Of Quasi-infernos and Clownfests Down in the Rém

Weather forecast: hot, dry…with a 0% chance of rain

The driest and hottest two Amazonian months are finally upon us down here in Santarém.  Over the past few weeks there has been an unmistakable trend in the weather…more scorching heat during the day…NO rain at night.  When we arrived back from our trip in late August I’d have to say that I was a bit under whelmed by the climate.  Despite everybody’s dark and terrible predictions of a quasi-inferno, the heat honestly didn’t seem that bad to me.

Boy oh boy…the joke’s on this Gringo now.  Each and every day has felt toastier and more exhausting than the one before it.  I kid you not…it has not rained ONCE over the past month plus. Not even a drizzle.  I keep waiting to wake up to that good ol’ 4 A.M deluge…and I never do.  The weather has definitely been taking a toll on my energy level of late. I find myself sleeping 9-10 hours a night and rolling out of bed tired. I’m not sure if it’s the miles of walking throughout the day, dehydration, or a combination of the two, but what ever it is…it sucks.  Should be doozy in a month’s time…

Nonetheless, I will say that it’s been pretty amazing to see the river recede as rapidly as it has.  The boats that were once anchored a foot below the city’s retainer wall now have to dock a solid 50 yards away because where there was once 15 feet of water there is just sand. While I’d certainly never take a riverfront dip (that’s literally where ALL of Santarém’s waste is deposited…I s*** you not), the new sandy look to the orla has given the city a distinctly different feel.  Here is a comparison of the riverfront a block away from our house in May versus yesterday…amazing…

Four months ago…

And now…

…anybody catch that cheeky little poop joke right there? Nobody?

…well George Dallos just laughed…I’m sure of it…

Clownfest ‘12: Six days to go…and COUNTING…

Hip, hip…HOORAY! We now have less than a week to go until the local political campaign season  (aka Clownfest ’12) finally comes to an end.  I’m not sure what I find more troubling…the fact that the campaigns appear more like a high school student government popularity contest or that these clowns are seriously going to be the next elected representatives of Santarém.  Here are a few observations and thoughts from the latest developments…

  • Coming up with a song apparently gets you votes.  It seems that clever litter jigs are the flavor of the campaign season as just about everybody has one.  Nothing better than hearing really bad forro music blasted into your window at 7 A.M with the names of one jokester after another…
  • As I said a couple of weeks ago, people are legally required to vote.  If somebody doesn’t go to the polls on October 7th, they lose government benefits and are legally forbidden from leaving the municipality. The kicker: if somebody abstains from voting by casting a “No Vote,” their vote literally goes to whatever individual is leading the polls at the time. Pretty absurd. I’m all for encouraging voter turnout…but seriously…COME ON!
  • Most people you talk to seem pretty certain that they are going to support Alexandre Von over Lucinade in the mayoral race…but nobody seems to know why.  Everybody seems to hate the current mayor…but they all say her opponent is just as corrupt (if not more)…lovely options.
  • I have not seen one T.V add for any of the candidates suggesting why they would be a better choice than their opponent. The whole thing is literally a high school popularity contest. There is no debate about each candidates proposals…everybody basically promises more infrastructure, healthcare, and education. REAL original.
  • Watching this process unfold makes me feel positive about the state of American political campaigns (which is crazy…because our political process is totally, utterly, and completely bleeped at the moment).

Belém:

Yup, yup! Next time you hear from me I’ll be in Pará’s glorious state capital. Headed out east next Saturday…can’t believe the trip is already here! Where. Are. The. Weeks. Going?

Other happenings:

  • Big shout out to the Fishguy for smashing his fundraising goal by a solid $1000! Considering the fact that he was at 25% of his target with four days to go, I have no trouble saying I’ve witnessed an Amazonian miracle! For those of you who readers who donated (I know of one…other than me), GO YOU!
  • I downloaded the new Mumford and Sons album “Babel” over the course of two days (internet was on point as always) this week…all I can say is…get it…GET IT NOW! A seriously coming of age work for everybody’s favorite British hipsters…gotta love that folk music!
  • Internet has been pretty consistently terrible all week. I can’t imagine the twice or thrice daily power outages are helping the situation…
  • We discussed Americanisms and Regionalism in our classes this week. It seems our students think that most Americans are fat, doctor pepper drinking, Mac product using gun lovers. What a lovely image of the good ol’ US of A.
  • Met with the director of the Brazil Fulbright Commission earlier today to access the program…fun times.  More on that next week…
  • I would like to wish Jack Andrew Garry Wilshere a happy return to fitness. The finest midfield talent England has produced and the future captain of club and country is finally back after one year out from the game.  As a faithful Gooner…I couldn’t be happier. Arsenal on the up.

That’s all I have for now. The end. Belém…here I come. Until next Monday, you stay classy San Diego.

Amazonically,

Andy

P.S Have a good week!

P.S.S I’m going to upload one of our English Through Music radio programs on YouTube in the next couple of weeks so you all can hear my lovely voice…LOOK OUT FOR THAT!

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