Day 5: Ramping things up again


National Congress, seen from the top floor of Annex 4

Yes, I know, Monday is not a day of much activity, I've said as much on Day 1. But it's the day when all activity is planned. Which means another episode of "tips and whatnots about fieldwork in the Chamber of Deputies". And it starts with... November rain.


So now that you're all stuck with that song in your head, I can tell you that I didn't know that it rained in Brasília. Not this much. Everyone tells me it is a little more than usual, but not that uncommon to have this much rain here at this time. Why don't I know this? Because the ideal time for research is between February and May and then August and October, unless it's an election year. Then, forget October. All even-numbered years are election years, by the way. Which is why I'm here in November, rather than writing under the covers in the very expected rain of where I live.


The day started with dynamic prices on the car app set so high that I had to wait about 20 minutes to leave the house. Then, meeting my uncle, who had visited my city due to a death in the family, and brought me warmer clothes (this was really unexpected). Brasília is designed as several straight lines that veer off into loops; in between buildings, there's grass and trees and the constant feeling of being at the same place all the time. Which is how the driver managed to turn me around completely and double the price of my fare for a simple detour. Ugh.


As I've said, the Chamber is the house of the people. Most days, you won't even get asked where you're going, just have your ID scanned and be given a sticker (a different colour everyday). If there's a place you can't go, there's usually a Federal Police officer posted at the door to let you know that, in no uncertain terms.



Underground hallway towards Annex IV

My day took me to Annex IV, where the representatives' offices are, as well as the support offices. I read a paper by Nirmal Puwar that said that some MPs in the House of Commons have a "three-ask rule", meaning they have to be asked three times before allowing a researcher to interview them. Here, you can't let the chief of staff forget you. So I found myself knocking on the doors of the deputies I had emailed last month and talked to last week, to remind them to schedule me in for this week. I also went to the Women's Secretariat in order to see the space.


The top floor has a lovely view and a restaurant-school, so I spent the lunchtime of the civil servants there, working and taking pictures. A quick day, lots to do.

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