David and Lili's World Tour

BRAZIL

August 2009 - Rio de Janeiro to Brasília

After years of bureaucracy, I am finally a permanent resident of Brazil. At the airport I entered via the line for Brazilians, not foreigners. Nice:-)

On this, my 14th trip to Brazil, Lili and I began in Rio with friends from New Zealand (Tino and Anca) and escorted them to Brasília via Ouro Preto, Belo Horizonte, Pirapora, and Uncle Jaime's farm. Tino and Anca's favorite part was Uncle Jaime's farm.

The capital, Brasília, is a unique enclave for the governing elite, where small apartments cost a fortune due to limited supply, and it is necessary to have a car. There are no favelas (slums); the poor commute in from afar. This is to protect the wealthy, and it works for the most part, but muggings are still common. Indeed, our friend Edgardo knows people who were kidnapped at gunpoint.

Lili's sister, Leocadia, just moved to Brasília from Belo Horizonte. Her husband, Junior, studied for years to pass a test to get a job as a computer programmer for the Senate. Leo, a former history teacher, targeted a job with the Ministry of Justice. There were 50 job openings and 50,000 applicants, so the ministry made everyone take a test as a way to trim the numbers. Leo studied day and night, passed the test, and got the job! Congratulations Leocadia! Proof that hard work can pay off.

An interesting point is that both Leo and Junior had to study Linux for their tests. The Lula government mandated Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS) to save money. Why pay expensive license fees to Microsoft? Lili and I use Ubuntu Linux at home. It' great. It's faster and more stable than Windows, with an intuitive user interface, a powerful command line, and it's free. Linux is no longer considered risky for Enterprise IT. FOSS has come of age.

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