Goval City.

By 23:57 , , , , ,

As promised... Governador Valadares.

 My lovely hometown with a population of appx. 300,000 is known for 3 main things: 

- Having a high rate of human capital exported to every corner of the world (hence, my parents' move to the U.S.) - and by this I mean mostly illegal immigration to take on "immigrant," jobs abroad, but exporting human capital sounds much nicer, no? 

- Handgliding @ Ibituruna peak, which is 1,123 meters above sea level, and holds international handgliding competitions all year.  Some claim it's the best location for handgliding in the world.  But it is definitely the top spot for it in Brazil. 

- To go along with the gringoes who handglide at Ibituruna, GV is also, unfortunately, quite popular for its sexual tourism :0/.

The weather there ranges from hot to infernal, humidity 80% and wind @ 0 mph all year round (hence, the handgliding preference).  

The heat expands to the people.  As mineiros, everyone I've met there is very warm, friendly, and knew everything about my life before I could even open my mouth to introduce myself.  I guess this is because my grandmother knows so many people and talks so much about her family that people tell her to run for office. She would totally win too... 

The city is run on tourism, commerce, and dollars.  aka - it's in a tight spot right now with the world financial crisis inhibiting the transfer of USD's and other foreign currencies and tourism, which in turn affects commerce...  A lot of the other cities in the area (the East of Minas) have industries which provide jobs for most of the city-dwellers, but GV was an exception because of the opportunities it already had in employment with the expansion due to the mass number of peope emigrating from the city abroad and sending money back to help the city grow. 

My one tiff with GV is that people there got lazy.  They're so used to receiving money and donations from abroad that it's became a major consumer bubble in the middle of Minas, and nothing's been done to attract investment to the city.  People leave, build mansions in the middle of town, and come back only to find no work for themselves.  Granted, some people built themselves restaurants, bakeries, bars, stores, etc. with money made abroad, but no real investment's been made.  Everyone talks about GV as being "Governador Valedolares," and meanwhile my grandma's street hasn't been paved since my parents left 20 years ago.  I don't know if the city just doesn't have money or it's not administered well, but it is quite sad to see the city's condition when visiting... there's so much potential there (despite the unbearing heat). 

The good news is, Aracruz is planning on building a factory in GV in the next few years, which is going to generate all sorts of jobs!  This'll help people who are leaving "the developed world," to come back to good ol' GV.  Adam, from Eyes on Brazil has a great post on this if you want to check it out.  

Ok, so this post was more of a ramble than anything, but I find it important to talk about my hometown because these sorts of things highlight my preference on coming to SP and not staying in GV with my family when I chose to return to Brazil.  It's also something that's important to note when talking about trying to get a visa to go anywhere.  For me, with a "born in Governador Valadares," on ALL of my documents, it's 10 times harder ot get a visa than for anyone born anywhere else.  So if I go to any US Consulate to try for a visa, they're going to be quite suspicious just by looking at my birthplace...  We'll talk about my opinions on how this sort of discrimination fuels illegal immigration in the first place in another post :-) 

next post will be more São Paulo and current occurences, I promise!! 


ps - I need to put a plug in here and will every once in a while until I get a steady following there.  A friend of mine has an online magazine where there are articles about funny relationship stories and I write for them occasionally, so I suggest you all go and check it out!! You'll know who I am right away in the author list ;-) - Enjoy!

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