My friend Dan has asked me before if a new adventure in my life is a new sentence, paragraph, chapter or book. I think this reiteration has to be a new book, but likely the last of a great series. Our family has had an awesome sequence of international school posts beginning in Singapore in 2000 and moving westward every 5 or so years to Kathmandu and Tunis. We are finally back in the Americas, in Brazil, getting a grip on the antipodal way of life. I frequently say to Allan, “So this is what Brazil is like.” It’s been almost a year and a half now, but we still feel amazed most days.
We are specifically in Brasilia, the capitol. It is confusing what Brasilia is. See, in the 1950s, the Brazilian government decided to move the capitol from Rio de Janeiro along with a significant portion of the population. It was a bit like the Westward Expansion in the United States. A location was chosen on the central plateau in a biome of shrubby pines and red dirt. They dammed a river to form a giant lake and built a purpose-designed “modern” city, in the shape of an airplane, with exorbitant expanses of green space, economical and convenient housing blocks, and public buildings designed by Oscar Niemeyer that would signal to the world that Brazil was progressive and optimistic. It is honestly a wonderful place to live. At 3,000 ft. elevation, it has a mild sub-tropical climate with year-around temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees. Half of the year is rainy and the rest is dry. Compared to the coastal cities, Brasilia is very safe. It is also healthy with clean air, miles of bike lanes, and water sports on the lake.
That’s about all I’m going to explain for now. I hope to start showing this experience as one eats an elephant: one bite at a time. Just in closing, the header photo was last weekend at the Pantanal, a delta of the Amazon and the world’s largest wetland. My clever get-up was chosen to stay cool and dry while trying to keep chiggers from invading my skin. We spent hours each morning and evening on a boat taking in an incredible number of birds and constantly scouting for a jaguar- no show. Behind me is actually an inlet of the river completely covered by flowering lilly pads. So this is a little of what Brazil is like. More to come.