NOTE: I am on a 10-day, university faculty seminar conducted by the Council on International Exchange Education (ciee.org). I will be joined by about a dozen US-based faculty tomorrow.
I arrived Rio airport (GIG) about 0845 today (Tuesday); immigration, customs very quick, taxi queue very long and slow traffic. I had to find my own way to the hotel as my seminar does not actually start until tomorrow. I got to the Atlantis Copacabana about 11 am. Nice older hotel in the Ipanema area. Despite its name, the hotel is closer to that beach than to the Copa; about ¼ mile to the Ipanema, about ½ mile to the Copa. There is an outcropping of rock that separates the two by a few hundred yards (see photo). Today I walked down most of the Ipanema – it’s about 2 miles from here to the end. Tomorrow I’ll walk the Copa; it is a least twice as big.
Very few English speakers here; I’m working hard day and night to learn passable Portugese. I was able to shop and have lunch today, but sometimes had to ask passers-by for help. The neighborhood I’m in looks sort of poor at first glance, but, every building is surrounded by a steep metal fence, full security, etc. and I noticed the cars coming and going are very $$. So just a few blocks from the beach, this must be a very expensive place to live. But the trash, traffic, and general run-down nature of the infrastructure would not give that away.
A big part of my seminar here is to study and understand the nature of persistent urban poverty, especially the type of poverty that seems to capture generations and leads to deep social divisions, protests and violence. I expect the favelas (ghettos) we will study and visit this week will be eye-opening.
I’m posting all my comments on my brother’s blog: “Epic Mikey”. Thanks, Mike, for helping out, and thanks to everyone who reads and/or comments on these posts.
soli Jesu gloria,