The armadeira: an arachnaphobe’s nightmare. Armadeiras are a type of spiders that live in Cardoso. They are huge and hairy, they can jump, they are deadly, and they are everywhere, apparently. When the armadeira is going to attack you, it holds its front legs up above its head, revealing the white spots under its joints that can be used to identify it. Andrew and Paula have both found armadeiras in their experiments, and today, we encountered 2! One was in the outdoor bathroom, and the other in the garbage bags. Luckily, our crazy helper, Aline, caught both of them (because she is crazy) and took them away before I started crying, tears, on the ground. When I was washing laundry later on, I thought I saw another one in the sink and freaked out again. Luckily, it was just a crab.
Only one dog and one cat live on Cardoso island. The day we arrived here by boat, the boat driver said, “Be careful of the cat, it bites.” I didn’t see the cat any time in the first two weeks, and when it first appeared, it seemed odd and out of place. A domestic cat living on this otherwise pretty wildery island. It walked by our lab outside. The next time I saw it, it was sitting on a railing on the walk from our house to the restinga. Then, it was suddenly everywhere. We would go to the beach in the evening, and it would come and sit next to our feet, or even on our laps. In the middle of the night, it would crawl through the large gap between the roof and the wall and sleep on someone’s bed. It always sits by the door of our house.
The dog also has its run of the island. It is skinny and speckly with black spots on it’s grey coat. Sometimes, it just runs joyfully back and forth by the houses. When we walk by, it inevitably starts trotting along next to us for a little while before going off to do something else.
There was a time when the cat and the dog met. The cat was with us, and the dog was with some of the islanders. As soon as they saw each other, the dog started barking and the cat flattened it’s ears and hissed. The islanders had to hold back the dog to keep it from attacking the cat, but the cat was not inclined to stay away from the dog. Instead, it tried to jump and claw at the dog. Eventually, we convinced the cat to run off somewhere.
I like this: only one cat and one dog, and they don’t like each other, and if I were poetic I would make some metaphor about something right about now.
Ever wonder why Brazilian money is called “reals”? I highly recommend listening to the first part of this podcast about how the economic crisis in Brazil ended.
This American Life: The Invention of Money