Registration

We wake up late, around 10am. It’s been good to get the sleep. We’re just in time to get the hotel cafe a manha (morning coffee – breakfast) again.

The next thing to do is World Social Forum registration, which opens at noon, so after checking the local Internet news for a while we head off for the UFRA (Universidade Federal Rural da Amazônia) campus for registration. Google Maps tells us it’s only 4 km so we walk.

Avenida Cipriano Santes changes from rundown commercial to favela-quality residential as we go east. A concrete drainage channel down the middle of the street is full of brownish water and occasional clumps of plastic bags and bottles. The rain is falling again, but with the overhead power lines in the typical low sprawl it’s a little nerve-racking to raise an umbrella.

The houses are a mixture of wooden shacks and brick or concrete buildings, looking only one room wide. The brick ones usually have barred and locked gates across the whole frontage. Children watch us curiously as we pass; it’s obvious we’re strangers here.

An Assembléia de Deus (Assembly of God) church, finished in blue and white tile, is securely barred and locked, at noon on a Sunday. Presumably the weekly service is in the evening.

I count five feral cats I’ve seen since I arrived – usually there are only dogs. Perhaps in Belém cats don’t end up as free barbeque for favela dwellers.

At the end of the Avenida cars are jammed up as the end of a queue of pedestrians begins.

After an hour in the queue we get through the University gates. The rain drifts in and out, never really slackening. We are in sight of the gymnasium when a Forum worker, hearing us speak English, summons us through the queue to one of the Inglésa booths, and we’re finally processed. We each get a canvas bag with a newspaper-sized programme of activities.

The rain has stopped and the sun is coming out as we walk back up the Avenida. A group of children have taken over a police tent and are playing table tennis. We play a few rounds each; then their ball breaks. Paul gives them a R$2 coin to buy new balls. It seems like a good investment.

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2 Responses to “Registration”

  1. Another Walker Says:

    Excellent investment!

  2. W. Says:

    Watched 737 landing in Belem on YouTube. Stewardess talking Portuguese I suppose. Never heard it before. Seems very much unlike Spanish. Sounds quite interesting.

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