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July 7th 2009
Published: July 8th 2009
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So today we went to a butterfly and bird garden and to an old fort. Pretty sweet action. We also cooked for about 20 people; black bean burgers and Macoroni and Cheese again, because it was easy and cheap.

Belem is a beautiful city and in the future I would like to maybe come back here and spend some more time. We were checking boat prices and found out that the only two boats to Santarem this week are tomorrow and friday. And seeing as how Josh has to be back in Sao Luis by the 15th we are heading out tomorrow. The ticket prices for the boats we hear are usually $R90 but because we are in the middle of July, a vacation month, the current price is $R160 per person! So we paid $R 120 per person or $R 360 total and saved $R 120.

Tomorrow morning we are going to the tree museum to see Josh's favorite tree, that only grows in the Amazon (which as of Maraba we are technically already in), and then heading to the beach. Then, its on to the boat and up river for about 3 days to Santarem.

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the kitchen at the place we are staying
taxi driver today took a side tour into what they call an "Invasao" or invasion in english to do god knows what at a house while we waited in the car. He is not really like a taxi driver though, he helps with the place we are staying and charges much lower prices than an actual taxi we are told (although we do not actually know). An invasao is apparently a place where homeless people move in, or invade, to abandoned or currently unused parts of town and begin to build houses out of whatever. Early on most of the houses are usually made of mud, sticks and scraps they can find.
This place however was very well founded and had actual houses built in it as well. The invasions can wind up in a few different ways depending on who actually owns the property and how the owners choose to deal with it. Sometimes the owners will square off sections of the property for the invaders to settle on and use, sometimes they will provide a separate area for them to occupy, Sometimes it is just given up and remains an invasion, or perhaps kick everyone out and destroy
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our room from the courtyard
the houses. It has even been noted that the government will often provide a designated place for these people to go which would be considered a legal invasion. Oh yes, there are legal invasions and illegal invasions and it is sort of confusing and difficult to get detailed info on, because we do not yet speak fluent portuguese (give me a year). I suppose the outcome just depends on the individual circumstance as well as who owns the land and what the land is planned to be used for.

Quite an interesting phenomena though and perhaps a future art project for myself. So how about it; Who wants to start an invasion in Tampa! It would be more difficult to do in Tampa, but I have been thinking about it and it is possible.

Well, I have to go write a paper now. Good night and I will be back in a few days (if they have internet in Santarem)

addition just for fun, from a response I had to something Kaileen said. I have been meaning to put this down in words for some time now.

That bit about trying to interact with and understand others even if you don't share a language is brilliant. I have come to accept this as part of my foundational beliefs which are as follows:

Love is only logical because without it nothing is possible. I know this is vague, but consider a world without love, a world with only animosity (what a strange word animosity is, animals are so much easier to deal with than people). Life is bound to end in a world like this and so love is necessary for all life to go on. Even if love is only found in small increments it still provides what is necessary to live.

The miracle of life is anti-entropy. Life and procreation prevent the so called inevitable relapse into nothing, because it is constantly being recreated. Perhaps this is the root of why we sleep; to return to the nothing for balance in a life of somethings

Therefore the meaning of life (in general) is to live and the best way to do this is with love.

To love is to have honesty because without honesty love will wither away. Honesty with self and honesty with others. And so to love with honesty eradicates apathy and promotes empathy towards all things.

The personal, or existential, meaning to life is these relationships between things. To struggle. To strive. To try and try to understand each other even though ,it is in its most basic meaning, impossible due to our individuality. We are isolated inside ourselves and though we may interact and seek to better the world, we are ultimately alone. Rejoice in your isolation. This is the gift of life; this isolation provides the catalyst for developing relationships and these relationships are what keeps everything moving. Relationships are the key to keeping ourselves and others alive.

Of course this perspective is my own and does isolate only the living realms of our existence. It does not address the life cycle and possible conciousness of
"inanimate" objects (I put inanimate in quotations, because nothing is inanimate on a atomic level nor are they inanimate as whole objects on a long enough time scale.) But even here the same rules I suppose could be applied. They have interactions and relationships and personal meaning.

Consciousness I suppose would be the connecting force between all of this. And with it a question arises. Is consciousness what ultimately allows things to exist. Does something exist without a consciousness to experience it and does consciousness rely on thought?

I believe that thought and consciousness are separate. I can be conscious and without thought in my own experience. I have lived for brief moments in this state through meditation.

And so returning to the pondering of whether these personal rules of mine apply to "inanimate" objects as well. Assuming that objects can and do have their own consciousness, with or without thought, then yes the same rules apply.

Additional photos below
Photos: 29, Displayed: 26


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before they restored it in 2001
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brazil photos kates camera 177

everywhere I go... :)
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Josh the human canon ball
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one of the coolest plants ever!

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