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Carnaval 2017 – Rio de Janeiro feature

Carnaval 2017 – Rio de Janeiro

It’s Carnaval! One of my favorite times here in Brazil. I always have a lot of fun and this year was no different. Some dear moments…

Regênese feature


Peça Regênese na Cia de Teatro Contemporâneo. Vivi Cesônia, da peça Calígula.

Real-time blogging during a trip feature

Real-time blogging during a trip

During my trip to both Dubai and Egypt, my second big international ride alone, I tried to do experiment: convert my daily writing routine into a travel journal.

For the last 5 years or so, I have habit the write almost every day into a personal journal. It is my way of putting drafting ideas, tell my day and the interesting things that I have in my mind and complain about the bad things that happens to me. In other words, a free way to do some therapy.

But I tried this time to focus my energy trying to create a dialogue with friends and family that were curious about this particular destination. So I decided to dedicate about 1 hour every single day to choose some photographs, enhance them and post with a cohesive background story. Many have some humor but there was some with pure aesthetics in mind.

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Every day, I published the stories both in Facebook and Google+.

The feedback was – simply put – amazing! Hundreds of likes and dozens of comments, much more that I’m used to. I tried to respond them as soon as possible and the dialog evolved.

For me it was also a good thing by itself, because reviewing all the photos and trying to organized them into a story, it remind me about the great experience that I was having. It made me happier, despite the exhaustion of the long days.

Also It forced me to take a different and more careful look into the landscapes and people that I was meeting everyday. I was paying attention to the opportunities, the colors and mood of places I was knowing.

The professional camera that I used was… my phone! I have to admit that the Galaxy S6 camera is really great. Just a couple of moments that I had the desire to have a professional dedicated camera. The portability and versatility of a phone camera is, however, much more valuable for me than the ultimate picture quality.

For almost every photo I had also to do some minor editing, enhancing the brightness and forcing a bit the overall saturation for more vivid colors. While it affects the truthiness of the image, I’m totally in for the dramatic effect it causes.

Facebook mobile app was not super smooth on commenting each of the uploaded photos. Google+ unfortunately don’t allow this. It affected the storytelling part and led to a more visual-only experience.

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The world is an amazing place and it was a pleasure to be in the places I visited. By doing this journal, I learned that people are hungry of positive messages and beautiful images. After hundreds of photographs, I am very happy to have feed them for a while.

Facebook posts (in Portuguese):


EDIT 2023-03-23: Google+ is long defunct. Links do not work and were removed


Dubai and Egypt

What an experience! Originally I wanted to go to the east, Malaysia, Singapore, Bali and Vietnam, but I thought it would be too romantic for a lone hitchhiker.

But during the initial planning, I found that almost all planes go from Brazil to Dubai, then to the eastern region. And suddenly it caught my attention: what about going to Dubai instead? It is not a primary destination, but there is a great deal of crazy news about this place that I believed that it would be a nice destination.

But Dubai, despite being pleasant, is a small place, and it would not take much time. A 2-week trip would fatally become boring. So I decided to go somewhere else nearby. And then it comes Egypt!

What a trip! Dubai was organized, beautifully artificial, man made effort. Egypt was the total opposite, being beautifully natural, man made chaos.

The Islamism was really different from my reality, and I could see how deep it affects their cultures. It is now in their roots.

While in Dubai I had basically no reservations, Egypt, I must say, is not a trip for everyone. Afflicted by an ever political crisis, the poor country is now in a profound economic crisis. The people are getting desperate. They accept any deal for a penny. Even trying to mislead tourists. I had SEVERAL discussions with natives because I felt being cheated.

Taxi drivers, guides, shopkeepers. Almost all that I had contacted tried to get a bit of extra money from me. Something around 500%! :O Making a local friend was my salvation.

That was my very first trip that I did not know the local language. Arabic was simply too complicated to learn in a short period. But in Dubai was not a problem, because it is a very internationalized city and everyone speaks English. Egypt, on the other hand, even being one of the most famous places on this planet, is not prepared for the global community, just like here in Rio de Janeiro. Those people that are involved directly with tourists do speak enough English, but if you do not follow the path of the masses, you will end up dealing with mimicking and gestures with the locals.

To my surprise, food was not a memorable thing in either place. Dubai does have any type of food you might want, but none was particularly remarkable. Egypt does have some local and famous dishes, but none of them did enchant me. I was expecting some simple but tasty food. Exotic stuff from the desert. Ancient recipes. But nay. Nothing.

And did I mention that being in Islamic countries, alcohol is really hard to get? There are only small local stores that have beers, and they are expensive. After a full day walking under an unforgiving hot sun in the desert, I just wanted some ice-cold beer to close the day relaxed. I had to console myself with juice instead.

Egypt recently had some terrorist attacks and most of the tourism has vanished. One told me there were approximately 5% of tourist from the once a popular Russian winter destination. Europeans also are just too afraid to visit it.

It has some advantages for those that actually go there. The only still remaining of the ancient wonders of the world, the Pyramids, had nobody. I could bargain a good price for a camel ride, entering the tombs and even hiking the Great Pyramid of Giza. I hired a personal taxi driver for the whole day and paid just a penny for it. Slept in the middle of the Sahara, ate local Bedouin dinner, visited temples, rode a hot-air balloon, did a cruise through the Nile river and hired guides for a fraction of the normal price.

All these attractions did a very nice mark in my heart. It was the unique trip I ever did. I felt I was on another planet, from another time, in a totally different culture. I was special. I can totally recommend it, but you have to have an adventurous heart.


Linux on Notebook Experiment Failed (for now) feature

Linux on Notebook Experiment Failed (for now)

I could not make it last. Farewell Ubuntu. I tried to convert to Linux my Lenovo Yoga Pro 2 laptop. Mostly because I was not using any particular Windows software and I have a particular pro-FLOSS interest. The lack of drivers and weird behaviors was taking too much of my time. I had to switch back to Windows 10 in order to make it a bearable experience. It is a major step back in my personal goal to make my life fully libre and grátis software world.


Among the problems I faced:

  • Sound drivers were lacking functionality:
    • The max volume were super low to the point it was impossible to watch a movie in the notebook.
  • **KDE **with poor HDPI support. Well, it was not perfect in Windows either, but in Linux most programs, texts and interface were very distorted. I had eventually to reduce the resolution to something more normal, missing one of the major selling points of this machine.
  • Lenovo has as proprietary energy manager software. If you mostly use the computer plugged, it caps the battery maximum level to 60%, the optimal level for preservation. The software is Windows-only, so I could not revert it to normal mode; consequently, during commute the notebook died quite soon.
  • Due to a hardware problem, the yellow color is displayed wrongly on the display. It is only corrected using the infamous proprietary energy manager.


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But there was not only drawbacks. There were some nice points to highlight:

  • Steam worked nicely. All games I have installed worked nicely. The only concern was the huge resolution from the notebook (native 3200 x 1900)
  • The (K)Ubuntu desktop ecosystem is getting even more complete and versatile. The old odd software are now finely maturing.
    • I tried used regular Ubuntu, but the Unity UI is horrible for me.

Of course the drawbacks surpassed the pros for me. But I think that it could change in a future, with newer Linux/KDE versions and better hardware vendor support.