders. Among other figures, the invaders took 602 pounds of gold to France. And that was little, because there was a certain misfortune there: most of the metals had not yet come from the mines to Rio de Janeiro, from where it would be sent to Portugal. According to historian Virgílio Noya Pinto – who studied the influence of Brazilian gold in the expansion of English capitalism – at that time, the average shipped to Portugal on the fleets leaving Brazil was 5 to 8 tons per year, or about ten times more than what the French took.

Even so, the total sale of the booty passed 20 million pounds. To give you an idea of ​​what that meant, the monthly salary of a French sailor ranged from 10 to 18 pounds, according to Jean Merrian, an eighteenth-century naval art historian. A Navy captain made 300 pounds a month.

In order to raise the necessary capital for the expedition, a commercial enterprise was created, whose shareholders were both via “private initiative” – ​​mainly traditional privateer shipowners from Saint-Malo, the city of Duguay-Trouin – and the government. France’s Royal Navy lent ships and men. One of Louis XIV’s sons, the Admiral of France, Count of Toulouse, was one of the shareholders. The booty was divided between capital and labor – each of the 6,000 men from the expedition – according to a system of “parts”. A captain received at least twelve parts; a lieutenant received six or nine parts; a soldier or gunner received one or a half; and a sailor would take one to two parts.

To know more:

In the Buccaneers’ Time

See how the corsair attack happened

The chronology:

9/12, 9:30AM. The French saw the islands at the entrance to Guanabara Bay. The morning was spent preparing for the attack.

9/12, 1PM. The fleet raises more sails and passed the border, with the ship Le Magnanime ahead, because its captain had already been to Rio before. Duguay-Trouin is on Le Lys, the fourth to enter.

9/12, 2:30PM. Everyone has already passed the border. Villegaignon fort exploded. The Portuguese beached their four ships.

9/12, 4PM. The fleet was anchored outside artillery range. The cost of entry was eighty dead, 220 wounded.

9/13. At sunrise, the Frenchman Le Goyon, with 500 men, took Ilha das Cobras. Duguay-Trouin visited the island and had it armed with cannons and mortars to bombard the city.

9/14. French troops land in the region of Saco do Alferes and Praia Formosa, without resistance.

9/15. Skirmishes and more cannons are offloaded to bombard the city.

9/16. The French set up a battery of ten cannons at Morro do Pina, today’s Morro da Saúde. The bombing and skirmishes continued until the 20th. The population begins to flee from Rio.

9/21. Duguay-Trouin ordered an attack. A French prisoner escaped and warnsed that Portuguese had already left the city. In the afternoon, the city had already been taken. The next day, the Portuguese commander of the Santa Cruz Fortress surrendered. From 9/23 to 10/9, there were skirmishes and negotiations. The city was ransacked. On October 28th, the governor, under threat of attack on his troops, decides to pay the ransom. The French leave Rio on 11/13 at 4PM.

Source (PT)

End of the UPP is nigh

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“We’re just waiting for the order to get out of here.” The Pacifying Police Units (UPPs) budget cut and the law that leaves them subordinate to police battalions were, for the police, two blows by the government declaring the end of the project. On Tuesday, the vote on next year’s Budgetary Law at Alerj, which cut R$500 million from the MP, removed the little bit of hope from MPs who still saw a chance. If in 2017 the maintenance budget of the UPPs was R$5.4 million, for the coming year the 38 units will only have R$10 thousand. The total, mockingly, is equivalent to R$833 per month or R$21 per month for each of the UPPs.

“We’ve been dealing with this instability for months. We don’t know when it’ll end, the only certainty is that it will end at some point”, says a UPP police officer.

Ostensive Policing in Favelas may be Comprimised

Changes in the structure of the project can lead to an increase in the sense of security outside the favelas. This is because the group employed in the poor communities will be added to the battalion’s operational framework – currently at a shortage. Within areas of conflict, however, ostensible policing will not be seen frequently, say CPP (Pacifying Police Coordination) sources.

According to the text of Law 7.799, which was already sanctioned by the governor and currently in the regulatory phase, “the battalion commanders, to which UPP subordination was assigned, will have to add all the existing contingent of UPPs servants to their operational framework, to remove, transfer, exchange and even substitute the existing command posts.” The document also says that the UPPs will continue to carry out their activities, but that their operational framework may be modified.

The transference of the troops to the battalions can also put at stake the MPs’ R$700 salary bonus.

“The state needs to save money, and the battalions need reinforcement. The name “UPP” will remain, the community stations will continue, but ostensible policing inside the favelas will end – said a CPP source, who also notes the sad failing of social projects. – Unfortunately, this ends all articulation of social projects, which is what makes UPP what it is.

With the restructuring of the UPPs, the CPP will become a “supervisory body”, with its captain having prerogatives only in order to guide and define areas of risk, with the PM general commander deliberating the implementation or deactivation of the sites within the State. The coordinating body, which currently functions as the UPP HQ, should no longer control, for example, the Intelligence sector and the special police unit, which acts in community conflicts.

“The CPP will become a kind of Area Police Command (CPA) and should lose about 90% of its staff.”

Between PMs, there is no more light at the end of the tunnel. Many have shown an interest in leaving the favelas, given the vulnerability of poor vehicles and weapons.

“Everything is lacking. Minimal work conditions and a lot of stress. Precarious vehicles and weapons. Everyone wants to leave the favelas. UPP is an operationally failed project”, reveals a soldier.

Devalued Population

Residents living in UPP areas also did not believe in the continuity of the project. For social activist Mariluce Mariá, from Complexo do Alemão, the UPP was nothing more than an “artificial dream”. For her, health and education should have been priorities from the start.

“The security that we always needed was investment in health and education. If the state had invested more in the human being and less in this war on drugs, we would all have had a positive return. Because the insecurity within the favelas also exists outside them, but within favelas it stands out due to the lack of specific public policies. On paper, the UPP project is wonderful, every citizen’s dream, mainly those who live in an area of ​​risk. They present us with an artificial dream, which cannot be realized. Dreams can only come true when there are people committed to make them happen and that’s not what we see.”

On Wednesday, Security Secretary Roberto Sá lamented the 2018 budget cut, but said the police, “giving 2017 as an example, will seek partnerships to assist in the costs, besides establishing priority actions to guarantee service to the population”. In a statement, the secretary said that the creation of the Public Security Fund, approved by Alerj, could ease the needs of the Civil and Military police. – Source (PT)

Services place their trust in Cariocas

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Data shows that honesty is still growing among cariocas

In gloomy times, plagued by corruption and serial political scandals, honesty, so discredited, endures in the day to day of the city. Contrary to even the non-believers, it’s possible to see evidence everywhere that having a good character is on the up and up. From services such as the VLT, which did away with the fare collector and depends on the awareness of the users, the newly established self-service registers in department stores, always with dilettante customers making the payment, Rio is still able to teach lessons of citizenship.

With the modern streetcar, the evasion rate – that is, of passengers who get on and off without paying, ignoring the rules of civility – doesn’t hit 10%, according to the concessionaire responsible for transportation, going against all expectations that vandalism and slyness would prevail. With the establishment of cash registers operated by customers, almost nobody leaves without paying, to the surprise of those who didn’t believe that it’s possible to adopt here a common system of the world’s great metropolises.

In 2015, when it was announced that VLT passengers would be responsible for paying fares upon entering the vehicle, the news was practically treated as a joke. But, after two years, the fact is that 90% of the passengers behave as they do what’s customary, religiously paying the R$3.80 fare. The percentage is even higher than what’s been registered in European cities, according to the consortium that operates the streetcar that already cuts across the center of Rio. The VLT’s honesty “inspectors”, who do random checks, attest that it’s rare to catch a bad payer in the act.

The most common thing, they argue, is to watch passengers, as they embark, go straight with their RioCards towards the fare validators. Inspector Bruno Teixeira Campo says that, by day, he sends at most one passenger to the police to be fined for evasion. He also says it’s normal for savvy users to alert others who use VLT sporadically on how to validate tickets on the machine. And those who fall into the fine mesh of inspection usually get embarrassed and make feeble excuses.

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“Those in a hurry claim that they forgot to validate the card, that they didn’t know they had to have a ticket when they boarded or that they saw the VLT at the stop and, in a hurry, they got on without reloading the RioCard. There are also those who talk on the cell phone and say they were distracted. But in general, as a Carioca, he is proud to see that almost everyone does the right thing,” Bruno observes.

VLT Director of Operations Paulo Ferreira says that, even on European systems, the evasion rate can surpass 40%. In the VLT contract, a 30% rate was forecast. But the rate never got so high. At the start of the operation, it was close to 15%. And, since then, it’s just been falling. This can be understood from the convergence of data from the validation machines and the passenger counts done by cameras installed at the vehicle doors.

“But it’s still not possible to remove the inspectors from the operation”, says Ferreira, without ruling out the possibility of an even more civilized future, with total mutual trust between the operator and passengers.

The anthropologist Alba Zaluar says that the phenomenon doesn’t surprise her, despite the whole reality of corruption that haunts Brazil. She calls attention to what she considers discrimination against Cariocas, said to be mischievous. She says that, despite this collective value judgment, very few people try to take advantage of everything.

“The population is very outraged. I see people proud to differentiate themselves from those who are robbing the country, to say that they work and live honestly, without deceiving anyone. Even because trust is the basis of all the movements of society – analyzes the scholar.

From September 5 to September 30 2016, the police counted 8,970 fines imposed on passengers for non-payment of the VLT fare. February had the highest number of infractions: 950 people. Last September, there was a sharp drop: 521 fines.

New Relations in Commerce

Another service that depends on the goodwill of customers is Bike Rio, which, since 2011, has trusted that rented bikes, after being ridden, will be returned by cyclists. And that is how it has been, nearly all the time. At Rio International Airport, terminal parking managers say that 90% of drivers respect exclusive vacancies for seniors, people with special needs and pregnant women.

In addition, throughout Brazil, public and private libraries are already implementing book-lending systems, in which interested parties lend and return publications on machines with barcode readers. In commerce, establishments began to provide self-service registers, in which customers themselves register their goods and make payment, without any inspection, as it has been for some time in stores in Europe. The system was adopted in some supermarkets in the Zona Sul and, since the beginning of the year, in five Lojas Americanas in Rio and São Paulo. “The solution is practical and allows the customer to carry out the entire purchase process alone. The implementation of this technology contributes to the operational performance of the stores, boosting sales, especially in times of high traffic. In a short time of operation, the self-checkout has been very receptive and represents a relevant portion of store transactions,” says Lojas Americanas.

At the end of last month, a GLOBO team tested one of these terminals at the Shopping RioSul location. People were still staring at the machines, half-disbelieving, and suspicious. I had to line up for the traditional cash registers, but there was no one using self-service. It was enough for the reporter to start paying for his purchases, for two other customers to notice the novelty and to encourage them to use it. Even smaller stores are venturing out. And it’s not just now. In Botafogo, it has been even longer, decades, that a restaurant has no one mediating payments made by customers. The owner of the establishment prefers not to disclose the address, claiming that he chose the method by having a captive clientele. He admits, however, that widespread publicity could jeopardize a model that, without marketing, is working.

“What we do goes against the madness we’ve seen in this country,” the businessman acknowledges.

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Nearby, at UniRio, in Urca, the students are trying out an initiative that has earned the nickname “the little wall of honesty“. In a garden at the Arts and Literature Center, students leave products for sale and go to class. The offer goes from snacks and cakes to sweets and fruit. But no one is watching what happens. If someone is interested in buying, they choose what they want and leave the money. There are reports of stealing, but most behave well. Those unusual cases forced the group to make adaptations, such as creating makeshift coffers where customers deposit notes and coins to prevent any thefts.

“I’ve seen people put paper in place of money. But it’s a minority. Most of it is honest, says Information Systems student Davi Coutinho.

Another university student and actor César Júnior is enthusiastic about the experience:

“The function of the university is also to provoke this reflection and stimulate awareness. Products have fair prices. And behind each of them, there is a job. The ‘little wall’ helps support many students, either to pay for the bus to come here or for class expenses.”

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Downtown, a formal business decided to change its relationship with customers. In the Curto Café, on Menezes Cortes, the prices of goods aren’t fixed, only suggested. And there isn’t a cash register controlling how much each person pays. It’s the customer who makes the payment and takes his change from a pot, on top of a counter. Asked if it’s successful, the entrepreneurs say the establishment has been operating for five years, and they serve 700 to 800 coffees a day. Some pay less than the indicated prices, others pay more. The average balances out the sales.

“I’m surprised at this place. I hope that this concept spreads,” said customer Sueli Afonso.

Source (PT)

500 Rio-based recipes in new book

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A new book profiles Fluminense tastes

The seat of the Portuguese empire from 1808, and federal capital between 1763 and 1960, Rio de Janeiro was the first Brazilian metropolis. In 1822, 150,000 people from diverse backgrounds circulated through its streets. Cosmopolitan by essence, the city forged its culinary identity with the mixing of diverse foreign cultures and recipes – mainly Portuguese, but also African, French and Asian – influenced by local ingredients and habits. In spite of Rio’s prominence in the history of Brazil, Rio de Janeiro’s cuisine does not have as clear a representation in the national imagination as in states such as Bahia, Minas Gerais and Pará, easily identified by their acarajés, cheese breads and tucupis, for example. This gap starts to be closed with the publication, by Metalivros, of “A Culinária do Rio de Janeiro: da Colônia à Atualidade”, by Flávio Ferraz – which will launch on Monday (4th), starting at 7pm, at Bar Lagoa.

A psychoanalyst from Minas Gerais, based in São Paulo, and passionate about Rio and its flavors, Ferraz dedicated ten years of his life to researching this universe. He searched primordial works such as Cozinheiro Imperial, the first cook book launched in Brazil in 1839, as well as hundreds of menus, guides, specialized channels and websites. The result is an unprecedented profile of Rio de Janeiro’s cuisine compiled in just over 300 pages. “What struck me, and motivated me to write the book, was the lack of specific material about Rio, in the face of the abundance of publications about other states, even those that are less relevant,” notes the author. After a fine preface by historian Rosa Belluzo, Ferraz analyzes the daily life in the court and in the city, highlighting customs and social movements that helped create the diffuse food culture of Rio.

“It focuses, for example, on the heritage of street food. So trendy nowadays, it has been at the base of culinary tradition since before the emergence of taverns and bodegas, the ancestors of restaurants. And it reveals the origin of the Carioca’s passion for leisure and the outdoors and for informal bars. In countless canvases, Jean-Baptiste Debret (1768-1848) portrays the streets of Rio de Janeiro in the nineteenth century, with slaves preparing and selling cakes, manuês, sonhos, cornbread, pão de ló, angu and even feijoada. “The city has always had a profile related to being outside of one’s home, transforming daily happenings into public life,” analyzes historian Antonio Edmilson, a professor at PUC-Rio and UERJ, recalling the chronicles of João do Rio.

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Illustrated by respected designer Victor Burton, the book provides the reader with 500 recipes, many of which had already been lost in time. There are dishes that exalt the neighborhood where they were created, such as Copacabana fish, Flamengo cod or Ipanema kidneys, and classics such as picadinho, Oswaldo Aranha fillet and feijoada, which, although of lusitanian origin, took on local traits. Citing delicacies like the cookies of chef Katia Barbosa, the author makes the bridge between the past and the present.

And it goes beyond the limits of the capital by covering the Serrana and dos Lagos regions, the Costa Azul, the Litoral Norte and the Costa Verde. Finally, it devotes a good section to drinks, recovering traditions like the aluá (a refreshment of native origin, made from the fermentation of rice and rapadura) and emblematic drinks like the caipirinha – that became a national symbol -, through creations of mixologists such as Alex Mesquita and André Paixão. A feast and then some, for lovers of good food. – Source (PT)

Rio aims for its own High Line

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Mayor Marcelo Crivella wants a ‘High Line’ over Rio’s Central Station

Even while under criticism about the lack of urban care and money for healthcare, city council announced its intention to make a High Line in Rio, like the one in New York. Yesterday, Mayor Marcelo Crivella signed an agreement with Russia’s Olympic City Group that is prepared to develop, without cost to the city, a Public-Private Partnership to build a “suspended city” on the railway line between Central do Brasil and the Leopoldina station. The work is estimated at R$8 billion (US$2.49 billion), which should be raised within the private sector.

In New York, the High Line was built nine feet high, but over a deactivated railroad line. It started as a local initiative to revitalize the space and ended up as a large success among locals and tourists from all over the world. In the reform, about R$800 million (US$249 million) was spent, ten times less than what’s predicted for Rio’s project. But the Rio High Line has bigger ambitions and, in addition to gardens, plans to include shops and commercial buildings that would occupy an area of ​​about 1 million square meters. It would be 15 meters high on the SuperVia stations. The grandiose venture would pass close to communities, such as Morro da Providência, but the city did not address safety issues.

Olympic City Group says it will study a plan to occupy the area and analyze, for example, what changes would be needed in urban planning legislation. The investments would be made possible by a PPP similar to the one for the Porto Maravilha project, with the issuance of Additional Building Potential Certificates (Cepacs). The analysis is expected to be ready in six months.

The Cepacs formula is facing problems at the port due to the financial crisis, and the certificates ran aground. For six months, the city’s administration took over almost all the infrastructure-related maintenance services that were handled by concessionaire Porto Novo. And then, in a new operation, it began to inject more public money into the project, which returned into the hands of the concessionaire.

The High Line should be started in 2019. Rio’s city hall will still have to sign agreements with the federal and state governments, owners of part of the areas where the suspended gardens would be. – Source (PT)


Not mentioned in the article is the High Line is part of a larger project called Rio Sem Muros, to transform the railway line surrounding eight neighborhoods: Santa Cruz, Campo Grande, Bangu, Padre Miguel, Madureira, Engenho de Dentro and Meier. Read more here (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

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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.

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(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)

The future Museum of Tomorrow

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Visited by 1.4 million people in the country in 2016, the Museum of Tomorrow, with investments abroad, wants to bring its collection and content to an audience of over 100 million per year. Open for less than two years, the Museum of Tomorrow has just started its international expansion. With the brand MoTi (Museum of Tomorrow International), based in Rio, it arrived earlier this month in Amsterdam, the Dutch capital, as part of a commitment made with three local partners. The investment abroad is part of a strategy that aims to bring collections and museum content to an audience estimated at over 100 million people each year, via TV, Internet and traveling exhibitions.

The institution’s global ambitions are encouraged by last year’s results, when the Museum of Tomorrow was the most visited in all of Brazil. The audience (1.4 million persons) was almost three times what administrators expected, which was 500,000. The unconventional collection, based on interactive content which is easily replicable in other areas, is a point in favor of the internationalization strategy.

Even before settling in Holland, the institution’s area of influence already far surpassed the building’s futuristicly-lined walls erected next to Praça Maua, the design of Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. “Today, via Facebook, Twitter and the official site, we reache 7 million people,” said Ricardo Piquet, CEO of the Museum of Tomorrow and Instituto de Desenvolvimento e Gestão (IDG), a social organization that manages the institution. In the Netherlands, the Museum of Tomorrow occupies a space within the THNK School of Creative Leadership, a laboratory for the discussion of ideas and a startup accelerator aimed to generate social impact. The intention behind internationalization is just developing a series of initiatives on a global scale that encompass both traveling exhibitions, online exhibitions and audiovisual products. “We want to produce films and series for TV and Netflix,” said Piquet. Within the strategy outlined by management, the transmission of audiovisual content via cable and broadcast television have potential – in the long run – to reach more than 20 million people per year.

At the moment, the Museum of Tomorrow is expanding its operations with temporary itinerant exhibitions. It also offers a consulting service for the implementation of methodologies and content tools, within a logic which will, in the future, include marketing “packages” including content, design and concept for exhibitions. The model reduces costs traditionally associated with artistic exhibitions, such as the transportation and insurance for art work. The next step is the global dissemination of such content via the Internet, reaching more than 100 million people in a period of over four years, according to the institution’s projections.

The Netherlands branch, according to Piquet, is an almost entirely self-sustaining investment from a financial point of view, the same line adopted at its Rio de Janeiro headquarters. Of the US$14.6 million budget for the Museum this year, $6.1 million would have come from the City of Rio de Janeiro, which informed the institution’s administrators of a reduction of their share to $3.6 million.

The cut was drastic in comparison with 2016, when Rio’s City Hall contributed $8.5 million. Even so, the museum’s activities were not affected, since most of the budget is made from private resources. “Our desire is to be entirely private,” says the CEO, without establishing a deadline. In the Netherlands, the first years of operation are guaranteed by resources allocated by a private investor.

In addition to the agreement signed with the THNK School of Creative Leadership, for an initial duration of one year, there are signed partnerships and technical cooperation agreements with 17 institutions, including the Google Cultural Institute and Columbia University. The choice of Amsterdam as first city to house a MoTi unit took into account technological and logistical factors, but also the ability of European capital to attract new businesses and talent (the city ranks third in the Global Power City Index ranking) and it has the best cost/benefit in comparison with London or Paris.

For next year, one of the major international bets for the Museum of Tomorrow is the Global Climate Room, an exhibition that will encourage the visitor to reflect on the effects of climate change and the consequences of human activity on the planet. It’s not by chance that the first cities planned to receive the exhibitions are located on the coast. “The idea of sustainability is tied to our project,” says Piquet. – Source (PT)

Clive James Postcard from Rio – 1989

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I came across this documentary about Rio, from 1989, called Clive James Postcard from Rio, showing a snapshot of the city almost 30 years ago. You can find it below in English and with a voice-over in Continental Portuguese. If, for whatever reason, it gets taken down, just put the name of the documentary into Youtube as there are several uploads of the same video.

It’s perhaps important to note the out-of-touch aspect of the host, and how almost every line he says is a non-stop string of “witty” remarks. It’s rather pessimistic for a travel documentary, and the host’s ignorance shines bright in several instances. Nonethelss, it’s still interesting to get a feel for the city in the 80s.


“Strolling along the promenade at Copacabana one could easily believe that the citizens of Rio are the luckiest in the world. But sunshine, music and the beach are the only blessings Rio hands out with fairness.

The chance to eat well and die healthy is the privilege of the few and the envy of the many. The poor living on their wits in the favelas, can only trust the voodoo gods to see them through.

And if that means sacrificing the odd chicken, so be it. Clive James is made welcome by rich and poor alike. While the cariocas live in their own worlds, making contact only when a servant is paid or a millionaire is mugged, the outsider can meet them all.”