another hotel is born…

The world almost came to an end this weekend. Our house began to shake at fifteen-second intervals. Huge booms and bangs and bombs rocked the street. It began on Saturday evening, and continued into the early morning hours of Sunday. Boom. Boom. Boom. And then it stopped. On Sunday morning, we ventured out of the house, to investigate. Half of the house next door had been destroyed – a mound of broken brick, cable, cement and plaster hanging onto the remains of the ground floor ceiling; the house behind – an old pink Portuguese colonial building – had been blown to smithereens. Vanished. Gone for good. Sunday evening, the explosions began again.
‘Turn the air conditioner on,’ my landlady said, ‘it blocks out the sound.’
But it didn’t block out the vibrations. The windows shook, the plant leaves shuddered, the floor buzzed under my feet and I wondered if this was how the beginning of an earthquake felt. I went outside, to see for myself what was going on. If they are bombs it’s probably safer to be out of the house anyway. A baby was screaming. Dogs were barking. And I could hear a man shouting at someone else to shut up. I walked around the corner, the bombs coming closer, and there in the middle of the rubble was the long metal arm of a huge orange bulldozer swinging and smashing and bashing against the walls of our neighbour’s building. A group of men were standing, watching. A tall, one-toothed Brasilian was shouting abuse at three Angolan men.
‘Have we got all day! Don’t stand there staring at me! Do your job! What are you waiting for!’
Soon the bomb-site will be a hotel. Another hotel. For men in suits with briefcases.

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