Sleeping dog, Lavras, Brazil.
What ho Gringo's!
Much like Hampstead, Lavras has it's pro's and con's but political correctness is neither of them. Naturally, we Goldstein's are made of sterner stuff than to let the odd well-intended nickname offend. In fact, I'm rather enjoying being the only Gringo in the village.
The upside to such Brazilian towns, which happen to be stuck somewhere between 1972 and 1978, are obvious. Stupendous weather, a laid back atmosphere, cool looking old cars, great coffee, very quiet Sundays and not a screeching ambulance siren in sight. At least 90% of the population don't even use a mobile phone... how very lovely. Oh for the days when Hampstead had Sundays. Real, quiet Sundays with nothing but one or two coffee shops open for raisin toast and one old man walking his dog.
Yes, on Sundays here in Lavras, jovial woofing dogs like the above pictured happily sleep the day away in the Plaça Augustus Silva without a care in the world, let alone an old man. No old men required, you might say. It's enough to make any old Hampstonian overflow with cheerfulness and contentment.
But it's not all honey and roses in small-town Brazil. Remember, there were no catalytic converters in 1978 and thus it is in Lavras [on non-Sundays] that plumes of black smoke - a lá un-serviced London Taxi - do suddenly force themselves upon unsuspecting pedestrians. Most unpleasant. Indeed, compared to this, a lung-full of the old Hampstead breathing matter seems positively Swiss mountain-ish in comparison. And although they have no screeching sirens, there's noise pollution a plenty with mega-boom-boxes blasting out God knows what at all times of day and night from a multitude of VW Beetles and rather cool looking, Starsky & Hutch-ish Chevrolets.
Meanwhile, back in Hampstead with 40 days and 40 nights of rain apparently availing themselves upon the old Stead, I'm quite happy to put up with the odd bus farting in my face and loud automobile stereos.
Dearest Hampstonians, I shall bring the old Current Bun back to Hampers with me upon my return but, alas, can't guarantee when that will be, if at all, ever.
Toodle pip and may the blessing of Lord Gainsborough be with you!
Emmanuel Mustafa Goldstein x
AWOL Editor in exile.
26ºC Ta very much.