I have to say that I love the rainy season. It doesn't rain all day, but the rain is so refreshing when it comes. It heats up all day and then BAM it pours around midday, just like when I was in Puebla, Mexico in 2007. The rain brings a nice chill and cools off everything until the following day around 10 or so when it starts to heat up all over again. However, with the rain, comes all sorts of other problems. Mud. Flooding. Mold. New bugs. Mosquitos à vontade. And it actually gets COLD. Well, cold to my newly adjusted Brazilian circulatory system. I find myself in long sleeves and sweaters almost every single night. I LOVE IT. We don't spend money to run the A/C unit but we do spend money on our electric showerhead. And yes, it was terrifying for me as well to know that there was an electrical apparatus above my head that was shooting out water, while I was standing in water... but hey, life is more interesting when you live on the wild side, right?
With the rainy season also comes the POTHOLE season! This year is the absolute worst since there is a huge hydroelectric plant project in Porto Velho ( about 5 hours from us ) and all of the giant pieces of the turbines and such are being transported on our sad little BR-364, the only highway that connects this half of Brazil to the other half. For the majority of the road, it's only one lane. One each way. There are spots where it turns into two lanes, but this is only near big cities. This year the road has crumbled to bits. You can find all sorts of protest groups on Facebook and the web about how this road needs to be urgently fixed and they are not exaggerating. The other day we went to the farm and there was one curve where you couldn't figure out which way anyone was going since they were swerving everywhere. Semis, trucks, cars, motorcycles, bikes, everything on wheels was all over the road. Everyone was basically going 2 miles per hour trying to avoid the bumps. I found this image online and I thought it was hysterical, but so true. (And FYI, the majority of Rondonia does NOT look like this dry, sad, treeless landscape. The majority of it, at least where we are, is beautiful, lush and gorgeous! This photo is just infront of an old clear-cut style farm which, as we all know, destroys everything.)
|It says: |
Abort mission! You are in Brazil in the state of Rondonia!
The base looks like the moon but it's BR364. Repeat. This is not the moon. Over.
The rain has eaten away at the terribly thin pavement and on top of that, the huge, heavy parts of the turbines have completely destroyed the road. Humberto and I have stopped going to the farm every weekend simply because there are so many accidents on the highway. People just lose control, their tires burst or simply crash since there is no way to drive on one side of the road. At night it's completely impossible.
Finally, the issue is getting national coverage on the largest (and practically only) national news show, Journal Nacional. Even if you don't understand Portuguese, just watch the link to see the situation. The worst part is between Presidente Medici, which is the city just to the south of us (my in-law's farm is just before the small town).
There is talk about how much money has been and is going to be spent to renovate this super important road (since the majority of Brazil's soy export, which comes from Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul, travels this road before it is exported to China and other countries). However, as in almost any case in Brazil, the numbers don't always mean there is some type of result, as most of the money is eaten by politicians and friends of politicians. According to Globo, DNIT (The National Department for Infrastructure and Transportation) has invested 92 MILLION REAIS in this highway over the last three years. There are parts of the road where you can see the results of this investment... nicely paved beautiful two lane each way US-style highways, however, these are in the MINORITY. That is a TON of money. Where is it going? I'm pretty sure I have a good idea.