Ohmygod Danny Devito, I love your work!

6 de Julho, Quarta-Feira

Lembranças de Búzios Pousada, Courtyard

The rain reigns today, and a terrible reign it is. What began as an unpleasant, misty shower has grown torrential. And we’re bored as hell.

Last night we wandered, ending up at a bar called Chez Mizsomething. A terrible, expensive place full of Americans and seventeen year old Brazilian prostitutes. We drank in relative silence, speaking only Portuguese and leering at the American swine. Aside from our two San Diego friends, we’ve avoided our ilk like the plague. Americans abroad are a graceless, tacky folk, easily victimized and absurdly annoying. Our Portuguese accents, which derive from a chaotic mishmash of sources like Capoeira, Mexican Spanish, Paulista slang and Bahiano speech patterns, apparently sound Italian. This disguise, as unexpected as it is, has served us well.

The rain has sapped the life from this town in the extreme. Sulking managers gaze out of streaked windows; bored, idle waiters lean on a thousand empty tables, smoking and wiping already glistening counters. A town with beaches and shopping as its two lynch-pin attractions is worthless to us in such weather, for we certainly can’t afford to hit the stores.

Rain gives one the seclusion, time, and mood for deep and serious contemplation, however. There are many things to consider, in life and the world.

A topic which confounds me perpetually, friends, is the true meaning of our trip. Is this just some idle pursuit, some fuckoff vacation in the South American wilds, no more meaningful than a Cancun spring break? Or are we here on some holier quest, our trip a testament to some nameless ideal or theme that lurks just beneath the surface…

Ours is a trip with many facets. Without foresight or planning, without goals or restrictions, we have stumbled from one end of this country to the other, and at every juncture we succeed. Things work out. With nothing but a bus ticket and a dream, we’ve conquered city after city in a matter of days. Behold, the power of youthful charisma. In the end, I suppose, how could we fail? We are the triumphs of modern society, designed to succeed against any odds. Portuguese speaking engineers, martial artists and survival experts, well-read blue collar intellectuals… we have what It Takes, friends, and this trip has shown this at every turn. No wonder the greying, stooped aristocrats tremble and shake their heads at our passing. We are the future, and our coup is at hand.

And yet this trip is not about Power. Fearlessness, competence, youth maybe… but certainly not Power, at least in the classic, American capitalist sense. So much of our trip has been spent int he company of fine and fast friends that the very idea of usurping, of domineering somehow, is an abomination.

It’s good for me to remember this, that people exist in our world who are not Complete Tools. Love and Happiness and Heedless Merriment are not the extinct husks I may have thought they were, and dare I say it, my timid, fragile faith in Humanity burns a little brighter down here. Perhaps the tiny corner of the world I’ve called home for the last five years has simply had a disproportionate number of loathsome swine. Perhaps proximity to places like LA and Fresno, hives of Evil and Decay, infected my (our) town more deeply than I had previously imagined. Perhaps, perhaps I’m simply less forgiving than I should be.

Thoughts turn quickly to the future. We’ve devoted hours of discussion to that gray and gaping void, Life After College. Plots within plots, everything from startup businesses to armed conquest to complete rejection of materialist life have been discussed. This place is a land of dreams, and it’s easy to cast off the knotted, tangled chains which moor me to the Homeland, at least in conversation and speculation.

The question then becomes:

Why not move to Brasília?

Practical reasons abound, and yet practical problems are my specialty. I am, after all, an Engineer. Let’s consider a few.

Language: With courses, I could attain competence at an adult level in Portuguese within six months. Guaranteed. Three weeks of immersion has already given me the passive ability to converse, watch TV, read, and communicate. Mostly. All that remains, then, is writing and articulation. Perhaps a little poetry.

Finances: Broke as a joke now, but work starts in two weeks. Work will be intense and relatively profitless for the time being, but the experience of starting a new business and working on an independent level will be golden. I could afford the move within a year or two.

Technicalities: Work Visas, bank accounts, forms in triplicate… The Devil is in the details, but what He doesn’t know is that this asshole has sharper horns and a longer tail. All could be arranged within two months and five consulate visits.

Life in Brasil: Two options, and two options only. Technical work, for which I am ideally if not linguistically suited. Brasil is a country floundering for infrastructure and modernization, and technical shizzle is a profitable and viable path for an educated gringo. Teaching English, option two. BR is a void of English teachers. One with mastery and experience in the language can live simply and reasonably in any city in the country. Provided all one wants is the simple life.

But let’s get serious friends, we both know I’m not one for practicality, but for vision.

Luxurious villas, marble columns and dark wood ballrooms… capoeira every day, training, fighting, learning with the best in the world… Lucrative contracts with American publishers, paying dollar salaries in this real-based economy… A life sized alabaster statue of James Brown, the God Father of Soul, standing guard at the end of my palm-lined driveway. American rock cover band, playing all the best bars in Brasil, crowded with screaming kids who worship American Pop Culture like it was the Kingdom of God…

Life here could be good.

Could be great.

All that holds me back are the horrible cliches.

Cowardice. Comfort. Fast Internet.

There are, of course, more serious concerns. Should all the pieces fall or be forced into place, things could still be very difficult. Now more than ever I feel the burden of family, of debt, of responsibility to My World.

An only son is never truly free.

There are debts which must be paid, friends, responsibilities not easily shirked in the quest for personal growth and life experience.

Some famous dude once said that no man is an island. It’s true. As much as I value my freedom and solitude, there are always the Chains that Bind.

Not all responsibilities are weights; don’t mistake my musings for complaints. Many of these I gladly bear, and what feels like a cage now has many times past felt like a shelter. This, I won’t forget.

I suppose we will see, friends.

We will see.

-T.

4:30 on a gloomy, rainy afternoon
in the middle of the damn jungle.

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