Monday, September 01, 2008
Lake Maria, continued
As summer dries everything out, Lake Maria is showing its bottom side (smile). For those readers joining us more recently, the so-called "lake" is a low-land area that turned into a swamp about a year ago. The main road going to Bosque Santa Lúcia and some communities beyond passes right through the middle of the mud hole that takes on gigantic proportions during the rainy season. Except for large trucks, traffic came to a halt over the last several months. Even the soybean trucks had their share of breaking down and getting stuck as they moved harvest to the Mato Grosso mill, which appears in the upper right-hand portion of the image. Cargill sent in heavy equipment to lower the level of water, but it didn't help very much. Over the rainy season, I found myself stranded in the city quite often. There were times when I turned my small Fiat car into a boat by forcing it into the water, hoping that I would get to land on the other side before sinking into the mud. One time I hit a piece of timber someone had left in the mud, which tore up a tire. Our insurance company sent a tow truck to get us back to town. More recently, I've been invading the harvested soybean fields to get to the Bosque. Only last week did Lake Maria dry up enough that I could return to my normal route of getting to our forest reserve. All appeals to the local government have been met with deaf ears. I've talked to the Secretary of Tourism at least three times asking for help. Community representatives have made countless visits to the mayor's office asking for assistance. It seems that the city has been given the priority in terms of street building and maintenance. It's election year and votes are concentrated in the urban areas. Ah, again for new readers, I came to call this mud hole Lake Maria because our mayor's name is Maria. The idea isn't original with me. It's quite common here to refer to potholes and mud holes as someone's hole, normally naming the head of government.