28 April 2010


I'm pretty sure PUCRS hates it's students.  At the least it doesn't trust them. 

Today is an absolutely stunning day-- the sun is shining (for once), and the temperature is perfect for doing work outside.  But, alas, this is strike one for PUCRS, there are no outlets outside, which means students can't work outside longer than their computer batteries will last, which for me is about 25 minutes.  Resigned to the fact that my initial wish is impossible here, I decided to work inside, but near a window, maybe even an open window.  Of course, that too is too ridiculous to ask for; I don't know of a single building on campus with a student lounge that has tables, chairs, and outlets together.  I could have used a classroom, but I would have to leave as soon as the class came.  Utterly ridiculous.

Finally, I decided I would just work in the library.  It's not my favorite choice-- I had entered the library only once before, and it hadn't been exactly a pleasant experience.  No open windows there, but at least there would be electricity and work spaces; heck, maybe they would even be together.

I'm writing from the library right now, and to get here was like
entering a war zone.  First I had to swipe my student ID to enter, then I passed through some scanners (presumably scanning for books, but who really knows?).  Then I passed through ANOTHER set of scanners so I could lock my bag in a locker, because, you know, who would need their things while doing homework in the library?  I clumsily gathered my computer, cord, mouse, sketchbook, notebook, and some pencils into my arms but was promptly told to turn around and take my computer out of its protective case-- absolutely nothing that closes is allowed beyond the entrance.  Already frustrated, I obliged and regathered my things into my arms, but this time I was increasingly nervous I would drop something important or that I had forgotten something I might need.  Then I passed through a THIRD SET OF SCANNERS to come upstairs.  Once at the second floor, I passed through a FOURTH SET OF SCANNERS to enter the area with books and work spaces.  Seriously PUCRS?  Four sets of scanners, an ID check, plus security guards at the entrances and I can't even bring my laptop cover up here?  Either your books are the most precious collection in Porto Alegre and it's your job to protect them from your evil students, or you have serious trust issues, both in people and technology.  I have an exchange student friend who has started calling campus "merdalândia."  "Merda" means "shit" in Portuguese. . . . Really, I can't blame him.

In any case, now I'm here, and I luckily found an outlet near a window.  At least that much was successful.  A big fail, however, is the lack of desks and chairs near windows.  I've settled for a semi-comfortable chair near a window and an outlet, but no desk.  Thank goodness laptops were invented.  At least I can get some work done now. 

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