Thursday, December 06, 2007

Goodbye Theo. After a fun packed two weeks that have flown by, big Theo Georghiou heads back to the UK today. We plan to send him off with a beating on the go-kart track this lunch time. It's been great to spend time with my ol' school chum who I haven't had more than a passing chat to for the best part of 10 years. We still have Tom Reeves here, so fortunately Natal's supply of diamond geezers is still ample. Not that Tom and Theo are that similar. Theo is tall, thin, erudite, polite and sophisticated. As for Tom... well...

Hello Guga the turtle. For a while we'd been thinking of getting Nelson a pet. After the unfortunate demise of Perry the kitten, Rachel thought we should get a small turtle. Nelson has already expressed his preference for this kind of creature, pointing it out in books and on TV, and he does a good job of saying "Tartaruga" in Portuguese - "tataooggooggoogoggooggooggg GUGA!!". And, that phenomenal phonemical construction inspired the name of the 4 inch diameter creature. She (the turtle) was bought at a market in Recife by Rachel's Dad who, not being one to wait on a good idea, jumped at the idea. I came back from a morning out with the boys to find we had a new pet. Nelson loves the little creature and is constantly trying to feed her biscuits.

A small legal note: Many laws exist in Brazil for what can or can't be kept as pets. In part, so my students tell me, these laws are concessions to 'the global north' and help create an image of Brazil has a modern and concerned country. In reality, illegally owned pets are very common and the police have better things to do than knock on everyone's door trying to find rare captive spiders. However, some turtles are illegal. One of my students explained that a turtle should have accompanying signed paperwork when it is bought. (This same student has a turtle which her friend brought her from another South American country smuggled in the inside pocket of an overcoat). So, after the arrival of Guga I asked Rach if our new friend was legally acquired. "Yes, this is a legal turtle". OK, so where's the paperwork? "What paperwork?" came the reply. Rachel says if the police come snooping (which they won't) she'll dob in half the neighbourhood who have illegal menageries of parrots and exotic birds. All I can say is that, for Guga's sake, her previous home was some grubby water in the bottom of a cut-away plastic coke bottle. At least, now she has her own mini-aquarium complete with plastic castle and pebbles, space to paddle, and she has the undying affection and love of an 18 month old boy.

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