Experiences of a Dutchman living in Belo Horizonte, since December 2004, from month to month.
October 2005: Natural noises by insects, and meeting a longtime friend again.
The bairro (district) of Jaraguá
October is a very noisy month in Belo Horizonte and far beyond. Roughly speaking for over a month one can enjoy a pandemonium of noises, from early morning until late at night, which makes you think of sirens from factories or barracks. You cannot hide yourself from these natural noises, because they are not man-made sounds. The noise is made by cicadas, which crawl out of from the soil in spring, quickly secure their reproduction and die singing. It is a horrific song of dying cicadas. Very dramatic! For foreign tourists, this kind of noise must be overwhelming; the noise that crickets produce during Dutch summer nights sounds really soft, compared to the noise of these oversized cicadas. “You get used to it with time “, a befriended professor assured me. He already has this experience since he has been living in Brazil for more than eight years now.
Mamão, better known as papaya, for breakfast
Apart from these natural noises, October was a relatively quiet month for me. During the day I was at the university; every Friday night I joined the students for their Friday night drinks; during the weekends I joined the meetings and parties of Marina and her friends. You almost might suspect me having a relationship with Marina, but that never happened. We always treated each other as friends and we still maintain good contact with each other. Talking about longtime friendships… On a certain day in November, I received a message from a Brazilian friend from the very first hour. She was my first Brazilian friend by internet, and years later I met her in Holland. Claudia is from Macapá, a tropical city in the north of Brazil, at the mouth of the Amazon River, located exactly on the equator.
Claudia was only eighteen when we got to know each other by Internet. Not much later, she met a German man and she followed him to Germany. I met her and her German boyfriend in 2003, for the first time. It was a nice meeting. Now she was in Belo Horizonte for a very short time, visiting her relatives. We met each other in the shopping mall in the center of Belo Horizonte. She was accompanied by one of her cousins. This cousin was very shy; she certainly was not accustomed to meet non-Brazilians. Claudia chatted happily, and she invited me to visit her in Vila Velha, where she was living for a while, with her younger sister. We were about to meet each other again, but due to family circumstances she had to return to Macapá at once.
An apartment complex under construction
(still under construction, three years later..)
At the end of the month I was invited to a Brazilian Halloween party at a sítio. A guarantee for a lot of fun and lots of beer. Even Brazilians do not despise cold beer. I had no Halloween outfit, but they arranged something for me. I was dressed in black and white, with white and black makeup. The drive to the sítio almost took one hour. When we arrived at the sítio, the party was already in full swing. It was not a party just for adults: also the children were heavily involved. Do not think about that Brazilian children properly go to bed on time. It is quite common that they stay with the family to watch television even after midnight. The children attend school either in the early morning or after lunch. Those who go to school in the morning, of course, they go to bed early, because their classes start at seven in the morning! At this Halloween party black music was played, followed by electronic music as requested by the youngsters. The elderly did not detest the electronic music, but happily continued on the dance floor, perhaps driven by the increasing amount of alcohol in their veins….
By Dr. Adriano Antoine Robbesom