Saturday, 24 January 2009

Beginnings


I never, ever, ever thought I'd write a blog. Only read it if you want tedious levels of information! Once we settle in I promise not to effuse at such length about every itty bitty detail...

Virgin did not let us down. We made it to Georgetown (via Barbados, Trinidad, the World, the Universe etc) 20 minutes early, 22:45 on 22nd January. Funny, I arrived feeling much more worn out than the November trip, when I had that long morning on the beach in Barbados, courtesy of Virgin-letting-us-down... Weird.

That was a 22-hour day. Oh the joy the bliss of flying straight on to Brazil on 23rd! Ah well, you can sleep when you're dead, as they say.

The welcome in Brickdam was really lovely. Everyone seemed so happy to see me back, and to meet B. It was very heartening. I was so wiped I could hardly stand up- can't remember when I was last that tired. Partly the long day, but partly the build-up from the previous weeks. Haven't slept very well with trying to get everything done (and failing, naturally!).

A real bonus was to find Father Amar there, our soon-to-be-colleague from Aishalton, who had come up to renew his work permit. Not only is he a delight, but he'd driven the whole way in his jeep, and is therefore carrying most of our luggage back! Bliss!!!! B now wants to buy his body weight in extra things to carry. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.

At lunchtime we met up with Paul Martin (British Jesuit, has lived in the Guyanese interior for I think 12 years, kind of a little rugged teddy bear who you could imagine being a great person to have around in a crisis) and Anil Roberts (Amerindian from Annai, worked in Iwokrama rainforest project, now studying fine art in Georgetown, classic handsome long-haired quiet Amerindian-we-all-thought-was-a-bit-too-goodtobetrue-in-Westerns) to fly to Belem do Para for the World Social Forum. AMAZING airline! It's called Meta, they handwrite the baggage labels, the same two staff do everything, and Ihonestly wouldn't have been surprised if the check-in desk guy had turned out to be the pilot. 33-seater, built for people of roughly 5ft 3. B had an interesting journey! It took about 5 hours, with a stop-off in Paramaribo (capital of Suriname) but we couldn't get off. I had packed away all my warm clothes, stooooopid, forgetting how cold it is on flights. Frrrrrreeeeezing.

The welcome in Brazil was good too. My eyes felt like they'd been glued down with velcro though. We're staying in the Belem Casa del Retiro (retreat house), which is a lovely open building with small comfortable beds, only cold water, lots of tiles and concrete and no discernible cockroaches. No mosquito nets either, so B and I reek of Mosiguard. I glue to everything. Hurray for Nosquito clothing. Mind you, it doesn't feel buggy, but B is quite bitten.

We have a little hiatus this morning. B is off walking the town at 900 miles an hour with Paul and Anil. I am here in front of the fan, looking out at the beautiful garden (crunchy underfoot- even after the rain it's not exactly turf) with its palms and tropical flowers, and the prison wall with some desultory barbed wire on top. Thinking of friends in faraway places, trying to imagine what it feels like to sit in grey cold rain (or blazing sunshine) and imagine what it's like here in Belem do Para from my inadequate descriptions. Funny old business, words. We'll get the camera out later today. x

1 comment:

  1. Very surreal to have started your blog with (hopefully) the middle and ended with your beginning. It has been interesting though, I've enjoyed it so far.

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