Right now I'm in Maranhão, in Northeastern Brazil, in the middle of an annihilation station of a flood that has left 300,000 people homeless. I spent yesterday afternoon cruising around in a boat through the flooded streets of Trizileda de Vale, a town that is now 90 percent underwater. I expected to see all of this sadness and misery–and it is pretty sad to see all of these people losing their homes–but the surreal thing about it all is that people are just walking around normally through the streets, all la-la-la with water up to their chests. There are people drinking cachaça, couples holding hands, people fishing, doing laundry. And every house that is more than one story high still has people living in it.
I walked into one house, water up to my knees, to talk to a 70-year-old gentleman named Raimundo. As we were talking, I felt something on my ankles and looked down. Tiny fish were biting my feet–in this guy’s living room. Kids are swimming around and jumping out of trees into the water, and today a group of people caught and killed a 26-foot Anaconda swimming down one of the town’s main streets. You talk to people and they are like, “Well, this sucks but you might as well make the best of things, right?”