Archive | August, 2010

Plane crashes, gets struck by lightning, breaks into three parts, one man dies from a heart attack

18 Aug

This is the story of a plane crash that happened in Bogota, Colombia this Monday just gone. The plane was 80 metres from the ground, attempting to land during an electrical storm, when it got struck by lightning, split in half, later breaking again into three parts, yet managed to stay on the runway. There was only one casualty, a 68-year old, Amar Fernandez de Barreto, who had a heart attack as he was being taken to hospital. 119 people were taken to hospital but not one with a serious injury. This is the description of the landing from one of the newspapers:

The aircraft skidded on its belly with its fuselage fracturing, its landing gear and at least one engine ripping off after attempting to land in a severe thunderstorm.

And this is a quote from one of the passengers of the incident:

“The pilot informed us we were going to land in San Andres, we buckled our seat belts, settled in – and a second later, boom! A big bang. When my wife and I stood and looked behind us the back of the plane was missing.”

This is a picture of the plane following the crash:

The pilot has been deemed something of a hero for this, managing to keep the plane steady and on the right track despite the electrical storm, the supposedly high winds, the lightning strike and the fact that the plane was in three pieces on the runway. It’s the kind of plane crash you wouldn’t mind being involved in. It would definitely make a good story for the grandkids!

More from this story can be read at Mercopress here.

How many more ways can I find not to work

12 Aug

Okay, so as I’ve mentioned before I am trying to live the same life as I did when I was travelling, which is of working as a freelance web designer and also of not tying myself to one place, or at least not for a lengthy period of time. This has proven a lot more difficult as my month spent in London proved one of the most expensive of my life (it’s impossible to live on a budget in that place) and meant that I will at some point have to step up the need to actually find regular income. In the meantime though I have managed to find plenty more ways in which to keep busy without getting paid. This has involved writing for PopMatter and Drowned In Sounds, as well as my regular contributions to Sounds and Colours. I have only recently begun contributing to these two sites but am trying to use them as a different means of writing about artists from South America, as well as to get free CDs and go to free concerts for other things. I recently realised that you can view all the work I’ve written on these sites in one place, and so thought I would share you the links, despite the fact that I’ve only written occasionally for both these sites:

My profile at PopMatter

And my profile at Drowned In Sounds

One of the articles I wrote for Drowned In Sound has now been translated into Portuguese by some Brazilian blogger, which can’t be a bad thing!

“Um cafe e uma nata”

11 Aug

This is possibly my most-spoken phrase in Porto. It translates as ‘a coffee and a cream’ which doesn’t really make much sense until you find out that “uma nata” is the short-hand version of “pastel da nata” or cream tart in our vernacular. It’s probably the best thing about Portugal, mainly because it is unbelievably delicious and there doesn’t seem to be any maximum quantity of them that you can eat in one day, but also because they cost next to nothing. Well they cost about 40 cents to be exact, which along with a 50 cent coffee means I don’t even need to spend more than an Euro for this little duo.

Which also brings me onto one of the other things I have been enjoying about Porto, and that is that it is surprisingly cheap. A decent bottle of wine can be bought for one and a half Euros, that includes white wine, red wine, and my new favourite, green wine. An unbelievable bottle of wine can then be bought for 3 or 4 Euros which is about the same as a litre bottle of beer. Which basically translates into the fact that I’m drinking a lot more wine these days. Port has had to take a back seat as unfortunately the weather has been far too hot to even think about drinking a glass. Which is where green wine comes in, pretty much the most refreshing of all the wines I’ve ever tasted. Up there with the glory of white zinfandel for a summer’s evening.

Another way in which Porto wins in the money-saving stakes is its love for staging free events over the summer. On Sunday I went to see live jazz in the park which sounds like something my gran would tell me was going on but was actually especially good, with a free jazz trio from Cape Verde and Cuba freaking the hell out as everyone lay around the stage smoking grass and drinking beer. Very nice. There’s also free Brazilian music at another park that I haven’t got round to checking out yet, and also free cinema at the History Museum, though as at the moment the only film they’re showing is A Night at the Museum I haven’t bothered going to yet. However, it’s always nice to have some cheap options, and when they are free well it just doesn’t really get any better!

Street Art in Porto

11 Aug

I wouldn’t say that the street art in Porto is as impressive as in Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, but there is plenty going on, and some really nice ideas. Here are a few of the really nice pieces that I’ve seen.

These are by Costah, part of his ‘icons’ series:



These are by Ricardo Días, and are part of his 1000 Tsuri project which will see him paint 1,000 of these cranes around Porto as a sign of rebirth

1000 Tsuri project - #677 (Rua do Almada)

1000 Tsuri project - #677 (duplicate) (Rua do Almada)

And finally this by a guy called Best Ever who might not actually be from Porto, despite leaving quite a few marks on the city.

Out and about in Porto

5 Aug

I figured it was about time I did my tourist thing and got out with my camera here in Porto. So far I have made it a habit of having a general walk-around, scoping out the area, which almost always leads up to sitting in a cafe drinking coffee, then beer, then having a bit of cake, then going home to have a rest. Anyway, this time I did it proper. These are a few of the sites in Porto:

Clerigos Tower – this was originally the tallest structure in Portugal, but that was in 1763 and a lot has happened since then

Kids playing in pool opposite the city hall

Livraria Lello – possibly the oldest bookshop in the world, although I might be making this up

Walking up the hill to Clerigos Tower – the tower used to look over the whole of Porto, acting as a guide for sailors

Couple of old guys passing the day outside one of the many churches in the city. This one was Igreja do Carmo

Another church – Igreja do Trindade

The return of Black Death

5 Aug

Well, it’s not really Black Death but it’s almost there. I just felt like I needed to keep the grizzly stories coming, and guess what, whenever I’m checking the news I keep finding more and more of them.

This is the story that the bubonic plague has come to Peru, killing one and up to 30 infected. I thought the plague had long died out, but it turns out not. The disease, which is caused by fleas infecting rodents which then pass on the disease through their saliva, was last seen in Peru in 1994 when it left 35 people dead. You would hope this means that they are more prepared this time.

The full story can be read in the Latin American Herald Tribune here.

A day’s harvest

3 Aug

Hey, just wanted to publish this photo of yesterday’s harvest:

One of the best things about this place is the amount of fruit and herbs growing in the garden. Every couple of days I am able to get a punnet of fruit together like this one as well as plenty of herbs. In the basket on this occasion were:

  • Blackberries
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Yellow raspberries
  • Kumquats

And sitting right next to them are arugula and there is some parsley, basil and chives knocking about there somewhere too I believe.

The horrific case of Brazilian goalkeeper Bruno Souza

3 Aug

In what’s becoming something of a regular feature I am taking a look at another horrendous murder case in Brazil. This time it is the turn of Bruno Fernandes de Souza (generally shortened to Bruno Souza) who has now been charged for the murder of his new baby’s mother, Eliza Silva Samudio. She had slept with Bruno Souza at an orgy over a year ago. Amongst protestations from Bruno and his family she decided to have the child. Bruno had been married to another woman during this whole episode. Three months after the baby was born Eliza Samudio disappeared and slowly the story has begun to unravel that she was kidnapped by Bruno and his family, including his wife, and taken to their home near Belo Horizonte. Claims are that she was strangled to death, then chopped up and fed to the dogs. Police still have found no trace of the body yet are certain of the circumstances of the case, as noted in AFP’s report of the case.

“Forensic police will prove that Eliza is dead,” the officer in charge of the investigation, Edson Moreira, said. He added that inquiries were continuing to bolster evidence and attempt to find the body. Seven other people, including an ex-policeman suspected of carrying out the premeditated murder on Souza’s orders, have also been charged. Souza’s wife was among them.

This has been one of the most shocking news stories in Brazil for quite a while. Mainly due to the fact that Bruno Souza was a huge public figure thanks to being the number one for Flamengo, a team that won the Brazilian championship as recently as 2009. He had also at times been the captain of the side, one of the most heavily-supported teams in Brazil. It would be the equivalent of Peter Cech or Edwin Van Der Sar getting arrested for murder if it happened in England!

Porto House-Sitting Begins

1 Aug

My house sitting assignment has finally begun proper. The little dog-rat has been taken by one of the owner’s friends, which leaves me with the job of looking after just Neil the Alsatian and the plants, both pictured here:

Yesterday was my first day of watering the plants. It took about 2 hours. I think this is going to have to improve slightly. Problem is that it’s just too hot here, everything needs a lot of water every day just to survive.

One of the great things about staying at this place is the room I’m staying. It was originally the cinema room but they’ve taken the projector away – I can only presume they think I’ll destroy it with my fat hands. Still, it’s probably the biggest room I’ve ever stayed in and happens to be pretty damn blissful in the evening when I can get the balcony open, as per this here picture:

Now I just want one more picture of Neil, a dog that is so unbelievably friendly that when you get near him he jumps on you, smashing your ribs with his huge paws while pretending to bite your hands. I can probably understand why some people are a bit scared of him. He is really though one of the softest dogs I’ve come across.