Friday, May 11, 2007

Friday, 5:30 am

The litany of things going wrong continues...

Yesterday I started coming down with something, that "ughk" kind of feeling where there's nothing specificially wrong with you and you certainly wouldn't head off to the doctor. But you feel terrible and achy and yet at the same time, are too wired to just lay around in bed...

...the wired part was probably due to my realization that I am leaving in 20 days and that's not nearly as much time as I thought it was. But doing anything about that is going to have to wait for another day, when I don't feel so lousy.

My computer has begun her slow descent into old age. Or, it was a slow descent and now it is a full-scale freefall. My photo program has eaten all my photos and I have yet to find a fix. That makes it hard to finish my slideshow presentation I was working on for my supporters and churches. And the internet is so blastedly slow. Apple must really think that all their users have high-speed connections. My update is 168 MB. That is, according to my computer's current estimate, 46 hours on the internet. Hours. And if I lose the connection, which happens frequently here, due to cheap dial up services and bad phone lines, I get to start it all over again. Maravilha!

So I'm going to be seeking out a new computer when I get back to the land of cheap technology. And it probably won't be another one of these cute, sleek, Garageband equipped Macs...because the new ones don't come with an internal modem. America-centric, Mr. Jobs!!! Not everyone has wireless...or wants to laptop it with a USB modem hanging off the side.

It's gotten super chilly here pretty much overnight. I woke up this morning to the sound of rain or my invisible but very much present rat friend and thought about my friends on the streets, who must be miserable in this weather. What kind of shame or pride or foolishness or addiction or abuse is strong enough to keep someone living outside on wet cardboard or a filthy mattress, also damp, when they have homes they could go to? Sometimes I criticize them, think about how anything would be better than street life, and then sometimes I have flashes of insight and realize that, no, there are things that are worse.

We're officially living in the Gaza Strip of Rio, according to the Brazilian newspaper "O Globo." Along with about a million other people, which means that pretty much a tenth of the city is in this civil war zone. That's not a strip's the whole Zona Norte! I wish you all could read Portuguese, because some of these articles are really revealing. There were several just about various corruption schemes being cracked this week. The Judas scheme, bringing in considerably more than 30 pieces of silver (try hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars) in which skimming the fees imposed on cars heading up to the Cristo monument supposedly reached the point that only 1 in every 15 cars was actually being reported (and involving pretty much everyone who had any connection with tourism: tour groups, guards, ticket takers, and of course, the cops); and another about a couple of police officers who made a driver pay money for a bogus ticket and then stole his car afterwards...

This is depressing. I'm going to go pray, now that I've been up for over an hour and gotten to see the sunrise for the first time in, oh, six months?!

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