December 13th, 2013 - 9:01 pm § in Lifestyle

Porto Velho

In Rondonia’s capital city of Porto Velho, steamy and swollen now with a population of 450,000, there are people who tell of a time not far back when the jungle tightly girded what was then a lightly populated outpost on the frontier. The place lay fast by the Madeira River, a wide and brown tributary of the Amazon with the promise of gold in its sands. Few made their way to Porto Velho then, because access by road was virtually nonexistent.


But then a road was scraped through the length of the state, eventually linking P6rto Velho with Cuiaba, the capital of Mato Grosso state. An ambitious highway through the Amazon, it is called BR-364. At first the 900-mile road was dirt, so when the tropical rains came each year, starting in September, it all went to thick red mud.

Still, the mass movement of people to Rondonia began in those years of the early 1970s; by 1984, when the paving of BR-364 was completed, the migration was turned to full throttle. There has been nothing like it since the rush to the American West by settlers.


The damage to the environment has been severe. As much as 20 percent of the rain for­est may have been destroyed. Socially Rondo­nia has mirrored the excesses of other frontier openings: the undercurrent of lawlessness, the greedy exuberance of pay day loans online entrepreneurs, the guzzling, giggling night music of debauchery, and a haphazard life-style gripped by uncertainty.


And, of course, there are Indian players in this frontier drama. They are being pushed into corners, sometimes murdered.


In a haze of dust at sunset a mule-drawn cart joins traffic on the 300-foot-wide main street of Rolim de Moura, a rowdy town named for an 18th-century Portu­guese governor. Trucks laden with logs and lumber roar along this route as they service surrounding mills. Wood prod­ucts make up more than 60 percent of Rond6nia’s industrial yield.

November 18th, 2013 - 9:41 am § in Lifestyle, Travelling, Uncategorized

Coastal California

Today Mildura is one of the handsomest provincial cities in Victoria. Most of Aus­tralia’s inland towns have a deadly similarity —a broad main street divided down the center by a planted area, and a crosshatch of uninteresting side streets. Mildura, however, is a lovely garden ablaze with f[...]

September 29th, 2013 - 9:10 am § in Travelling

A plan to save Venice?

They evaporate quickly as the cold air descends, warms, and acceler­ates into invisible gusts that pummel the coast and churn the Adriatic. The boras are formidable breezes. They deform what few trees can grow where they blow. Villagers sometimes put rocks on their roofs to keep the shingles on. Sp[...]

August 1st, 2013 - 6:30 am § in Travelling

Fire—fierce and natural—serves the land and its life

ONCE MAN SAW complete fire suppression as a desirable goal. “People hate fires be­cause they burn their houses down,” Aransas biologist Steve Labuda told us. “But with total suppression, combined with overgrazing, Mexican ground squirrels were wiped out, and the Attwater’s g[...]

June 13th, 2013 - 6:39 pm § in Lifestyle, Travelling

Slovaks work hard and eat good

“My family came as bor­der guards about 170 years ago,” said an artist in Kovaica. They were Slovaks. In another town a man told me his forebears were Ru­thenians, from what is now the Soviet Ukraine. Austria also settled Germans in this region, called Vojvodina. Hungarians already wer[...]

May 7th, 2013 - 4:53 pm § in Travelling

His geographical labours

It is worthy of note that on Bellin’s map of 1749(?) Bering island is crossed by the 56th parallel of latitude, and that along the southern edge of the Arctic ocean is a route track, marked Voyage fait par Mer en 1648 par 3 vaisseaux Russiens dont un est parvenu a la Kamtschatka.” On de [...]

July 5th, 2012 - 7:51 pm § in Lifestyle

Strategies for a normal Wedding

Relationship may be the holy unification with two people, recognized by legislation, this binds these questions life-long affectionate companionship. Expressing the rest of your existence having another person is actually a lovely knowledge. However, like several romance, a spousal relationship need[...]