Every day we are here, we learn a little bit more about Brazil, late last night for example we switched over to Canal Rural, one of the many local channels (we have four channels solely dedicated to religion alone) to see what looked like a combination of a strip club and a rotary club dinner, a large room was full of tables of blokes dining and drinking, at the front of the room was a large podium, with a cage around it, the room was full of loud music, laser lighting and a lot of smoke and the crowd was pretty excited, of course this had to be something dodgy didn’t it, well it was in fact a live cattle auction. As well as the people there attending, you could also phone in and bid, I was of course tempted, but given the size of our flat I didn’t think that we really had room for family of Brahman cattle beasts. At least it means that Brazilians are going to be among the few other nations in the world that would understand how come “a dog show” could make it onto TV in New Zealand.
So we have been a bit quiet on the blog front for the last couple of weeks, Greg has been focusing on writing his book, which has somewhat taken away the urge to write for fun, but with a long weekend over here and our adventure plans cancelled at the last minute, I now find myself with some time on my hands. So here’s a quick recap of what we have been up to:
Last weekend we headed down to Buenos Aires to watch our friend Robert Lindstedt play in the Davis cup tie between Sweden and Argentina, now we don’t need much excuse to visit BA, it’s one our favourite cities in the world, but we also got the chance this time to celebrate/disrupt the Olympic torch which was a great bonus.
So Greg went and watched the first days play on Friday while Cath worked in the BA office, now the only other time Greg has seen live tennis was watching Robert play in the very civilised atmosphere of Wimbledon, these games turned out to be somewhat different, the Argentines’ hadn’t lost a single match at home in the last five years of Davis Cup, and after spending some time there I think I know why, they have a 15,000 person tennis stadium, and every day there was at least 10,000 argies there, they acted like they were at a soccer match which was great, continually yelling, chanting and screaming, we joined in the very small Swedish supporters group (about 20 of us) but any attempt at a chant or a song was quickly drowned out by the Argentinean supporters, there screaming and yelling was continuous, even the umpires couldn’t shut them up.
So after watching some tennis on Friday I headed down town to try and get amongst the action at the torch relay, now let me explain my politics here, I fully support the Olympic movement, and the right of athletes to compete, but I also think if you are stupid enough to want to host the Olympics, you better make sure you have clean underpants on first, because the whole world is going to be watching. I also think that any non sporting part of the Olympics is fair game for protesting and point raising, so I was glad to get the chance to join in the free Tibet protestors during the torch relay. After watching the “events” in Britain, France and USA, I thought the argies may have clamped down on things when their moment in the spot light came around, but I didn’t expect it to be as heavy handed as it was, it appears that the argentian police don’t focus on the same sort of community policing that we are used to, they more fancied batons and motorbikes as crowd clearing tools. Groups of pro Tibet and Falungong supporters were forcibly dispersed by the police, anyone who waved a Tibet flag or any type of protest was quickly dragged away, and groups of people who congregated to protest were quickly dispersed by groups of police or pro china supporters. As you can see in this shot, by the time the Olympic torch actually arrived, there was no chance of anyone getting through the five lines of protection that the torch had surrounding it.
The great celebration of Olympic spirit (and police brute force)
I have to say though, if China feels a little uncomfortable with people invading it’s parade, imagine how the Tibetans felt when China invaded their country… I did join a group of mainly English backpackers in chanting free Tibet for a brief period of time, but we were again quickly dispersed by a large mob of pro china supporters, these people were a bit of comedy in themselves, nothing says organic community based support like having absolutely everyone wearing matching red jackets now does it?
Pro china supporters – I wonder who funded these smashing jackets?
But it was great to see people making their protests in their own way – something that is just not possible in Tibet:
So after that adventure I caught up with Cath and we headed out for another beautiful feast of Argentinean meat, after this trip there is no doubt, they have the best beef in the world….
Saturday we went to watch Robert play his doubles game with Jonas Bjorkman against the fairly impressive pairing of Guillermo Canas and David Nalbandian and 10,000 of their supporters. Though Robert had a great game, it didn’t go their way, and they went down to the Argies 5-7, 4-6, 4-6. Here are some shots of Robert and Jonas in the game:
Robert and Jonas
And you think you had a bad day at work, imagine this feeling…
On the Sunday we headed back to SP, where we are now, enjoying a nice quiet long weekend at home in BA, but planning our next set of adventures.
A quick update on work from us both, Caths work continues to go great, she is making a name for herself over here and already delivering some great results in LatAm, I think there is a good chance they will try and adopt her at the end of the 6 months. Gregs book continues to roll along, with 100 of the 350 pages submitted, Greg is realising just how hard it is to write a book, the first chapter was a complete nightmare, but now he is settled into something of a rhythm, so hopefully the chapters will start to flow a bit faster!
That’s all for now. Over and out of here.
Lots of love,
Greg and Cath