Belém really is a fun city. It is very special to live here. Nice, friendly people, a rich history, beautiful areas, and of course it is the Gateway to the Amazon. The most famous rainforest of the world. And being a rain forest, and situated at its periphery, Belém catches a heavy rain, every now and then. Well every now and then, should be translated in daily. Belém is famous for its 2-O’Clock Rains, every afternoon. You are even reminded at this tourist attraction when arriving at the airport. A large billboard tells you proudly, you have arrived in the “2-O’clock Rain City”.
Although climate change has frustrated the “rain clock”, as it is falling now at every hour of the day. No daily ritual any more. In the past it was custom, when somebody made an appointment, business or casual, that you asked him not the hour he planned to arrive, that was not done, but whether he should come before or after the rain. That was the daily scheduling. Again, as I said, the routine has changed, the climate change also shuffled the daily life of the Paraense. In these days it is impossible to plan according to the rainfall. Even worse, it is summertime, which, in general, means here that it is the dry season. But large and heavy rains fall daily and often at night.
Life is changing.
But every day life in Belém comes to a standstill after a downpour.
Last week it took just 45 minutes of heavy rain over Belém at the beginning of the night, and the drains clogged which caused many points of flooding in the city.
At the entry to Avenida Pedro Alvares Cabral, just after the viaduct of Avenida Julius Caesar a city bus stopped in the middle of a puddle on the way down the viaduct.
For some it is business time. In several areas youngsters pick up license plates which came loose of the cars “swimming’ in the downpour. “The owners of the cars come back after the rain looking for their plates and in general give us in return some BRL 5.00 to BRL 10.00 when we give the license plates to them”, explained one of the youngsters his activity.
At the corner of Avenida Duque de Caxias with Perebebuí “a river” was formed with the accumulated water, forcing drivers to drive carefully to not damage their engines. Nevertheless, there was at least one passenger car which came to a halt. The driver and passengers had a bad time to reverse the situation, while other cars, including a police car, waited for the water level to go down a bit to move on. In front of the Hangar, the Convention Centre of the Amazon, at the corner with Duque and Dr. Freitas, the drains clogged and caused a huge flooding. This also happened at Doca de Souza Franco, and many other roads in the city.
In addition to slow traffic at the exit road of Belém, along Avenida Almirante Barroso, the Avenida Augusto Montenegro, near the Junction, suffered from the accumulation of stagnant water.
There are reports that when it rains hard, the people waiting at the bus stop have to climb on the iron banks, to not to get wet, but they end up getting wet anyway because when the buses arrive, they splash a fountain of water in the direction of the passengers waiting or the passengers have to walk through high water to get on the bus.
Of course for the children it is fun these downpours, as they traditionally take their shower in the rain. But as the streets are flooding, for the people in the street, who have to work for a living, it is a frustration. Irritation might be a better word, as they know that no local authority will get off its ass to solve the problem of the flooded streets.
Apparently local authorities can’t commit themselves to the “small” daily problems of the people. They are high on large and great urban projects, not simple solutions for the daily flooding of the streets.
May I show some photographs of what the ordinary people in the street have to endure during a rainfall, which, again, is a daily occurrence. A daily suffering with flooded streets.
Enjoy the fun of living in the Metropolitan Area of Belém do Pará.