Friday, August 5, 2016

Days 0-1: Rio

Day 0-1: Rio
DA and THB just above Ipanema beach

Weather: Nice in E-ville, breezy and ranging from mid 60s to low 70s in Rio

Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl
With yellow feathers in her hair and a dress cut down to there

She would merengue and do the cha-cha
And while she tried to be a star

THB hasn't been riding BART much lately; mid-morning commuter wear

If you came in 5 months before this election, you won't know what it's all about

When it's all over, you'll swear there's never been anything like it!

From THB's first O's, in his home town

And look at who was an official sponsor, THB's employer of 24 years

From THB's second O's

From THB's third O's

From THB's fourth O's

From THB's fifth O's

From THB's sixth O's

Since 1984, from one of only two summer O's THB missed 

Delta oddities: on SFO - ATL flight, the overhead light works by pushing an unmarked button twice and then a touch screen. This only worked for THB while the plane was on the ground.  On the ATL- Rio flight, the overhead light button was hidden on a remote buried in the console. On even numbered flights, they take the dinner orders from the front of biz class to back and on odd numbered flights it is the reverse. On the flight to ATL, the last two guys in row 1 ended up trying to let the other one have the salmon salad (THB had it, not worth fighting over). On the SFO – ATL flight, the place to plug in your cord in a socket or USB port was underneath the middle console at shin level, where THB could not see or feel it. The guy on aisle had to "show" it to him.

THB and DA's apartment
Easy cab ride to Copacabana area and surprise our rentee because we’re about a half hour to hour early. Rick, the singing cowboy, coordinated our rental, and he and his wife Vera show up shortly to help give us get situated. We tour the neighborhood and they help us with two major tasks.

THB's room (is that a yellow poncho?)

DA's room

1.     THB gets a new sim card installed in his travel cell phone. This is at a paper stand and cigarette kiosk, the guy is very friendly, and between he and Vera they have it all conquered in 20+ minutes. Amazing: $8 sim card and it takes two people 1/3 of an hour to make the phone function, and Vera had to give her SSN or it wouldn’t activate.

Shots from General Osorio metro station:

Just added to help O's visitors

How many people does it take to buy a 7 day pass?
2.     THB and DA think we’ll be on the metro to our three primary locations (Olympic Stadium for Track and Field, Maracanarinho Arena for Volleyball and Barra/Olympic Village for Golf, Badminton and Handball), so we go to our local station to figure it out. One guy, in English, gives us the story. The second person helps DA buy the tickets and she has another story which does not match the first story. Buying the tickets is painful. You have to put in exact change or use a debit card that takes both a swipe and an entry into a pin reader. And, then work around the “wait” and failure codes. We now have 2 7-day passes. If this is the system they will really be using, THB predicts that somewhere between day 2 and 3 they will revert to the Beijing and London approach: if you have an O ticket to an event that day or a work badge on, you ride free and go through a separate turnstile.

Current turnstile entrance

By far the most common screen shot

Elevensies: Cheese balls and pineapple-mint juice for THB

Murals inside the metro station:

Ipanema beach


Rick at number 1 photo spot on Copacabana beach

THB's sandwich: tough and tasty (frites not so good)

DA: calamari or fish and chips

Back to walking around: first on Ipanema Beach (and say goodbye to Vera), then on to Copacabana Beach and lunch with Rick.

Slow check-out

We say goodbye to Rick; he and Vera will be greeting Americans tomorrow morning that are renting another nearby through AirBNB. They are the family members of a woman on the 12 member volleyball team, so we will most likely see then at an upcoming match.

Small shopping at one of the many Zona Sul stores in the area: drinks, apples, milk (well, what THB thinks is 1.55% milk), beer.

Time to rest up before dinner across the street at … at …. THB forgot to bring his camera, so no pics of food or the restaurant! THB had pork chops, frites, and cassava coated veggies; DA had chicken and steamed veggies; we shared a tomato and hearts of palm salad; three draft Chopps brewskis. DA is picking up all the miscellani (okay, almost all, THB bought his own sim card) and so THB isn’t really keeping track of the cost of everything. 

An O's ticket office about 2 blocks from our apartment: there are plenty for sale now, at local prices (about 60% of what THB paid 16 months ago)

Book Review 1: The Fever, How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 Years, Sonia Shah: Published in 2010, maybe not the best book for THB to lead off a trip to Rio while Zika is the coming scourge of mosquito-borne diseases. Malaria is very debilitating, often lethal (especially in young people), and seemingly intractable. And, things haven’t got better since this thorough historical analysis: the CDC estimated 215 million cases in 2015 and 483,000 deaths (mostly children in Africa). Eliminating mosquitoes is not the answer, pesticides are not the answer, on-going perseverance to reduce infections is ineffective in poverty areas, and global warming flooding coastal lands is going to be a huge problem. Recommended
General Osorio turnstile

Book Review  2: The North Water, Ian McGuire (novel): Short enough to be consumed in less than one long flight; gory 1850s tale of a disgraced doctor aboard a doomed whaling ship. Recommended if you want light summer fare


  1. Good pic of Two Brothers Mountains (Does Irmåos) at end of Ipanema Beach.
    Catch a ride on the bonde ("bone-g", aka cable car) if they still have 'em, we used to hang 3 deep on the outside.
    Guarana is the soft drink of choice, and cafezinhos (little expressos) at the corner shops.

  2. The 1984 LA Olympics T-shirt brings back memories of the fantastic Levi paid week Mike and I spent staying at the Airport Hilton going to a ton of events. Went to some events with you, I think water polo and track. What an incredible boondoggle !! Impressive that you are keeping up your O tradition. Enjoy, Joann

  3. We saw a yellow trolley today, it left before we could jump on. Not sure if it was a cable car. Rick ordered a cafezinho yesterday. I hope get one at some point.

    I definitely did WP and T&F in 1984, I remember attending a ton of events with many friends (including both of you commenters, right?) and many with my dad and mom (to set the 3 of us on our way every four years).