Saturday, August 23, 2014

The World's Game: Cuiaba

A while ago, I used to write blogs about where I've been, what I saw, what I ate, and whatever other ridiculous things that come out of my mind.  I got away from that due to several things, but I'm back for the time being with a few tales to tell.

In mid June, I went to Brazil will a merry band of friends.  Though some of us had tickets and others did not we disembarked close to each other.  One group destine for Cuiaba and the other Rio. I went to Cuiaba.

The funny thing about travel is that it makes too much sense to have direct flights to important (at least to you) places and our trip to Brazil was no different.  We left Caracas after the usual Venezuelan wait of several hours in various lines after a longer than should be drive.  We tried to make the most of the hours in line, but you can only stand or sit in a study hall sized area for so long before your mind is over it.

We had a red eye which was interesting in the fact I had a) never taken one before and b) still dislike flying.  I figured that I should take my usual Xanax prescription and add an additional adult beverage to ease the nerves.

Our flight was nothing out of the ordinary.  The other clientele in the plane were either fans doing the same thing we were doing or native Venezuelans lucky enough to escape the dice game of their country for a while.  I remember having the weirdest dreams and the worst kinks in my neck.  I didn't have one of those dork mandated neck rolls that many people had.  I, for one, think neck rolls should be given to middle linebackers or undersized defensive lineman in the late 80's and early 90's- that's all.

Upon arrival to circus de Sao Polo, a huge three story mall of an airport (maybe it was two) we rechecked luggage in (not Morris or I we are on bag travelers; Brittany and Maya...well you know) and got some cash from one of the 10 different ATM machines (a potpourri of language based ATMS at that) we headed up for Starbucks...yep a real life 1st world coffee joint.  Jackpot.  We'd been talking about it since our line wait in CCS so to achieve caffeinated Americana was wonderful.

We left Seattle's favorite and marched over to another line, then security, and finally to the wing where our northbound flight was departing from.  While we were hanging out in the terminal, we ran into Diana our Brazilian friend headed to her home for the summer and some World Cup action. We chatted it up and then parted ways.

The flight from Sao Paolo to Cuiaba was cake.  Maya, Morris and I were at the front of the plane- most leg room ever.  Brittany was stationed several rows back with some locals.  I finished Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist (note: Morris was write, it was a bad ass novel.  If you haven't read it do it.  Go here and buy it for $2) on the ride and took a nice nap.

Once we hit wheels down in Cuiaba we walked down the steps, across the tarmac and into the terminal (I love those walks).  We waited for the luggage and went up for a cab.  Naturally, we didn't follow Diana's advice and paid for a cab after the ride instead of before.  Which not only left us lighter in the pocket, but also a few blocks away from our apartment (dude couldn't find it).  After some Sportugueuse convos lead by Morris and Brittany we found our place.  It was sandwiched between a doctor's office and a gas station (no street signs or numbers- I mean why would you?).

The place was solid.  Basically it was walk in kitchen, to the left bathroom, to the ride bedroom with a big bed (girl city) and bunk bed (dudesville).  Priority one was AC and it was cranked throughout.  The odd thing about this place was that there was no shower, rather just to the left of the toilet attached to the wall was the shower head.  You literally just turned the water on and flipped an electric switch to make it warmer (electricity and water DO mix).  Everything in the bathroom would get soaked and i would get yelled at for not squeegee-ing to approved standards.  There was however a grocery store close so that saved us a bunch.

Our first night there was awesome.  We went down to the fan fest for the US v. Ghana game sporting our USA jersey's and Morris wearing our Iowa flag.  Oddly enough, there was a bunch of US people there.  Say twenty.  And of those twenty were a good number of Coloradicals (you know: tank tops, flip flops, organic body odor, greasy hair, beers, weird smelling cigarettes...natures people) and they had been holed up in Brazil since the first game of the WC.  I'm not going to say what I think their jobs were, but I feel many were self employed botanists.  Super nice people (not judging, attempting at humor).  We also met Tom. Tom was a solid bloke from Yale (yep, that school).  Not only was he soccer fan and super nice guy, but also spoke Portuguese and didn't have any travel friends (his friends bailed on him, but he was there anyway). We befriended Tom after the US game.  He had I had deep talks before the match regarding our midfield play and if we could get enough strikes to pressure Ghana.

And wouldn't know you know it, Clinton Drew "Clint" Dempsey sent one into the back of the net within the first minute.  All of us US people lost it.  High fives were given shot in all directions and beers were spilled.  A few people even took off running around the outdoor venue.  Our crew was into the match the whole time.  It was wild.  After Ghana tied it, things looked Grim but our pride stood firm and minutes later when John Brooks put the US up to stay.  It was pandemonium.  People were going nuts, screaming and yelling.  We all stuck around after the game exchanged contact information and while team Colorado went out, we went to sleep.  The previous days travel was a lot.

The next day was just spent relaxing and preparing for the big match. We had tickets to Russia v. South Korea that night.  It was naturally hot, but we maintained proper body temperature with copious amounts of barely and hops. During our time in Venezuela, Morris and I had an idea to see how many pictures we could get with our Iowa flag and other countries flags (the answer was 30-ish, I don't know how many exactly as my phone was stolen [spoiler alert].   Outside the stadium we were racking up flags.  Adding to our previous nights booty (pirate talk for looting).  Near game time we started making our way to the screening line when we found out we were on the wrong side.  So we had to walk all the way around through a maze of people and stopped into a bar to catch the last 5 mins of another game.  Finally, we go in the right line, through security and into the giant concrete structure that will later become a huge rodeo venue (supposedly).  Walking into the stadium and seeing people of all shapes, sizes, and colors was awe inspiring.

The Russians (for the most part) were exactly like you'd expect.  Cold, stand-offish and brutal both on the pitch and in the stands.  They weren't there to socialize, they had other things on their mine (and I don't mean Crimea).  The South Korean cohort was lively and passionate.  They were chanting in mass from a huge section on the second deck.  Wave flags and dressed in the white, blue, and red of their flag they carried their team to a 1-1 draw with the Russians.  It was well executed, crisp football (soccer).  After the match we went down to the square were people gathered on the weekends and after the matches. It was awesome.

People from literally all over the world were there.  Within in five minutes we met people from India, Korea, Canada (not impressive, I know), Ireland, England, and Australia. Oddly enough, some of those stereotypes are true.  The latter there were shit-faced upon us arriving, yet they were totally in control.  It was a lot of fun. Pretty struck up a conversation with a guy who had his truck parked next to the square and he gave us free beer.  So, needless, to say he was cool in our book.  The rest of the evening was just meeting to new people, talking soccer, and hearing just how crazy peoples trips were.

An Indian-Brit I spoke with said he was working elsewhere in South American and took a ferry boat down to Brazil and then used various methods to get to Cuiaba.  He explained just how unsanitary, buggy, and monotonous the trip down river was.

The more people I spoke with, it became more evident that people from Europe and elsewhere are far more well traveled then most of us Yanks (maybe just the ones I know) so their perspective of the world is much different.  The cool thing was that we were all there for the World Cup and that was a great way to strike up conversations and really meet people from literally everywhere.  We stayed until close and the hopped a cab back.  The next day was just spent hanging out and returning to the Fan Fest for more matches.  We hunkered down in the city for a week and took in one more game, but nothing significant really happened.

The ladies went to a nature trial/hike deal one day, and Morris played hoops with some Korean kids while I just hung out, watched matches, and relaxed.

Cuiaba (the exact center of South America!) was one of the smaller and surprising host city's of the World Cup.  Apparently, the match before when all the Aussies were there it was an insane party, but with each game the various peoples come and go with their team.  We had tickets for the venue due to lack of availability and to save money, but it was fun regardless. Our second and final game, was Bosnia vs. Nigeria. It was a rather boring match that had the Brazilian fans up in arms for the amount of flopping, injury time, and lack of quality play.  After that match we had a few beverages, and went home to crash.  We had to fly out to Rio soon after for several days of soccer tourism there and most of us were zapped from the heat.

We bid Tom adieu and grabbed a cab for the airport.

Rio was next.

Things About the World Cup in Cuiaba That May Only Interest Me

The lack of completion in this article was true.

The light rail from the airport to downtown or wherever in the hell it was supposed to go was only like maybe 75 feet long.  So....where did the money go?

If you don't read anything else in this god forsaken blog besides my captions look at this. Why Your World Cup City Sucks: Cuiaba.

The city reminded me a lot of those Midwestern towns that used to have sound factories and have then seen them move out.  It had that industrial has been feel.

The Fan Fest venue was big and well staffed...but no one was really there.  I was told that when Brazil played it was a big deal, but it never was really packed when we were there.

Outside of the matches, the square, and a few bars to watch the game Cuiaba was boring... and hot as piss.

We asked some Ruskies to take a picture with their flag (both national and state) and were asked, "Are you American?" Yes, Morris replied.  "Then no." Uh...who won in Rocky IV and in the Cold War... WE DID... show some respect.  Oddly enough some dude we met from Crimea was really cool and talkative. They took pictures with Ivan, get over it.

Colombians are generally loved, and they had some sweet jeeps.  A huge group of them drove down in various jeeps packed with stuff. A few were selling a lot of hippie-ware, I bought a bracelet from a dude that chatted me up about Colombian midfield play.

Drunk, red haired Irishmen are funny as hell.  Fact.

Bosnians just looked angry when drunk, they were happy to be there, but just had the look of anger once the alcohol entered their system.

Onto the pictures

Tall buildings= apartments; Flat, huge building= soccer stadium.

Tricky, tricky, but that's not the real one.  Also, the dirt in the middle was supposed to be train tracks....

Morris, Day 1 ready to spread the Iowa Way across the nations.  

Fan Fest Cuiaba

Family picture.  Me, Morris, Fuleco the Armadillo, Brittany, Maya

Brazil, South Korea, and IOWA

After a US goal.  Look close and see the guy going crazy. 

This Russian promised us better seats and lied.  He had to be ex-KGB, but at least he took a picture with us. 

No wonder people hate Americans.  I bet can't guess who is from Colorado.


These dudes were solid.

Walking into Fan Fest.  

Russians from Crimea.


Ahhhhh, South Korean devil children!

The Russian Army. Brute drunken vodka forces unite!


No one knew we'd play each other, (Belgium) but this guy was nice.  
Drunkest Russian we met, but he had been to Ames, Iowa. What the...?


View from our seats.  Russia v. South Korea

The South Korea fan section

Pre-game festivities.  

South Korea corner.

Morris, Welsh guys, me, and Tom. Yep, the Welsh have a red dragon on their flag. 

You from Canada eh? You like Labatt eh?

Tom, a pirate, me, and Brian Urlacher!!!!!!!

South Americans against Brazil unite! Argentines, Colombians, and a dude in a Germany jersey (besides me).

Iowa and Nigeria. Germany played that day and I'm part German, hence the jersey.  These dudes were Nigerian living in the US.  Cosmopolites. 

This dude had to be in a Bolivian screamo band.  Had to.  

Ze Germans.  

Nigeria v. Bosnia and Herzegovina

Our seats for Nigeria v. Bosnia.  FIFA made the Brits in front of us with the flag take it down.  

Ah za Swvedish! 

Bosnia and Herzegovina

India and Canada.

Sorry I've been slacking, but I'll explain later.

Have a great Sunday. Make it count.

Until Next Time,


Friday, June 13, 2014

A Story Referencing Quality


As I just wrapped up grading my last final exams, I remembered I still needed a to blog for the week.

So here you go.

A Quick One

One story, covering two days of incidents.  On Monday, Jon had to take Rexin to the doctor to have some tests done. Morris and I had to pick up Jon after dropping off Randi and Brittany.  He had the car to get Rexin and he was dropping it off so we could take him to get a tattoo. 

Jon did the usual, show up super early, sign up to be seen, and wait.  And wait.  And wait some more. They had two appointments one at 8 am (he wasn't seen until 11:15 am) and another one at 2:00 pm but he and Rexin left as it was 3:40 and no doctor had shown up for that appointment.  To get this appointments you go and sign up, he was 5th for the 8 am appointment and first for the 2:00 pm appointment. Jon and the little dude we at the hospital for nearly 9 hours and only were seen briefly on one of two appointments. 

Jon had to return the following day for lab tests, but the power went out and they informed him they didn't have the reactants for those tests anywhere in the city or possibly the country.  The hospital didn't have a generator for that area.  Crazy.

The following day Morris had to go sign one form for his insurance claim on his accident.  You remember, the accident- the drunk driver at 4:30 pm in the middle of the week that ran a red and smoked us.  That was about three months ago and he is just now going to get the claim process going (not his decision).  Still no word from the drunk driver's insurance agency and no work can be done no his van yet.  Yep, he's excited about it.

He got a map (yes, like a treasure map) from one of our secretaries to show us how to get there.  Remember, there aren't well marked road signs or many business signs and believe it or not, the map actually worked.  We got to the agency and found our way to the front desk where we took a number.  R-580.  They were on A-050.  I have no idea what that meant within this countdown system , but whatever.  Morris and I look beaten, this could be HOURS.  He asked the woman working the desk, she didn't answer specifically, then played off.  He finally got her to confirm, one hour.  Awful.  We sucked it up and lounged while watching a World Cup final from the 70's on the TV hanging from the ceiling.  
It's upside down, but you get the idea. The short lines mean traffic...I think.

I hate lines/waiting.  So does Morris.  So does Jon.  EVERYONE does. Here's a major area of suck in Valencia: crossing the highway.

I told both those back stories to tell you this one. 

You have a highway in your city? Have you taken an on/off ramp? Can you drive? Good you can relate to this.

To cross the highway here you have to take one of two bridges.  1.5 million people living around a mountain, divided by a highway, and only two bridges.  Now remember, there are only a handful of places with traffic lights (most drivers don't follow them anyway) and the areas around the ramps do not. We were heading east and to our right are two streets that filter into the bridge.  One would think these two roads would consist of two lanes of traffic, but that would be incorrect. It becomes 4 to 5, maybe 6 depending on how people are driving.  It then bottlenecks and the waiting commences. When a crack of space opens up people just dart in, regardless of the lane.  Motorcycles shoot the gaps like ants in a doorway, providing you with the only semblance that you are on a roadway.  

We waited in this manner for an hour both days.  Mind you were needing to travel only two blocks, one to the merging traffic and one over the bridge. Not only was the bottleneck an issue, but the protest, donation collection on the bridge causing a stoppage.  On Monday, it was people collecting money for their neighborhood fund with one car just stopped to talk to his friends.  The next night the collectors were replaced by hospital dress clad protest with yet another singular car stopping to chat.  

They funny thing is we don't even get mad anymore.  It's more of a shaking of the head and a chuckle of "we signed up for this."  Which we did.  Two days, two hours, two sections of two peoples' lives never to be replaced.  I caught myself wondering the other day how many hours people here waste just waiting in various lines.  Or maybe, if that is the cause of the rabid use of Whatsapp on their smartphones.

This situation is a great mystery that I do not know the answer to.  However, if any of you have read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (If you haven't read it, give it a shot.  It's a bit of a bear at first but well worth it) then you are familiar with the book's analysis of quality.  If you haven't, but have enjoyed a great cheeseburger, beer or cookie you also know what quality is.  Then be definition (or lack of) we all know what quality is without being told.  Thus you now know that the traffic situation here is not quality.

It's all about quality.

Any who, I thought I'd share that story to hopefully give you a chuckle and lighten up your Friday morning.

Ryan Robinson's Links of Knowledge      

The fight against teacher tenure, and why it is dumb.  
Body found on sidewalk in Valencia. 
Prostitutes making more money selling dollars than sex.
Venezuelans head to Cucuta to evade currency controls. 

I'll try to throw together a capstone of my experience here in the next day or so.  I have to get my apartment cleaned and approved to leave, same with my classroom, and get ready to fly to Brazil for the World Cup...but I think I can do it. 

I hope to find some wifi in Brazil and keep you all updated.  Cross your fingers. 

Have a great Friday!


Thursday, June 5, 2014

"We Gotta Get You Ready For The Ball Cinderella!" or CIC Graduation

I am currently finishing this blog (started it on Tuesday and it's now Thursday morning) via screen and candlelight in my hot ass apartment with no electricity and no air.  The sounds of generators running the emergency flood lights for the surrounding buildings bellows off the mountain.  Sounds awesome right? It is, especially since I just played a soccer match and was completely soaked with sweat.  Sorry, too much info.  Anyway, on with the blog. 

Well here we are, two blogs from the conclusion of my one and only year teaching at CIC.  Crazy.

This weekend I got to witness a "tradition like unlike any other" in the Venezuelan school sense of the phrase (do I have to pay the Masters for stealing that?).

Collegio de Carabobo Graduation.  It was super interesting... and a lot over the top (from an American perspective).  Let me explain.

In the US, high school graduation from public school is a unique, but matter-of-fact event.  It is still a cool experience to take a few hours and congratulate students on the culumination of four years of work.  Some students really put in the work with extra-curriculars, AP courses, and college courses, while others meet the requirements and get on their way (which can be just as challenging for them).  Both have their merit- college isn't for everyone and it shouldn't be.  There are thousands of service jobs out there that people need to do and do with a sense of pride.  Blue collar jobs will always drive this country, just as job creators will want the lionshare.  Anyway, I got off track.

Let's be honest, hardly anyone fails and doesn't graduate high school.  It's just not in the system to allow it.  There are tons of failsafes to prevent it.  Graduating from high school isn't exactly easy for all, but it's not the level of accomplishment it was in the 40's, 50's and 60's (maybe even the 70's).

While the pagantry is gone, the traditions remain.  US kids have a pretty standard ceremony regardless of where you are.  It consists of music, national anthem, a couple of speeches, reading of the names, and then the hat toss.  It's as American as the Yankees.

Sometime after, most have a graduation party at their place, a pavilion or rentable space where they invite friends and family to break bread and enjoy each others company. Each kid that has a party also thinks about one thing, MONEY.

Admit it fellow Gen X and Y'ers, it was in the back of your mind with each card that came in.  These grad parties were a send off in a way.  The drifting away from the patterns of people you'd been asscioated with were ending, and everyone was ok with it.

The parties weren't overly extravagant.  A decent spread of food, cold beverages and maybe, just maybe, some music. Girls would bust out spring/summer gear and a fake tan or two, guys would break out the button up shirts, some gel, and fresh new cologne.  If they were lucky, some parent may allow them to drink (while I don't agree with this in any way, especially as it is illegal, I'll tie it into the story later).

A few weeks into June and it's over.  The focus then is onto college.

Here is what it's like down here.

Graduation Ceremony

Mr. Chicas, Mr. Hernandez, and Mr. Moreno-Ramirez, presenters extraordinaire.
Dr. Philbin (didn't get the dress code memo) and Mr.Robinson waiting for the festivities. 
Seating started at 6pm with the ceremony supposed to being promptly at 8:00pm and the flickering of lights signaled the start was near.

As those lights died down to dark with a shade of blue and spot lights things were about to get underway.  
Well, as with most things here, it started late (cultural differences).  At about 8:20pm the intial music started and we were off.  The after some brief welcomes the students filed in walking in couples with an elongated stride-pause-stride pace.  

Once a duo made it to the front of the stage the next two started.  It reminded me of on oddly cadanced wedding entrance.  After about 15-20 minutes of entrance for our 21 graduating seniors, there was an innvocation and some music.  
Calm before the storm, or at least before the rest of parents get here.
At the conclusion of the music, our administration began the to move us through the itinerary.  About this time, I'd say 30-45 mins since the start, a bunch of families (maybe 5-7) ambled in and found seats.  The first section of the ceremony was a grade by grade summary of who came or left the class (students transferring in or out), who taught them, and what they thought about the class from Junior Kinder to High School.  

Next, each student was given 5 powerpoint slides to describe themselves, memories of school, friends, family and their ambitions going forward.  These were loaded statements.  Student's referred to themselves as "popular, social, compassionate, athletic, skilled, musical, outstanding, and phenominal."  Many even included of a slide dedicated to their current significant other. The graduating class hoped to achieve degrees in the following areas: international business (x7), business administration, business marketing (x2), civil engineering (x4), creative writing, acting, photography, interior design, journalism and "symbolic systems" (which is legit, the kid is going to Stanford). 

After this there were speeches by the top two students in the class, and senior awards.  The director then shared some words, and finally they began the reading of names.  Mind you we are in an open air auditorium with only fans.  I have my pants pulled up my knees, tie undone, and collar loosened.  Just straight sweating.  At this point, I'm just begging for this to end quickly.  It felt like each student received two sets of applause for their acceptance of the US Diploma.  After the last name was read, the class president came forward and signaled to turn the tassels.  Boom, graduation city.  Let's roll before I sweat through my shirt.  

The graduation party was supposed to start at 10pm, but since this was late and the students had to take a bus to the hotel where the party was, I knew that this wasn't looking good time-wise.

The Party

Ok, let me through this out there.  Last year's party was supposedly crazy- expensive, great food, and top shelf booze.  Jon and Ryan estimate it cost about $30,000 USD.  So coming into this I had an idea of what to expect, but no visual reference to what that would look like. 
Well I saw.

This party was invite only  Invitation and cedula were needed to get in, but before that you had to pass through metal detectors and security.  Jon and Randi guide me into this huge ballroom to the back where they sat last year.  No dice, (un)lucky for use the teacher table is front row.  We are behind the dance floor and couches, but not far enough away that when the DJs started spinning that you didn't have to yell at max volume.

View from the "cheap seats."

Moving on up.

The welcome spread. 

Each table had bottles of wine, water, Coke, club soda, meat, cheese, bread, and its own waiter.  Yep, own waiter.  The wine was top shelf.  Each table corresponded with a family and they typically had their own specified drink, vodka, rum or whiskey.  Apparently, last year there was no beer, but luckily this year there was.  
School logo..on a bottle of wine. No I didn't do that. 

After I choked down a glass of wine (sorry folks, just not my thing- unless it's out of a box on Ragbrai), Jon and I switched to beer.  After our first beer, a flood of appeitizers and hors devours filled the walkways between tables. Slowly (I mean very slowly) people started to fill in, remember they enjoy the fashionably late concept.  

After about an hour, the DJs (yep, 3's not a crowd) took the stage and sent out ear bursting reggaeton (Don't know reggaeton? Watch this video and you'll know every single song- every song has the same beat) and club music.  I literally was yelling to talk to Jon, Randi, and Eric- all who were within arms reach. 

Slowly and surely the kids hit the dance floor. It was at this time I noticed something.  Nearly every student changed clothes, new dresses and suits.  It literally looked like a red carpet event.    
No this is not a wedding. 
While the dance floor called nearly every student and mom, the dad's stood at the tables discussing whatever dads discuss at these sort of things.  It was at this time I made the mental note to never let anyone family member of mine dress like this in a graduation setting.  I understand it's Latin America, but I'm talking about later in my life up north.

As one could predict, add enough booze, students (remember no drinking age), dance happy mothers, suit clad fathers, and one mayor and things got crazy.  Our teacher table just sat for a time, with me asking Jon if this was real.  It was...apparently.
No this is not mardi gras.
Later, some seniors came over, said hello and thanked us.  We shared a drink with them (weird), and they tried to get a group of us to dance.  Some did and some didn't, it reminded me of wedding when people are peer pressured to go stand there while others think it's the coolest thing.

At this point I was starving.  Don't get me wrong the finger food was good, but I was really watching my alcohol intake as to not reach buzz level plus I was tired.  Finally, the food came.  1:15am.  Pasta.  People swarmed the buffet line to form a line (cola).  Even here, at this party, I could not escape a line!  The food was good and I started to prod Jon and Randi about going home.  I was beat.

We stayed a little longer and were definitely not the first teachers to leave.  On Monday I asked some staff members, sophomores, and juniors what time they left the party. Most said between 4-5 am! And, they were complaining about it.  I was tired and we left around 2ish.  I'm too old for that business.

All and all it was a interesting and good experience.  Good food, colleagues, seeing the seniors graduate, and taking in a different culture's graduation ceremony.  I later commented that due to my deep-seeded US-Puritan influenced beliefs, I had a hard time understanding it, but I just followed Jon's lead and saw it through.  

Jon Moreno Ramirez ’s “We Signed Up For It " Moment Of The Week

Jon hasn’t had water since last Friday.  So, it’s been roughly 4 days without a proper shower.  Yesterday he an his family come home and get in the elevator where they see one of the workers in his building.  The guy says he’s going to turn on the water, but doesn’t give a timetable.  Jon and Randi drop their stuff off and go about their usual routine.  All of the sudden the water comes on and they sprint to the bathroom to squeeze in and shower.  Jon is the first one out and he throws a towel on and high tails it to the kitchen to start doing as many dishes as he can until the water stops. 

If you have never had to ever phase this scenario before, consider yourself lucky.  As Jon now Zen-ly states, “We chose this.  We signed up for this.”

I actually had this happen last night.  SMH

Ryan Robinson's Link of Knowledge

A cool $4 billion in forwards to Venezuela for oil.  
Halliburton in Venezuela.  The irony of it.  
Lopez will stand trial.  
Sacrificing water to pay bond holders.  
Allegedly the US (opposition leaders, Colombia, and others) plotted to assassinate President Maduro.  

We also received another US State Department Travel Warning email.  Don't worry we are diligent in our security plans.  

That's about it from down here.  I'm really sorry about the double delay on the blog.  I'll definitely have at least one more before going to Brazil and Spain.  I hope to give some shorter posts while traveling, but we'll see how the wifi works.  

Have a great weekend.

Until Next Time,