Toys for the Copper Mine

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Did you you ever happen to notice that whenever there’s a “major news story,” two things will always happen afterwards. First , someone will buy the idea and make a movie out of it (I hear they’re making one about “Los 33,” with Antonio Banderas playing the lead). The second thing they always try do is make some kind of toy out of the event. I was reading the comment section for the mens Wolf print t-shirts on Amazon, when Amazon ‘suggested’ the Chilean Mine Rescue toy set to me.

I was intrigued enough to buy it because of a couple of things. Two of the figures happen to look like a couple of my actual co-workers, Cristobal and Vincente (dos de los mineros más perezosos en Chile). The toy set also includes the “wives and mistresses”  and “El Presidente with hugging action.” You don’t see that as a feature on many toys.
I ordered one toy set for myself, of course. Amazon will deliver anywhere.

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Barra da Tijuca’s Forgotten Skyscraper

Sitting here, forgotten, at the bottom of ol’ San José, you develop a connection or a kind of kinship with all the other forgotten things in the world. For instance, the forgotten skyscraper of Barra da Tijuca.  I’d never even heard of it before, until fate brought us together in Brazil back around 2004. I’d been traveling for many days, the world just a blur out the window, when the bus stopped for awhile in a city called Barra da Tijuca. I couldn’t help but notice the two round skyscrapers standing side by side across the highway. They were identical, except one building was surrounded by cars and the apartment patios were full of activity. It was obvious people lived there, and yet, sitting just yards away, its giant twin sat. Dull, lifeless, and totally empty.

I ordered a cafezinho (which is Brazilian Portuguese for “a little coffee”) from one of the many street vendors. Sipping the sweet black coffee, I asked the vendor about the empy building. He said it was called the “Torre Abraham Lincoln” and has sat empty since construction was halted in 1972. The other tower, the one with people living in it, was called, “Torre Charles de Gaule”. They were the two tallest skyscraper’s in Barras.

They were originally part of a plan to build 76 circular buildings across the city, each named after an influential person. The idea was to preserve as much natural area as possible, while providing homes for a rapidly growing population. But problems arose, scandals came to light and soon the project was reduced to three towers. Two towers were in built in Barras, while the third was finally built in Rio de Janeiro. They named it “Torre Ernest Hemingway,” and is only open to the rich people of Brazil. The vendor says the local’s call the empty building “The Forgotten Skyscraper.” When new plans for the old building are announced, they quickly fade away and are forgotten.

So here we are, many years later. The Torre Abraham Lincoln still sits (I checked using google map, and it’s still there). Forgotten and alone. I can relate to that.

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Ole #34 makes the news again!

Word is getting around. Though it was six months ago, and only on “Aljazeera”, the say any news is good news!

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Unfortunately, it’s only an article about “Los 33” and the troubled, stress-filled lives they have suffered since being rescued. In the interview, one of them says, as he struggles to hold back his tears, “I feel sad and confused since coming back.”

“Oh gosh! Poor fellow!” said the guy trapped in the mine sarcastically.

I am Miner #34 and I’ll be your tour guide

Welcome to my page! I’ll be your guide to a whole new world. Grab some work clothes off the shelves, put on a hard hat and grab a flashlight. When you’re ready, climb on board the mine elevator. 

Hold on tight! This could take a while!