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By Chip Kishel
January 6, 2015

A story of a young American boy and his family living in Brazil from 1962 to 1964.

During the writing of my story some long lost family stereo 3D slides were found at my late father’s home in Strongsville, Ohio. By the grace of higher powers, the new owners gave them to his next door neighbor, an elderly lady who knew the family. Alas, my childhood memories are with me in the form of three dimensional stereo slides.

I spent hour upon hour gazing into the past that I’ve been writing about. The timing of receiving the lost slides while writing this story remains a mystery.

Mid- 1963 to Mid-1964 went by fast. Once I felt at home in Brazil the clock seemed to tick faster. Finally knowing the language and venturing out on my bike made all the difference. I learned a lot about new things for a young boy. Some things like seeing friendly women lined up along the avenue, talking to just anybody and sometimes getting in cars seemed odd until my older brother explained they were prostitutes. Of course he had to explain what prostitutes meant.

The streetcar rails were nearby and I ventured out to ride them from end to end. I discovered the ease of buying fireworks
during the festivities of St. John. Our neighborhood had a mix of American and Brazilian kids, some friendly and some not. I remember well fighting with the Brazilian Moleques.

Just before Christmas of 1963, President Kennedy was assassinated. I feel that the world changed from that point on. The communists in Sao Paulo were elated. I still remember my father confining our family in our home. Upstairs under the front windows were steamer trunks. On top of the trunks were hand guns for each of us. My father’s worked for USAID and felt we needed protection. Being that he was also a master gunsmith and taught all of us how to shoot, I imagine how surprised an intruder would have been to find a family fully armed and ready to shoot. I’m glad it did not come to that.

We got a call that a new baby had arrived. My sisters second child. She called us from the USA. In 1963 a long distance phone call took 3 days to set up. Live operators made the connection at a cost of US$17 per minute. I remember the rush of home sickness seeing my mother cry at the news of the new baby being named after her.

The final day arrived in July 1964. It was time to go home. Our furniture was crated up, except for the Queen Anne Piano which stayed with Mrs. Beebe. We stayed our final night at a hotel in Sao Paulo. I remember being sad and it rained hard that night. The next day we were driven to Santos by The Professor and his family. We boarded the ship HMS Aragon to sail to Europe before returning to the States. I remember crying. Funny, I cried when I arrived and I cried when I left.

Six weeks later I arrived home. School had started. I recall being quiet on the school bus. A yellow bus filled full of the chatter of children. After all I experienced in Brazil, I was twelve going on twenty one and the kids around me, well they were just… kids.
Iwould like to thank those who have followed my story. I thought of returning to Sao Paulo one day, but the Sao Paulo I remember is gone. I used Google Earth and found the Guido Bloch house still standing. The Beebe house is gone and replaced by a gas station. The streetcar tracks have been replaced by roads.

I guess I will keep the memories as they were. I can return home anytime by putting some 3D slides into the stereo viewer.

Chip Kishel and his wife Agnes reside in the small town of Sylvania, Georgia. Chip works for Houghton International as a contract Site Manager for Koyo Needle Bearing LLC. Chips hobbies include custom vintage Honda Motorcycle Restoration and his wife is an accomplished equestrian trainer specializing in dressage, cross country and stadium jumping.

Previous articles by Chip:

Brazil: 50 Years Past Part 4
Brazil: 50 Years Past Part 3
Brazil: 50 Years Past Part 2
Brazil: 50 Years Past Part 1

By Derek Lacrone
January 6th, 2015

Belém302c

Being outside around midday makes you feel like a vampire trying to get a tan, as the burning sun digs deep into your skin, make certain to bring your sol protecto (sunblock). And this brutal heat isn’t occasional, as the high temperatures are more consistent than the swift and tiny Brazilian feet that tear up the dance floor doing the Carimbo on the not so distant but sought after island of Algodoal. There is no hiding from the 24 hour 365 day consuming hotness and umidade (humidity) that never drops below 60%, often climbing higher than 90%. And right now the sky is dark with clouds – which happens regularly, almost daily during some months, to feed the luscious foliage of the Amazon rainforest – and the sun is setting, creating the illusion of a cool night yet it remains hot enough around the clock that a warm shower would be ludicrous. The rains are refreshing at times, but developmental planning here is an oxymoron as downpours of heavy rain frequently flood the streets during the rainy season, transforming the ruas (roads) into rivers and making it possible for you to kayak to your destination all the while hoping your car doesn’t get washed away from parking in the wrong spot.

Belem302b

If you search Belém, Para on the Internet, the top 10 search results will yield more articles about the homicide rate than anything else, labeling it frightening as one of the most dangerous cities in the world, falling inside the top 10 more than once. Despite all of this over two million people have flocked to this industrious Brazilian capital city and region in the state of Para, and for good reasons.

Northern Brazil is known for having more than the almost mythical açai branco. It also calls itself home to beauties such as the Portal de Amazonia, a gorgeous and lively place to spend a Sunday evening doing yoga or visiting the food vendors whilst enjoying an amazing sunset over the mouth of the Amazon river! Belém doesn’t brag, but it should, because some of the kindest and most welcoming people on earth, Northern Brazilians, live here, and having traveled to 9 different countries my sample size of culture and people is quite healthy. You only get one first impression and this region, without a doubt because of its people and unique atmosphere, has left a quite positive one on me. I have been bombarded by a purely genuine kindness and sincere curiosity since I arrived in Belém in September of 2014.

Belem302a

While foreigners do visit Belém, Para, they don’t come in droves or tend to stay for great lengths of time and typically see only a few places such as Ver-O-Peso, a wonderful market on the water, and Estaao das Docas, home to one of the most beautiful buildings I have seen (with a platform that travels lengthwise down the long building while a live band performs on top of it). There are however many more places to see here, one of my favorites is Mangal das Garas, a beautiful park to sit and enjoy the art that mother nature brings to our planet. Once inside this park you are greeted by serenity and wonderful creatures as well as a pond, with the option to visit an amazing butterfly conservatory. Very close to Ver-O-Peso and Mangal sits the Forte do Castelo, awaiting your arrival so that you can take pictures alongside old war cannons and visit the small museum which contains Amazonian history and artifacts of the indigenous people of the region. And make sure your host provides you with a Muiraquitao to bring you good luck on both this and future trips. This tiny engraved frog is a symbol of fertility and luck and usually comes in the form of a necklace.

Now, I must admit, I have been a naughty Gringo this holiday season. I myself have not yet seen everything this city offers, but, I have seen enough to know that you should spend at least a few days here, preferably with someone that knows the city because the bus system isn’t exactly… systematic, although finding a cab or moto taxi is extremely simple. And if you don’t know anybody in the area to show you around what do you do? If you haven’t used Couchsurfing before check it out online, there is a group that meets weekly and you are sure to receive a warm reception or at least solid advice by dropping a message to your local Belém CouchSurfing community.

All in all Belém is beautiful and so are its surroundings. Just a couple hours in different directions you find yourself on the wonderful sandy beaches Brazil is known for having or in the depths of the Amazon rainforest. A jungle excursion or a boating trip down the river will satiate those seeking adventure, while the acai is thick, the people are great, and the caipirinhas will provide you the ability needed to tackle the dance floors. Enjoy!