Thursday, January 14, 2010

Santarem, Part 3

As a City Daily Photo blogger and as an Amizade volunteer, today I have included a few pictures intended to give a glimpse into commercial aspect of Santarem, Brazil. The top photo which lacks a focal point, actually is typical of shopping along busier outlying streets. There are vendors and small stores selling just about every food and household good and service imagineable. Here a man offers fresh fruit juices, and behind him, a butcher has meat for sale. For obvious reasons, I avoid sampling any foods, however delectable they may appear, which most likely will bring about unpleasant intestinal consequences.
The second photo was taken inside a modern downtown department store. My intent is not show architecture but to help understand what items cost. Today, the exchange is 162 Brazilian Reals, pronounced( he-eyes) to the dollar. This means that "Made in China" remote control "must-have for Christmas" toy costs Mama and Papa $163.00 or 1/4 of an average monthly salary. I saw cartoon- covered, better quality school backpacks for over $100.00, although cheaper ones for 30 R's can be found in smaller shops. I don't understand why such imported items are so expensive, but inflation has been terrible here and certainly has outdistanced wages.
The third picture is a hoot. Behind the wall is the Eros Motel, where rooms are rented by the hour. Where homes lack privacy, young lovers are without cars, and husbands wish to "lunch" with their secretary, places with names such as "Intimus" and "Hippopatumus" abound. Drive in, lock the gate, pay and no questions are asked. Many an unsuspecting tourist, unfamiliar with Brazialian custom, and exhausted after a long bumpy bus ride, ask where they might get a good night sleep at the nearby motel!
Last is a narrow business street in the old downtown. Although most commercial streets are wider, this photo is a typical scene. Parking is terrible, trucks, buses, taxis and motorcycles whiz by pell-mell making driving a continual peril. By the way, do any of you believe anyone here stops for pedestrians? I'd like a show of hands.


  1. It's always amazing to come face to face with such a totally different culture! I really enjoyed your post today -- well, everyday actually, but it is fun seeing other cultures through the eyes of someone else. Someone to whom that particular culture is new and different. Ah, we learn something everyday, don't we? Well, if we open our eyes! Have a great weekend in your new world!


  2. Fascinating, Lee. I'd not purchase any food in those shops, either...and would stick to bottled water.

    Eros is a hoot!

    And no, pedestrians, I'm sure, are considered fair game!

  3. It was all very interesting. The last photo is sort of what I was looking for, but it's actually more "upscale" than your comments had led me to imagine. I remember what some of the streets looked like in Manaus.

  4. Very interesting and neat shots. good commentary on what is shown.

    very funny about the Motel names. LOL

    Hit and run--I would imagine. MB

  5. Prices are amazing! I guess maybe if we didn't import such a massive quantity from China, we'd be paying higher prices, too. Perhaps, our debt to China would be lower, as well. Love the photos!

  6. Ever since last night, I've been trying to come up with something unbelievably brilliant and witty to say about that "Eros Motel" picture and your description of it. You know...something truly worthy of the subject matter. I'm afraid it just isn't happening, though. About all I can say is that they aren't too subtle with those motel names, are they?

    I did have fun imagining a really exhausted but dumb tourist trying to get a good night's sleep in one of those places, especially if the walls are as thin as I think they are.

  7. haha..I seen this in Puerto the country part;) When travelling with friends I met there we stayed in some..interesting!