First night at Carmindo's

Carmindo is waiting for us in front of the house, white immaculate shirt, shorts and barefoot.  'Dress-code' on the rivers is completely different. Julinho too had gotten rid of his cowboy clothes as we left Porto Jofre and wears shorts and thongs. Me too, only Enrica who is scared to death by the idea of mosquitoes is clothed from head to toe.

Carmindo welcomes me with a big smile and I can't help embracing him, happy that he remembers me from last year. I think it was a nice change for him to have a guest who speaks Portuguese.
I ask about Maria, she is at her daughters home in Poconé, after a month of medical treatment in Cuiabà because of quite bad backbone problems. But he assures me that she is finally coming back home and that I'll meet her.This time their daughter Elizete is at home too. She is the only one that still lives with her parents on the river. Julinho says she didn't marry in order not to leave her parents alone...but maybe she just hasn't found the right person...
She will cook for us in the absence of Maria, so Julinho's 'fears' that he and Carmindo would be bound to cook are blown away. I don't know for Carmindo but J. is quite a good cook and I'm used to help too in anything I can, so it wouldn't have been a problem.
We get our stuff off the boat and the preparation of the camp begins. It's the only moment of frenzy in these trips, you have to be quick because the sun goes down early and especially in this time of the year sudden heavy rainfall is possible.
While Julinho takes care of storing the food (the dried meat has to be hanged on a rope in the backroom of the kitchen), Aldo and Gian help me to pitch our three tents. They are igloos, quite easy to handle, but we have to be careful because the models are the same we are used to in Europe, but the quality of materials is not excellent and breaks easily.
I remember Julinho talking about the relationship  'foreigners' have with material things, he says they are just careless, used to throw away and replace something when it breaks.
That's why he prefers to do a lot of tasks by himself unless he sees that the persons have the right approach to things. 
If something breaks when you are here in this place were there is no possibility of replacing anything it can become a problem.
Carmindos home is made of a central one floor house, part of bricks and part of mud walls, were the family's bed rooms are and a small living room were they watch tv during the few hours in the evening when the generator is turned on to pump water in the tanks. The kitchen is an annex made of wooden planks with a mosquito net as window. The floor is made of pressed and painted mud.
Beside the house there is a wooden church, freshly painted in green. Inside the statues of saints, for whom a candle is lit every morning.
Carmindo explains that their home has always been a reunion point for the small community of people that live on the surrounding rivers. Here they celebrate marriages, baptisms and so on.
Last year one night during a heavy rainfall we had slept inside the church with our tent, Carmindo had wisely left  the church's front door open for us. To avoid this Julinho had bought two big canvases that we hanged over the tents, we would have the opportunity to test the new protection, rainfall was foreseen in the following nights.
Carmindo's dog is cuddled by the Baficos, who live with four dogs in Italy. When I ask Carmindo about the other big dog I had seen last year he says that a jaguar or some other animal must have taken him, one day he simply disappeared. The Baficos were a little startled by this story...
When we finish our work it's already dark and the mosquitoes are quite ferocious. Enrica takes refuge in the tent, followed by Aldo and Gian.
I take a shower in the bathroom in the porch, followed by Julinho and Carmindo. Then we gather in the kitchen, were Elizete has supper almost ready. We talk for a while, then they tell me to call our folks that hadn't put their nose out of the tents anymore.
It's always a lottery, Carmindo is very welcoming and easy with his guests, but when he feels that they are not at ease he gets very embarassed. Julinho, who is visibly very fond of him, tries to bring only persons he thinks will truly appreciate to know how the common people live in the Pantanal, outside of the tourism-circuit, but of course there is no guarantee that it will always work.
Finally I get our family out of the tent and we have supper. Rice with potatoes, beans and dried meat. Delicious, a welcome change after the more sofisticated food of the pousadas. Elizete retreats soon to her room, she has her daily irrevocable appointment with novela.
Carmindo observes discretely our guests, Aldo is a good match, he eats with pleasure everything. Gianluigi too, only Enrica eats very little. Conversation is difficult, they don't understand a word and Carmindo talks and talks, updating Julinho about the events of the river region. I try to translate parts of the conversation, but after a while the Italians go to sleep. We stay there for some time, Julinho is so sleepy that he's almost fainting, but apparently he hasn't the heart to tell Carmindo he has to get some sleep...
Around 9 p.m. we retreat in our tents, it's burning hot but we are so tired that we fall asleep almost instantly.

No comments:

Post a Comment