Birds of Paradise

Trip Start Jun 16, 2006
1
4
23
Trip End Aug 15, 2006


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Sunday, June 25, 2006

So I had a quiet night last night. I needed it. At least I wasnīt drunk. Sleeping in the garden. Or the garage. Or in the laundry room getting bit by mosquitoes. Like I did all these times I got locked out of the house in Mexico last summer. Damn homestay family.

I really needed the sleep because Iīve been sick as hell and I am trying to recover. I ate some food in Rio that did not agree with my stomach. Maybe it was the water. Or maybe it was the beans. Or maybe it was everything, we had but couldnīt keep. I have the stomach flu or something. An 18 hour plus bus ride from Rio didnīt help either. You could certainly say it wasnīt pleasant. The woman next to me coughed relentlessly. I thought she was going to win the world championship of coughing. And just in front of me somebody snores. The entire way to the south of Brazil.

And I haveīt eaten in two days because everytime I do, it feels like knives in my belly. Iīve eaten just a little bread, some watermelon, and a powerbar. I tell myself that the human body can go for a couple weeks without food. I tell myself that the human body can go for a few days without sleeping. And the bus ride persists.

When they put Mission Impossible on I thought Tom Cruise was going to rescue my voyage with his incredible acting skills. But unfortunately, the DVD kept skipping. Iīll have to save my anticipation for MI3, Tom, when I get back to the States.

The only saving grace was making interesting conversation with my seatmate. He was some guy who I think has a ridiculous lifestyle. He is a fisherman for two weeks in the South of Brazil (where he lives), then he works in industry north of Rio for the other two weeks--he said something about "fogo" (fire) or something so Iīm guessing he works in steel. He has a 23 hour commute every two weeks between Rio and Santa Caterina, a state in the south of Brazil. He has seven kids to feed, so well, shit.

I like to think of him as a sort of Brazilian Bruce Springsteen--He was wearing jeans, a jean jacket and had a scruffy beard thing going. Maybe Iīll look like that in 20 years. I can only hope. He sure didnīt like the cold though, when we talked about the weather he could only mention over and over again "todo ruim" (everything bad) about the cold.

He thought I was a Brazilian who worked in the United States. Maybe it was a compliment. But maybe he was crazy, my language skills certainly havenīt progressed that far and I could barely understand much of what he was saying.

Anyway, after a fantastic night of traveling on the bus, I am now in Florianapolis renting a cabin near the beach for a few days. Since it is not exactly the tourist season right now, it is a bargain. Florianapolis is a sleepy beach town principally concerned with fishing and surfing. It is definitely a little colder than Rio, I need my jacket at night, good thing I brought that along. The main thing I came here in search of was tranquility, and I think I have found it. I seem to be the only foreigner in town. I feel a bit like Hemingway or Henry David Thoreau, camping out in my cabin next to a great body of water.

What have I been doing? Sleeping primarily. I slept 12 hours last night. That was damn good. This morning I went for a quick 20 minute run and then got some acai and granola for breakfast (blended fruit drink with berries from the amazon). I guess you could say my body has become one big juicy vitamin. I guess you could say this baby has grown up to be a cowboy. Maybe my stomach is doing better.

The tele was also sweet the past couple of days. I watched the Argentine and English soccer games. Two really sweet goals by Maxi Rodriguez and David Beckham. The O.C. and Smallville were also on, although quite disturbing when dubbed over in Portuguese.

I also walked on the beach for a ways today and did some sunbathing. I saw a bunch of dead penguins, quite a strange sight. I didnīt think they could make it this far north. Maybe it is due to global warming or something like that. Al Gore, the worldīs greatest climatologist and sea life biologist(pending Jacques Cousteau), will have to help me out with that one. There was one live penguin that was sitting on the beach looking like it was about to die. I just stared at it. A Brazilian couple came up to it and the man tried to put it back into the water. I thought it was a rather foolish thing to do, but hey, to each his own.

I get strange looks here because probably I am one of the few foreigners. Or I am starting to look like a backpacker troll person. You know what Iīm talking about. Those smelly foreigners with the birdīs nest hairdos and the teva sandals.

Iīve made the transformation from carioca beach bum (styling Rio de Janeiro resident with flip flops and shark necklace) to dirty old man Eder. I donīt know, I believe I am the reincarnation of Che Guevara, the sex symbol of Latin America, but all my friends are convinced that I look like Fidel Castro. Bastards. Weīll see when I get into Bs.As. I think the porteno in me will re-awaken and it will be time for a bleached blond Argey Mullet haircut. I know youīre all looking forward to it.

Tonight I want to eat seafood. And meat on a stick in the street. And do some low-brow drinking in my cabin. But I fear I am too sick. But hey, you need to look at the bright side of things, always. At least Iīm being cured of my coffee addiction (canīt drink that, hurts the stomach too much) and I donīt get the withdrawal headaches anymore.
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Comments

lxs
lxs on

amazing
all that i have read, all that i have learned cannot compare to the experience you are having. I am a latin american history major and Brazil has always intrigued me. The class structure, where women fit in, and the unyeilding beauty of the landscape. think of how it must have looked when the Portuguese colonized. having only seen home video footage of sao palo and movie images of rio i envy you and wish you the best of luck. continue to learn from the southern hemisphere and their people. indulge in every drop of real. stay safe i look forward to reading more
alexis

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