I love Brazil. These photos of the current unrest in Rio are another reminder that I’m not cut out to live in such a violent city. Rio is the most naturally beautiful city I’ve ever visited. I was lucky to live there for a short three months, but the psychological cost of living there—daily stories of stabbings, shootings, grenades being thrown into restaurants—made it easy to retreat to San Diego. Still, I love it and I miss it. I miss a lot of the people there.
The photos also remind me of some thoughts I’ve had on Brazil’s flag: the sanctification of ”order and progress” (the words on Brazil’s flag) come at a high cost in terms of individual liberties and—based on these pictures—human life.
I don’t like policy makers who focus on order (security!) and progress (the economy!) at the expense of liberty or justice. I believe order and progress are the wrong goals to reach for—that more people benefit from governments that pursue liberty and justice for citizens with the understanding that order and progress will follow. Also, phenomena like WikiLeaks make the pursuit of order sound quaint.
This is about as idealistic as I get, this is about as American as I get, and this also explains much of my frustration with the American federal government.
This image, captured from the International Space Station in 2003, shows the sprawling urban footprint of São Paulo, Brazil, South America’s largest city with roughly 17 million people. The different colors (pink, white, and gray) define different types and generations of streetlights. The port of Santos, on the right side of the photograph, is also well defined by lights.
These are photos of a mural in Copacabana created in homage to the brazilian sport of frescobol (which translates gloriously to something like freshball or coolball). You probably know it as paddle ball, like what you play on the beach. It’s slightly different in Brazil—the ball is bigger, kind of like a flat raquetball, and the paddles are narrower, less round, and slightly thicker than the paddles you usually see on American beaches.
The inscription on the mural reads:
Homage to frescobol. A sport invented in Brazil in the 50’s, in this very neighborhood between posts 4 and 6. The only sport with a sporting spirit without formal dispute, losers or winners.
Posts 4 and 6 are posts along the beach in Copacabana. Each post is 750m apart. I used to live near post 12.
This is a rehash of a post from my old Rio blog. I’m resurfacing it because Shan and I want to start playing more paddleball and I want more people to know why paddleball/frescobol is such a great sport.
A competitive (sporting?) sport with no winners and no losers is a beautiful thing.