23 June 2014

More Blog Updates

Today, I'm going to turn away from All-Soccer-All-the-Time news, and bring you some more updates on our ongoing dramas, both personal and non. But don't be too disappointed, all you soccer fans, it's going to be a long month!

Forbidden Fruits (October 22, 2012)

To my utmost despair, I found yet another fruit to add to my long, long list of prohibited ones: jaca (jackfruit). Our cleaning lady thoughtfully brought us a container full, all cleaned and ready to eat. It smelled divine, it tasted heavenly! Then, in just a few minutes, came that unmistakable tingling in my lips, that swelling around my eyes and in my fingers, and the slow and steady closing of my airways. I hadn’t eaten much, just one piece, so I drank lots of water, lay down and deep-breathed my way through it. The allergic reaction fizzled. Then I hit Google, where I learned that jackfruit is famous for the sticky substance in its center: latex, for goodness sake! The worst thing possible for a girl with the rare latex-fruit syndrome.

Closing the Stable Door After The Horse Has Bolted (February 11, 2013)

Facade of the disco today
Over a year after the devastating fire in the southern Brazilian disco Kiss, in which 242 young people died and hundreds more were injured, most Brazilians can tick off every single factor that contributed to the disaster: the disco was overcrowded, the musicians used pyrotechnic flares in a closed space with flammable, toxic materials, windows were boarded from the outside, doors were bolted from the inside, and the fire department had never properly inspected the place. Over a year now, and not one single person responsible for this crime has been convicted. Those who were indicted (club owners, musicians) are awaiting judgment in the comfort of their own homes, not in jail. And that judgment will take years, with several pending cases making their slow progress through the courts. Impunity reigns, at least for the time being.

Paradise Lost
(April 22, 2013)

In the months that followed our filing of a criminal complaint against our neighbor, who had turned his property into a wild party rental house, he finally did the right thing. Out went the party renters, and in came nice, quiet, mostly mature guests for his brand new, chic and expensive pousada. Things had improved so much that Mark and I had kind of forgotten we had ever made a complaint. So you can imagine our astonishment when we were summoned a few weeks ago to appear in court for an audiência, a face-off with our neighbor. After all, one year and one month had passed. We thought the complaint had just disappeared. But off we went for our day in court. The other side didn’t show up. We had a nice chat anyway with a conciliadora, or mediator. We were told we couldn't drop the charges (because they were criminal, not civil) but we were able to tell her that we had no reason to continue. We don’t want any money damages awarded, we just want to continue to live in peace. It’s now up to the Public Prosecutor to drop the case or not.

The 20¢ Revolution (July 22, 2013)

It’s been nearly a year now and Brazil is still seething with strikes and protest marches. Initially, these marches were organized to protest the rise in bus fares, but they quickly turned into an indictment against the government’s obscenely wasteful spending on World Cup preparations. Unfortunately, the peaceful marches have been infiltrated by masked vandals, who have used the crowds as cover to smash up banks, burn buses, and tear down public property. Then there’s the theory that by going on strike now, in the midst of the World Cup, the strikers will get what they want. So who’s currently been going on and off strike around the country? Just teachers, bank guards, bus drivers, workers in the subways, the bus stations, the airports, hospital staff, civil servants . . . the list is endless. What a mess.

"We’re on strike"


The Vacant Lot’s Not Vacant Anymore (September 16, 2013)

Ever since the forest next door to us was torn out and the earth excavated, we’ve been waiting to see a beautiful beach house rise up before our eyes. But here we are, one year later, and nothing’s happened since construction work stopped last September.

The site in September 2013

The site in May 2014

It hasn’t taken long for the woods to grow back. It hasn’t taken long for the rains to wash much of the earth down to the beach. But the biggest problem has unfortunately been on our side of the wall. Without the earth needed to sustain our wall and the staircase that runs alongside it, the wall began to crack and the stairs began to break up and sink into — well, we don’t want to think about where they might sink.

The owner/architect of the project has, to his credit, been responsive to our concerns and has filled some earth in between our two properties. He’s also had some plants put in (to secure the earth? to hide the construction site?) We’re not altogether happy with these bandaids, so here we are, having a major repair job done to maintain the integrity of our wall, our stairs, our property.

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