Carlos Henrique Siqueira, 69, has an eternal girlfriend: the Rio-Niteroi bridge, where he has worked since 1972. His great passion is tending to the queen of Brazilian bridges and making her a standout dame in a world of 3 million bridges. You can’t imagine the stories he has to tell. In Urca, which really is like a rural town, and where he’s lived since he arrived from João Pessoa in Paraíba, he’s known as Carlos Henrique of the Bridge.
Listen to our eureka!
Do bridges age like people?
“Every one wants to live long but no one wants to age. None has discovered, I’d like to be the one to discover the waters of the Ponce de León fountain of youth. That day I’ll take my time and spread it between Urca, João Pessoa, and the Rio-Niteroi Bridge.
What was the Baía de Guanabara like?
“In the past, when I began as engineer the Rio-Niteroi Bridge, in 1979, we’d go in an open boat, sometimes slowly, and the Piruána would jump and fall into the boat, we didn’t even need to fish. The fish would come, vupt, and fall into the boat. There were also divers who worked on the bridge’s foundation. The guys would dive, sometimes without any equipment, they’d be under for a minute, two, and soon up they’d come with an octopus wrapped around their body, they’d come to the boat, reach out their hand and say, ‘get this octopus off me,’ the octopus’ tentacles, enormous octopus.”
What is life like after the bridge?
“My life’s dream, at the apogee of my age, I may not need it, I want to live in a city in the interior of Paraiba, not João Pessoa which to me is a great urban center, I want to live in a small town. I’ll have my house, my television, of course, my NET, computer, I can’t not have it, and I’ll hang a sign on the door: ‘Free tutoring, children up to 12’ No one will pay me anything, my recompense will be those boys being top of their class. I’ll teach for free, that is my life project.”