Monday, June 24, 2013

Sweeping and squirting - São Paulo

São Paulo is the sweepiest squirtiest place I have ever lived. Every single morning of the year, except in case of really terrible weather, there is a maid in front of every house sweeping the sidewalk free of leaves and whatever fallen bits have dared to set themselves on the front step. There is some kind of unspoken vendetta against any type of leaf, cut plant, tiny crumb of garbage or pebble. Everything gets swept to the curb.

After it is swept to the curb, it is the turn of the street sweep. Pictured above in his flourescent green and dark green suit, he heads up and down the streets near my house twice a week. He certainly gets around--I have seen the same one in two remote areas of my neighborhood on other days. There used to be two of them but apparently cost cuts have reduced the staff of my neighborhood down to one. At noontime you can find him propped against a tree in the green verge of the main street, eating or napping. At the end of the year he stops by my door and asks if there is a Christmas tip for him.

At least once a week, the maids also turn the hoses onto the sidewalks. I swear it used to be every day that the walks were washed but that can't be right. Most of the time there is no soap involved, just sprays of water. Sometimes a power washer. My favorite is when I am walking by with my dog and get hit by a stream of water being directed from inside the garage to out on the sidewalk. That's the true lazy wash.

It is true that São Paulo is a particularly grimy city. Pollution leaves streaks of black on the glass veranda table if we don't clean it every week. Because there is no hard winter here, the leaves and flowers seem to bloom then drop one varietal after the other. There is no peace.  The most dangerous time for my beige lawn furniture is in early spring when the blackberry trees come to fruit and it seems the birds dine out then come home to errrr...roost.

I admit that we're pretty lazy about leaf sweep-up my household. Pretty much we get involved when the automated garage door can't roll back from all the stuff caught in the tracks. It just seems like a losing battle.  Perhaps nature can win a few in the big city.

1 comment:

  1. Paris is pretty sweepy and squirty too. When I lived there, it seemed as though they squirted and swept every day.