By Oliver Bazely, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO - A little over 100 years ago, Barra da Tijuca - the long, thin strip of beachfront land to the west of Rio de Janeiro - was a land of swamps, lagoons and sugar plantations. There was little sign of the impending wave of urbanization, and land ownership was being contested between banks, railway companies and landowners. Eventually the land rights fell into the hands of the federal authorities, who started to lay the foundations of the modern, North American-indebted neighborhood we know today; loved by some, maligned by others, but home to some . . .