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.