Dat Whiteman

Whiteman: How long has it been since you were last here?
Professor Zero: Nine years.
WM: Do you find it has changed?
PZ: Not greatly. It is different from the early eighties when I first came, and from the mid eighties when the Shining Path activity was intense, but I noticed those changes already in 1999.
WM: You are wrong! We have made great progress since 1999! We have many more hypermarkets, big box stores, U.S. chain restaurants, and other modern franchises! Very many of these have been built. We are really advancing!

I have had this conversation several times over the past few days.

*

Due to an odd set of circumstances I ended up today at a class reunion for the Colegio Militar Leoncio Prado, where Vargas Llosa’s novel La ciudad y los perros is set. This took place at the Fortress Real Felipe in Callao. The foot soldiers, all of whom had strong Native American features, were dressed in 18th century uniforms and they stood nearly immobile at their posts, niches in the fortress wall. They looked like 18th century paintings.

Then I drank a pisco sour at the Naval Club and it was all very surreal.

Axé.

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3 Comments

Filed under Banes, Da Whiteman, News

3 responses to “Dat Whiteman

  1. “We have made great progress since 1999! We have many more hypermarkets, big box stores, U.S. chain restaurants, and other modern franchises! Very many of these have been built. We are really advancing!”

    Oh, that’s so terrible. I keep thinking about multi-national corporate totalitarianism lately (I’m sure there’s a more accurate phrase). For two weeks, this July/Aug, I’m going back to a place that is dear to me, Robin’s Bay, Jamaica. Last time I was there, six years ago, there was nothing at all corporate out there, far in the northeast, about four hours from tourist attractions. There was a researcher staying there at the time who explained IMF to me in great detail, the ways that areas such as this one and the people in them are obliterated.

    I think it was the first time I smelled air the way it’s intended to smell, and my interactions with those in Rosta communities who kindly talked to me in depth about life are among memories that I won’t forget, ever. The owner of the place I’m going worries me now. It was just a campground when I was there before. She, an American, says gushingly, “you won’t believe the progress we’ve made here, we’ve cleared this and that area, and there are new roads and…” I will report back.

  2. Z

    Yes – report back! There are a couple of places in Brazil I am afraid to return to for these reasons – Morro de S. Paulo and Fernando de Noronha …

  3. Z

    P.S. said with pride, waving at a particularly odious commercial street, 100% big box stores and chains, and no trees: “we’re turning into a small Miami, look at that!”

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