Archive for July, 2005

To Kill A Dead Man

Posted in Blog on July 25, 2005 by trevorgregg

11 de Julho, Segunda-feira 9:00 PM
Pousada Konquista

We have braved the depths of the Atlantic rainforest, and behold!

We are unscathed.

Yara, our devious and multilingual guide, arrived at our pousada at 9:30, long before we were schedule to meet downtown. She told us the couple from Holland were “too hungover” to do the hike, and that the English were a no-show. Thus, she was stuck with only us two and our meager bankroll.

Yara. Yara is a trip.

My distaste for the greedy and heartless runs much deeper than Nate’s. Yara chainsmokes borrowed Marlboros, and hits up every tourist (Brazilian or foreigner) for money, services, or cigarettes. I avoided her through most of the expedition. She’ll slit our throats and leave us for the jaguars without a thought, and I don’t plan to offer her the opportunity.

2:00 AM

Trindade… Beaches like you wouldn’t believe. The rainforest is a place unlike any other, a place where life is so god damn prevalent it has nowhere left to grow. Standing in Trindade, one can only see three things: Sand, ocean, and trees. No bare land. The trees, like the tide, run right to the edge of the beach.

Our strange guide led us deep into the Mata Atlantica to various waterfalls, clearings, and pools. What can I say. The place is a fucking work of art.

On the beaches of Trindade…

The beach is shallow, with ten foot waves breaking 60-70 yards out. I walked / swam to the break, and when one of those warm, turquoise monsters grabs ahold of you…

It’s close to divinity.

That we should be led to such a marvel by such a moneygrubbing scumbag diminishes nothing. The place is a gem, easily the nicest beach I’ve ever seen.

The poetry to capture the place escapes me.

I can’t think of a way to describe our trek, through mossy canyons and knotted vines, over roaring waterfalls and under eclipsing canopies, that won’t sound cliche.

The rainforest and the beach are not experiences which I feel capable or duty-bound to share, so screw you all.

We returned on a clamoring, swerving bus which dropped us back in Paraty.

THE REST… OF THE NIGHT…

/*Editor’s note: Here…things get a little illegible. We at the editorial staff apologize.*/

Our last functional night in Brazil.

As one might discern from the substandard quality of my writing and handwriting, we’ve had ourselves a doozy. Paraty has reverted to its normal, deserted winter state after the swarming literary mass exodus this morning. The streets were nearly empty, and we sat at a lanche spot barely more crowded than the competitors.

Homeboy next to us.

You know what, fuck it. I’ll write about this later. It’s late, I’m tired… I’m sure you are too. We’ve both had too much pinga, the devil aguardente.

I’m feeling gooooood now but God help me when that sun comes up tomorrow. Fuck it, planning is for bitches.

Ride the lightning.

-T.

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Of Mais & Men

Posted in Blog on July 25, 2005 by trevorgregg

10 de Julho
Val’s Lanches, Parati, RJ 7:00PM

Another city, another world.

We walked into a weird one this time. The fleeting, smoky rumors we heard in Búzios were true, and we stepped off the bus into the dead center of a literature festival.

All the pousadas, full. After an hour of wandering, bags in hand, we found a spot at three times its real price on the wrong side of town. Stick it to the tourists, the universal Brazilian anthem… But these, these are not your normal tourists. These people are a breed apart, thousands of teachers, bohemians, and book dorks at large descending on cramped and colonial Paraty for a four-day literary shitstorm. A ton of no-name writers and… *intro music* Salmon Rushdie! The hunted man himself. We’ve been wandering from bar to bar, drinking heavily and searching for Sal. He could use a couple of bastards like us, highly educated and literarily indoctrinated martial artist bodyguards. I will fuck an Islamic bounty hunter up. I don’t give a shit. There comes a time when one

*much later*

Devil cachaça.

You do it to me every time.

Sal was a no-show at the bar scene, the fuck. A Paraguayan poet named Leransomething told me he heard Rushdie had been captured after sunset by Goiaba Indians, taken at spear-point to a black hut in the south mountains. The Indians here are a wily and isolated people, and they plan to hold Rushdie ransom until some sort of separatist jungle indigenous peoples state is established. “Listen here, you frumpy hack,” I told the poet “These Indians are a kind and quiet folk who make hats and baskets. They wouldn’t know the first thing about negotiating with corrupt regimes or ransoming a prize like Rushdie. You’re a damn liar.”

These book people are worthless. A city full of English teachers who don’t speak English. Liberal arts, friends…

Let me tell you: Liberal Arts does not know how to party.

Knit beanies and corduroy skirts, brown scarves and wire rime glasses… you fucks. The men are chickenshits, pensive and fragile. The kind of men who pay other men to fix their fences or change their oil. The women are short and mousy, giggling coffee addicts who own more umbrellas than shoes.

Two virile, opinionated Americans like ourselves are an Unknown Quantity. Leering at their women and bogarting their drink, we roam the muddy streets like a couple of wolves when the shepherd’s away. You spineless bastards… I want to grab every writhing, stooping fuck here by his magenta turtleneck and scream “Do you even know who Kurt Vonnegut is?!?

Portuguese is a language for pop songs and flirting, not serious literature. These people don’t understand that.

Instead of wasting our time with the teeming ivory-tower multitudes, we walked over to the narrow and gravelly beach this afternoon. We ate delicious fried fished and watched the children fight kites. We discussed important topics, like quantitative measures of human worth and the true value of “progress”. Long and heated arguments ensued, but conclusions were achieved. Working universal truths out over cocktails in southern Brazil is, honestly, the only way to do it.

Our guide, Yara, is a delinquent Bahiana half-breed who scammed us into going on a jungle trek with her tomorrow. Fluent in English, Danish, French, Spanish, and a local Indian dialect, she spends her days harassing tourists and making her own leather pants. She’s completely dishonest and greedy, which in a way is gracious honesty rarely found in Brazil. We haggled her down 30 reais, and are still getting ripped off, but less so than the other twats on the hike so we win. Yara is a strange one, a heavy drinker on others tabs and a remorseless commercial predator. She’ll likely lead us into some sort of cannibal ambush tomorrow, picking digital cameras and loose change from our warm corpses as the natives retrieve their poison darts from our necks and prepare the barbecue. She speaks perfect English, and I never trust Brazilians who speak good English. To speak good English you have to think like an American. God help you when you meet a Brazilian capable of thinking like a gringo.

We spent most of the night with her, drinking horrendous “figos” cachaça out of worthless Brazilian plastic cups and looking for horses to steal.

Squealing brown children climbing in the trees, mimes, poets, and Indians roaming the avenues, pompous, wool-clad professors crowding the narrow, muddy streets, and us.

The grinning, towering, vicious Americanos.

Welcome to Paraty.

Now I must rest. Our expedition heads for Trindade at sunrise, and there are many miles of unforgiving Atlantic rainforest to be hacked through.

The only real tragedy of this town is that I don’t have my tattoo yet. I’d rock that shit here like rednecks rock Z28’s. Reppin all day.

Look upon me, cowering Brazilian intellectuals.

Behold the future of American literature, and know fear.

-T.

2:00 AM MOTHAFUCKTHEPOPO

/*Editor’s note: Here there is a drawing of a six-fingered fist with Freak Power written under it. Who knows.*/

P.S. Also, Nate pulled off the best mistranslation of the trip thus far.

*In line at the ATM*

Random Brazilian Peasant (Portuguese) “Are you in the line?”
Nate (Portuguese) “Yes, sorry, we are already in your daughter.”
RBP(Portuguese) “What?!”
Me(Portuguese) “We’re in the line. LOOK FIREWORKS!”
RBP(Portuguese) “Ooooooo.”

Don’t take a slice of my pie

Posted in Blog on July 25, 2005 by trevorgregg

/* Editor’s Note – The following two pages contain a list of recommended reading / listening from Nate to Trevor and Trevor to Nate. After approximately three thousand “Have you ever read…” conversations, the decision was made to write up mandatory media lists for one another. Although these lists are woefully incomplete, they are a start, and Our Heroes will surely get around to reading each others’ recommendations promptly upon their return to the English-speaking world…*/

Nate’s List, for Trevor

Comics

Mage (Two Series) – A Hero Discovered / A Hero Defined

Invisibles vol. 1 ***
Astro City
SCUD
Hitman
Uncle Sam Kurt Busek? Alex Ross
Dark Knight Returns
Poison Elves
Early Wolverine comics

Books

Welcome to the Monkey House – Vonnegut
Galapagos – Vonnegut
Papillon
100 Years of Solitude – GGM
Om (The story of?)

Trevor’s List, for Nate

Books
Dune by FH ******************
Beloved by Toni Morrison
The Scar – China Mieville (for fun)
The Sparrow / Children of God – Mary Doria Russell
The Magus – ?
Tales of Macabre something something – HP Lovecraft
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
On The Beach – Neville Shute
Dhalgren – Samuel Delany?
Lord Foul’s Bane – Samuel R Donaldson?

Muzak to burn for Nate
Tupac
Beck
Smashing Pumpkins

Tops

Posted in Blog on July 25, 2005 by trevorgregg

9 de Julho, Rio de Janeiro, Rodoviária
6:30 PM

I watched the sun set as we crossed Rio’s giant bridge. How very zen, being in Rio for a total of four hours and seeing the sun both rise and set.

No direct routes from Búzios or Cabo Frio to Paraty, so we’re forced to double back through Rio. On a trip where forward movement, where progress, is so important, it feels like a capital crime. Which way is forward, you ask? Fools. Forward is any way but back.

Last night was… acceptable. We met some local girls who weren’t prostitutes, which I believe to be the exception rather than the rule. A town like Búzios caters to the wealthy and the spoiled, and as such it offers all the accommodations its guests are willing to pay for. Beaches. Boats. Ice Cream. Underage Hookers. All the things that bring smiles to the bloated and greying.

We found three nice ones, however. Their names escape me. We repeated the same old cycle, impressing them with Portuguese and humor, then hitting them with the surprise left hook and telling them we’re neither 30 nor Italian.

One flaw, or perhaps it’s a blessing, of mine is that I am completely unable to visualize myself from an outsider’s perspective. I’ve been told this is my greatest strength and flaw in the same breath. Time and time again, I’m mistaken for a late 20’s / early 30’s Italian or Spaniard, and yet every time it comes as a shock to me.

It leads me to wonder, then, how others we’ve encountered in our travels view me. Not in any kind of childish, self-conscious, do-they-think-i’m-cool sort of way, but in a broader, more holistic and curious sense.

An example. We met Elizabeth and Meitol and spent a total of about four days in their company. Although we became friends fast, I wonder just who it is they think they’ve made friends with. They know me, us, entirely without context; a single, four day first impression, floating in the void. It would interest me greatly to know how one of them would describe me to an impartial observer.

Strange, metaphysical thoughts in this sanitarium-green bus station. A wound in my foot, minor at first, grows more painful and swollen with each passing day. I fear the feverish, weakened state I’m currently in is a result of some hellish jungle infection, spreading through my veins up my calf like black ink through a tissue. Thus far, a strict schedule of 12-14 hours of sleep her night combined with an insanely high-protein diet has kept me healthy, healthier even than when in the States. Now, however, with a red and festering gash inviting all the world’s bacteria into my bodily fortress, I fear the worst. Who knows what mutant, Herculean germs exist in this feral, savage land. I could catch anything from tuberculosis to lycanthropy wandering barefoot on these beaches.

Nothing can be done at this point. I’ll continue my gorging diet, keep up with my intense sleeping schedule, and lather on the Neosporin.

Sickness is simply not an option at this juncture.

Paraty, here we come.

-T.

Even in his youth, he was not well

Posted in Blog on July 25, 2005 by trevorgregg

8 de Julho, 6:30 PM

The sun is back.

We spent most of last night at our spot, the locals bar. Hissing and hollering at the tourist girls, we sat for hours drinking beer with sailors, cooks, and droves of off-duty waiters. Our presence was at first an awkward thing, and they afforded us a small halo in the center of the bar. Foreigners are not invited here, but our money is as pink as the next man’s, and after an hour or so they warmed up to us.

It was there that a raspy, drunken, cross-eyed fisherman named João told me that someone blew up the London subway. Later, Brazilian CNN confirmed.

Wonderful.

Nate and I flew into a bitter argument. Incensed by the stupidity of the world, of the ridiculousness of fanaticism and war in America and the East, I paced uncontrollably. We wandered the streets, beer in hand, shouting in English at each other about the responsibilities of every human to peace, freedom, and progress. Wary Germans and dour Argentinians scattered from our path.

Raging about Nationalism and Idealism and the hypocrisy of the Christian Right… these are not common diversions in tropical Búzios.

People come to places like this to escape the world of violence, of injustice. Of smoke and blood in the streets. You can tell by the looks on their faces. Hollywood brand cigarette in one hand and screaming, sand-caked toddler in the other, flabby, decadent foreigners roam the beaches paying for freedom from concerns like subway bombs and shrapnel.

I walked and yelled and drank off the hate last night, and now I’m too weary to transcribe the three-hour rant. Suffice it to say that it frustrates me to no end. The world, that is.

Today, today was better. Without the rain and the cold and the dark, it’s hard for me to raise those same furies that flowed so freely last night. Too bad the sun isn’t as bright and the beaches as warm everywhere in the world.

Búzios has its own special set of concerns. Tropical worries are a whole different breed. Fishing bees out of my cocktail and watching the daughters of rich Norwegians over my sunglasses… adequate sunscreen distribution and careful restaurant choices… these are Búzios worries. The world can be a horrible place. But not here.

Tonight is Friday, Sexta-feira. Hopefully the streets and bars will fill a little more, the music will be a little louder, and the rain will stay away. Tomorrow we’re on the move again. It’s time.

-T.

Legal gymnastics

Posted in Blog on July 25, 2005 by trevorgregg

6th Julho, 11:30 PM

Damn this weather.

Tired of wandering the slippery streets, we’ve returned home. We found solace for a while, discovering the only worthwhile bar in this town. While every other place is deserted, or populated solely by pairs or triples of loud Americans or jabbering Danes, our bar was packed with natives. The kind of glorious place Americans cross the street to avoid.

All else tonight… All else is boredom, restlessness. I spent the last hours half-watching Catch Me If You Can in Portuguese, half listening to the round table discussion by the Argentinians in the lobby. Perhaps Argentinian. More likely Bolivian. Or Paraguayan. Is that the right word, Paraguayan? High speed Spanish for hours on end. These people make late night conversation an art form. How worthless. Bad mouthing the States perpetually as well. I can hear you, you fuckers, and I speak as much Spanish as you do. Stop talkin shit.

Strange pairs in this discussion. I’ve had so little exposure to the rest of South America outside of Brazil that these foreigners make no sense to me. Countries down here are their own little worlds, and these people are even more alien in BR than I. Capoeira, Portuguese, lazy as shit… If I could sit through a soccer game and stop being so sarcastic, they’d give me citizenship here.

But these weird bastards…

Argentinians, like the eucalyptus in California, are transplants which have come to flourish and dominate an entire ecosystem. Argentina is a suburb of Europe, and they rep it so hard. Haughty, aristocratic airs and a black turtleneck don’t mean you’re part of the First World, son. But good try.

The primary combatants in our featured round-table were the hotel clerk (not the grinning, grizzled Brazilian we kick it with, but the dour Spanish speaker) and the short, pudgy bastard from the room above ours. Chain smoking and making spontaneous, uninsightful remarks were their two gorgeous girlfriends.

You knew I was paying attention for a reason, didn’t you?

What kind of savage world do we live in that a chunky Bolivian and a god damn desk clerk with nothing better to do than talk shit into the wee hours get women like these?!?

Have you ladies ever even seen a Cadillac?

These people disgust me.

It frustrates me that, from a comprehension standpoint, my Spanish is completely intact. I can understand their (almost) every uninformed, overly politicized word. And yet as my Portuguese grows, my Spanish fails at every turn. I can’t seem to contain both languages in my mind simultaneously. If I speak Portuguese like a fourth grader, I speak Spanish like a toddler with Down syndrome. These cursed Romantic languages and their never-ending tenses run together in my brain like spilt chemicals. Of course my Spanish sounds terrible, it’s 70% Portuguese and 30% Mexican.

Fucking Bolivians.

Nothing to do on a night like this but sit in the entry-way and write.

Lucky you.

This trip has certainly brought to light the complex and blurred sense of nationalism that runs so thick in my blood. It’s a strange time to be a patriotic American, friends, strange indeed. There are so many grasping, twisting forces at work on every level that it becomes almost impossible to articulate. I’ll give it a whirl anyway.

Let’s start with the Loyalty Hierarchy, a graded scale of allegiances which I rep. This doesn’t include family or friends, obviously. Purely abstract political entities.

1) Hayward. (What what)
2) California (Knows how to party)
3) America (Fuck yeah)
4) Earth (> all other planets)

What this means is that if Hayward went to war with California, I’d join Hayward. If it was CA vs. the US, I’d go CA. You get The Idea.

I rep these things because I think it’s worthwhile. Each is meaningful and awesome in either a personal or global fashion. Thus, when involved in political discussions with non-Americans, I feel almost obliged to defend my shit.

Don’t think this means I stand up for shady shit my political identities of choice have done or continue to do. A Brazilian tells me the U.S. sucks, I’ll argue.

A Brazilian tells me Bush is Evil Incarnate, I’ll buy him a drink and shake his hand.

America’s record, especially in the last few years, is dodgy at best; it’s of no surprise to me that 90% of the world thinks we’re a nation of brutes and murderers. I don’t blame them; we’ve done atrocious shit for a long time, and lately it’s gotten even worse. Iraq. Iraq again. Panama. Vietnam. The Navajos. We’re a savage and warmongering nation, how could anyone who watches CNN think any differently?

Having someone from a country where people starve to death, illiteracy is rampant, and crime is widespread look down on me because my nation still uses the death penalty… it sucks.

It sucks especially because he’s right.

I can’t go to bat for my government, they’re corrupt, bloodthirsty swine with no respect for the rights of their own citizens, let alone citizens of the world. I can’t even go to bat for My People, because there are a disproportionate amount of American douchebags who support said government in all its bloody glory.

And yet, some flickering molecule of me still thinks my home is the shit. We’re not perfect, but we’re the best so far, a noble experiment in civilized freedom unlike any history has ever known. What about Mark Twain? The Blues? Thomas Jefferson? R. Kelly? What about all the good things?

I don’t know. It’s hard.

Hell, we avoid Americans every day down here. We’re more disgusted with them than the natives are. Lumbering, pasty brutes like those monstrosities from Carolina are the only Americans they know. Imagine if the only exposure you had to Americans was through Linkin Park, MTV, Fox News and fat southerners.

God help us if aliens land in Carolina. They’ll vaporize us all, for the good of the galaxy.

People in America also have the strange, completely incorrect notion that the U.S. has no culture.

No culture my ass.

Despite our spiraling economy and grievous incompetence as a superpower, our chief export to the world ( and Brazil in particular) is our culture. Everyone here listens to American music. Everyone. Every fifteen year old you meet wants to know if you’ve seen “Emee Nehm” or “Pehla Jyam”(Pearl Jam) or “Gonz e Hauzez” (GNR) in concert. Everyone wears Engrish shirts, American style T’s with random, completely meaningless phrases pasted all over them. The girls wear things that say “Amusing Flowers” or “Fun Girl” or “100 % Party Attitude”, the guys “Fed Up With It All NYC” or “Win Go Surfwild” or “American Grafit”. They have no damn idea what they say, just that American = cool. The big hits at the movie theatre are Sr. e Sra Smith, Cruzada (Kingdom of Heaven), and Guerra das Estreias Tres (Star Wars episode 3).

The love / hate relationship is brutal. Some treat you like a living god, others like a diseased rat. A weird time to be an American, without a doubt.

I meet a Brazilian, and they’re flattered with my familiarity with their culture and language. We talk culture, politics, the world… I apologize for my country, and they breathe a little easier knowing we aren’t all Christian Marines with guns on our hips and wallets made of Iraqi orphan scalps.

Sigh.

HST was right. The downward spiral of dumbness is in full effect. Our time has passed, and now the idiots and the Christians are speeding us to our doom. One day the dollar will give in completely, like a drunk Sophomore on prom night. Then all bets are off. Tanks and bombs and frumjillion-dollar missile defense systems and John Mellencamp and the NRA and the 700 Club and Jesus Your Lord and Oprah and Ford and the Wayans Brothers and the Stars and the Stripes can’t do shit against globalization. It’d take a god damn miracle to save us now. Babylon burns.

Then again, what the hell do I know.

I’m just a lonely atheist who voted for Kerry, watching the geckos eat mosquitoes and listening to the hiss of jungle rain in the night.

-T.

Ohmygod Danny Devito, I love your work!

Posted in Blog on July 25, 2005 by trevorgregg

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.