brazil

day 190 & 191. my return to buenos aries.

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the new view

"necessity is the mother of taking chances." - mark twain

(my shorter poetic version of this post was destroyed by a horrible binary accident were a few ones collied with a few zeros. normally this wouldn't be an issue, except when you're using beta software. this is now published in two parts. this is part one. video and photos will be forthcoming.)

sometimes there is a necessity to climb a mountain. sometimes that same necessity bears the most unusual fruit.

on day 190, i woke up at 6 am and edited videos. as 18h30 (6.30 pm) chimed in my mental koo-koo clock. i knew i was late. all day long, i had monitored reports of areolinas argentina's from fellow travelers. being at the end of the world, and only coming across one other traveler who would departing 30 mins before myself, there was nothing to note. as the phantom pendulum swayed, rumor wafted of crippling strike.

despite the fact i spent the previous day on the side of mountain, sprinting down two flights of stairs with 60kg of luggage was the most dangerous act of my entire ushuaian adventure. second to this sprint, was the fact i should have been at the airport one hour before my departure. racing through the crowed streets of ushuaia, emilo, my driver (the owner of the freestyle hostel) nearly picked off two undulate penguins. these penguins shared a resemblance to stunned european toursts.

as rastamax and i belted american hip hop songs, the 2006 renault, spent most of it's time on the left hand side of the road. flashing it's high beams and dodging trucks, jalopies and donkeys, the landmarks of the last month flashed before my eyes. i crossed my fingers.

arriving at the second smallest airport in the world, the three of us discovered lines winding their way from one side of the terminal to the other. i did not know that this convention of bewilderment, would be the first of 70 hours of waiting.

after an hour and a half of three lines and an extra hour sorting out why the plane's manifest featured one less person than sat on board, we departed for buenos aires' domestic airport. at 1 am, two fellow couchsurfers and i disembarked from the tail of the airplane and said our goodbyes.

with more uncertainty than republicans in texas, i found another renault and race car driver. for 30 minuets, we caressed the freeways of buenos aires.

arriving at the international airport, my driver sprinted back and forth looking for a luggage trolly. at 2 am, the shinny new facade of terminal A seemed calm. walking through the double sliding glass doors that bless 90% of the world's modern airports, i entered into a womb of sleeping passengers.

with several hundred people scattered about, i found no fracas. so, i found a small metal bench, i pulled out my trench coat, linked my luggage together, swung my legs ontop of my luggage and passed out. almost two hours later, i awoke to see my flight on the departure board and my checkin desk assignment. little did i know that the gates of hell were just around the corner.

starting at one end of the terminal, i walked past every check in kiosk. at the end of the hall, i found a sign that pointed me around a corner to the left. glancing to my right, stood wolves frothing at the mouth. (they really were unlicensed taxi cab drivers.) as i turned my cart to the left, i stood outside the gates of hell.

DAY 191.

at this point there were two lines. the left was longer. it also entered a small arch and then made a sharp 90° turn. the line on the right poured endlessly into an abyss of mindless luggage carts. feeling a bit adventurous, i started my starboard navigation. like a 1980's atari game, zombiefyed passengers angling to get around the person next to them attacked me. unlike mario, dodging them was useless. i must have hit three or four carts until my nyc motorcycle skills awakened. then, i was dodging on coming / sideswiping zombie driven carts...

well that was until i hit my first foot. absconded by trash, the impact did not even phase this fallen soul. stopping in my tracks, i found myself in a sea of desperation, dashed dreams and an army of federal police. to my left, a thousand or so zombies standing in shapeless lines. to my right, families and friends camping in their own filth. this was a scene unlike any movie.

in front of the sea of people stood 20 federal police with 20 more milling in and out. behind them, 30 airport kiosks. at every other kiosk stood the remains of an Aerolineas Argentinas staff member. while my fellow glass-eyed wanna be passengers expended their last bits of sanity, i enquired "why is this happening?" no one knew.

as i approached staff members they just ushered me aside. according to the global distortion filter (USA Today, BBC News, The Canadian Press) - "it's a labor dispute." according to a comment on global voices, this was a dispute long in the making.

i bumped into some local tour guides and they said that since the 1990 privatization, aerolineas argentina has been one screwed up organization. not only is every other flight delayed by an hour or so, but every other year you'll find some portion of the airline on strike (airwise).

as i waited, a bull-horned police officer shrouded in a bullet proof vest would stand on a kiosk and announce a city and a kiosk number. within a smattering of seconds, the sound of smashing trollies were all around me. babies who were quietly annoyed, would wail as their parents and fellow passengers violently thrashed through a sea of limp limbs.

when the first plane was called out, i attempted to defend any sense of personal space. after three mins, i tucked my trolly into an artery of movement and found a quite place next to a poll. for a few hours, i stood, sat, stretched, skipped, sang, skanked, and spoke to my self. after rome, came new york. then they called out mexico city, then santiago de chile, then madrid, and then ushuaia.

one staff member reassured me that all flights for sao paulo would depart. around 6h00 (6am) a call came for sao paulo. they called for all passengers from the flights that would have departed on 10, 11, 12 to line up. three days of flights all attempting to be extricated on two planes. at that very moment, i saw the line stretch out past the gates of hell. i questioned my sanity.

if my flight was on the 13th and they were just starting to process three days of flights... i knew my chances were slim to none. with less than $150 USD in my checking account and less than $30 USD in my wallet, flying out on another airline would be impossible. with little sleep and less food in my stomach, my mind entered into survival mode. i need to find three things, food, transport and sleep.

as i calculated my options, my heart found only one. with no money to stick around for another week in BA, i rounded the corner and found the continental airlines office.

snaking my way from hell, i found a nameless door with a handwritten sign. with a swift knock, the electronic intercom buzzed "quen es?"

tired, i responded in english. within a few mins a grandmotherly looking woman opened the door. i explained my situation and she gave me a number to call. she also told me that the evening flight is full, but i could call houston and see what they could do...

with in 30 min, good news; i had a flight out of BA. the bad news, i would have to wait 40 hours for the next flight to houston.

i thought to myself, "40 hours! i can get a lot of sleep in 40 hours!" as i checked my watch it was only 10h30 on the 13 jan.

winding my way back through the gates of hell, i found my fellow zombies and told them of my departure. we wished each other "luck" and i wheeled my way out of hell.

beyond the point of exhaustion, i found an over priced sandwich, a cup of coffee for warmth (the whole departure hall was well over 25°C - 77°F) , and a beer (to knock my ass out). for the next 30 hours, i wrote down 98 lessons learned on this trip; i also finished "fearce invalids home from hot climates" by tom robins; slept; then i found another overpriced meal.

sometime around midnight, i found an air conditioning duct spewing fresh air and a cool slab of marble.

necessity is my mother

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Agua from gallo1 on Vimeo. "A group of tourists requires water to the airport police, after remaining nearly one day, trapped in a Union dispute."

global voices article + video + reality distortion filter (BBC News, USA Today) + me = in houston recovering.
for now i'm licking a few wounds and trying to remember the past 3 days. more to come later... many apologies to brazil... by tomorrow afternoon, you'll have a lovely video, story and videos to boot.

requesting help from brazilian geeks

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hey gang,

i'm sending you this message in hopes that you can help me complete this journey in a fan-tabulious manor. from the 13 - 28 i am planning on cruising the streets of Sao Paulo with options to visit Rio and the Federal District.

from the outside, brazil seems to have adopted / promoted open-source at every level of government and culture. i would love to prove this or disprove it if it is incorrect. from what i've read, it seems that everything points to the fact that brazil is the foremost adopter of open source and creative commons. with that in mind, i would love to interview people who are influential and users / benefactors of open conversations. for example, i am looking for internet cafe owners who couldn't exist without work government funding of open-source programs or teachers, educators, schools that couldn't use computers without open source.

it is important for me to gather footage that completes the full circle of open source - from a geek's passion, to government funding, to non-profit training, to an educator's use or a business owner making profit / serving the community, to a user participating in the local/global community. since i don't know Portuguese nor do i know all of the players, i hope you can help me connected the dots and help me place brazil as the keystone on this global documentary.

in the meantime, i'm also looking for couches to surf, random art events to attend and peers to meet. consider me just a one man camera crew with a framework. please use me to help you document your community and compile your story with the global story of open source and free culture.

can you help me translate this in portuguese and help me communicate with all the nodes?

thank you!
noel

day 150. in the south, heading south (ie my schedule for south america)

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the saving grace

(click on your favorite unfocused smile to see more photos from my time in houston. the back story to this photo is fairly remarkable. i walked into the Brazilian consulate and discovered that i had forgotten my headshots. with a point to the closest CVS over a mile and a half away, i knew that i'd never make it there and back before the visa window would close. as a buckeye, i knew microcenter as one of the first computer super stores to have fully functional products on display. located two blocks from the consulate, it was serendipity. with a quick "hello, i'm a geek traveling around the world..." mike from the printer section "demonstrated" the printer's ability to print out photos. in less than 15 mins, i was back at the console. THANK YOU MY GEEK BUDDY! YOUR RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS SAVED MY ASS!)

today marks my fourth day in houston, tx and i already feel at home. i must thank erica o'grady, matthew wettergreen, michelle calabretta, patrick and christina kwiatkowski and the mike from microcenter. like a long distance runner, i can feel the weight of every step. i know that this run, no matter how long i'd like to extend it, must end; ever step brings me closer to the finish line. yet, somewhere over the oceans of humanity, i know what i've set out to accomplish will never end. the final jaunt between houston and new york lies the sprint of a lifetime.

while my houston adventure is shaping to involve debauchery, religious, intellectual, artistic, spiritual, social and technological adventures... my psychosis is carefully balanced between the fine line of editing 15 hours of footage and planning out the last two exploratory months.

it's important to note that the next few steps are extremely important. while my travel funds are running on fumes, i still need to balance the acquisition of tickets with the need of cash to pay for these tickets. after much research and soul searching, there are two goals i must achieve
- visit antarctica
- interview the largest open source community in south america (aka brazil)

i'm tossing in argentina for a bunch of historical, logistical, political, and coworking reasons. if you're in buenos aries, you now have a coworking facility to visit - check out Cowork Central. i know i'll be looking forward to my time.

the following is a sampling of events and/or interviews i'm looking to achieve.

Dec 10th - 14, Buenos Aries, Argentina
- Fernando Maclen, manager of CoWork Central
- citizen journalists

Dec 15th - Jan 11, Ushwaia, Argentina
- start my hitch hike to antarctica
- christmas and new years at the bottom of the world
- interview couchsurfers

Jan 12, Buenos Aries, Argentina
- back for a night / layover

Jan 13 - 27, Sao Paulo, Brazil
- Andre Avorio, barcamp & open source evangelist.
- citizen journalists
- potentially mozy on over to brazilla or Rio to interview a bunch of government officials / business owners who use open source. (i still need contacts!!!)

Jan 28, Buenos Aries, Argentina
- one last night in Buenos Aries / layover

Jan 29, New York City, USA
- arrive in my home city and couch surf for a week before traveling to an undisclosed location to present my findings.

if you know of someone who has a couch to spare, shoot me a line...

if you're in any one of these areas and would like to meet up. please, contact me...
if you know of any cool organizations that would augment this global documentary, shoot me a line...
if you have access to a government official or educators who promote open source, hook me up...

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South America

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''My sixth continent is South America. From December to January, I will bounce around looking to cover as much as possible. If you have something to add, please feel free!''

----
== '''week 23''' ==
* Buenos Aries, Argentina

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== '''week 24/25/26''' ==
* Southern Tip of South America
* Somehow hop on a boat to [http://luckofseven.com/wiki/777_Antarctica Antarctica]

----
== '''week 27/28/29''' ==
* Sao Paulo, Brazil

----
== '''[http://luckofseven.com/wiki/777-NorthAmerica Travel back to NYC]''' ==

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on the luck of seven was an open-source, around the world project by noel hidalgo, a new york city based activist, organizer, barcamper and coworker.

for seven months, he traversed the globe. using a new media voodo (blog, vlog, wiki, flickr, couchsurfing, twitter, myspace, dopplr, and facebook), noneck harnessed the collective knowledge of the internet, and report on seven topics of freedom. this trip was funded by 253 people and supported, house, fed, and loved by countless others.

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