Tuesday, June 28, 2005


Sunday my second cousin´s daughter took me on a drive around southern Porto Alegre. This included a drive through a new condominium which she´s quite taken with.

The wierd thing about it is that the houses and remaining lots (of which there are still plenty to go) are located in the middle of a golf course. There´s security guards on every road and we had to drive around with someone from the showroom to show we were legit.

The place highlights to me one of the realities of contemporary Brazil. Over the past 20-30 years the middle class have put up fences in front of their houses and apartment blocks, set up surveillance cameras and taken on 24-hour security in a bid to seal themselves off from the perceived violence and chaos outside.

The golf course-condominium theme takes the idea one stage further. Now you can live in an American style house without a fence, maintaining the illusion of peace and security - except this time the fences don´t happen to be around your immediate premises, but at the edge of the condominium.

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