I’m literally in the middle of nowhere. I just moved to Natal, northeast Brazil, for a gig at the laboratory of the most polemic Brazilian researcher ever. I’d describe his appreciation as a very skewed bimodal distribution.
Adaptation has been tough tho. Job hasn’t started yet and I’m still airbnb-ing. My host has a cat – friendly but quite demanding – and a parrot. Yes, a parrot. I had to remind myself how common and even funny this is in a South American context. But when he vocalizes ‘amigo’, it’s just so bizarre and odd. Not bad just so so bizarre. Even more for being posted at the Boston Iron Blog. So, I decided that the cambriville folks deserve to see a pic of him.
If Natal is a state capital and it didn’t realize yet (there is little to do over here), our offices are in a lost land that indeed exists. As controversial as it might sound my current messy mindset about this place, the curious facts didn’t finish yet.
Natal is one of the capitals that were once upon a time part of Dutch Brazil. It was known as New Amsterdam, title attributed to NYC nowadays – at least for some. The Portuguese took it over when the Dutch realized Natal was not a good market colony anymore. And there we are, Brazilians, embodying our Portuguese heritage of being fulfilled with little – both in good and bad aspects of it. Oh, comfort zone, were you lost on the graving of the ancient Portuguese endeavours that launched their chance over seas?
By the way, I started reading Zorba, by Niko Kazantzakis, and it brings me so much about the faith and roughness of lost sailors. Am I one of them? For sure, leaving home behind and loosing the concept of it makes one as tough as sailors’ hands. The rope is there and I’m with it. Strings attached everywhere but one has two eyes: one for the wheel, the other to the rope.
“Dutch Brazil” on @Wikipedia:
Last weekend I visited an iconic site in Brazil: the sanctuary of Nossa Senhora Aparecida. This saint is the Brazilian patroness.
The first intriguing thing about this place is the numbers. During the religious holiday celebrating Our Lady of Aparecida, up to 300,000 pilgrims visit the basilic during the weekend. People come from everywhere including across seas. The parking lot? 6,000 cars, but most of the visitors travels for a couple of days by bus to reach the Basilic.
The second and most intriguing thing to me is the faith and humiliation expressed by devotees paying tribute or bring their offerings to the saint. Some walk on their knees for about 4 km, others carry heavy figurines of Aparecida or a cross.
The take away:
* it is hard not to be touched by the atmosphere of this place. There are so many people desiring the good, trusting, offering their life, so humble …. it is indeed overwhelming
* beyond faith resides business. Catholic priest and admins, Jewish, Muslims which own a small – mostly informal – businesses … all of them make business life in Aparecida’s city really active. There is no single way of exploiting the devotees’ faith that hadn’t been used in that town. In the end, everything comes to money.
what should I bring?
Hmm… From Montreal?
Riopelle Ile-aux-Grues 
Because poutine doesn’t travel well enough
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 sure he meant the fromage crossing the boarder
you will get me in trouble for lactose intolerance, of course
When I was a child (I wish I’m still one*), I used to play with kites. I was quite good at it, meaning I could do crazy shit with it. But the best of all was to frown looking at the kite/sun, to run, to be with friends and to see the kites’ colors.
I’ve been thinking about the acquaintances in life as kites. Sometimes you lose your line and you watch your kite flying away from you. It is important to let it go. Sometimes, an unexpected kite tangle into yours, you can both fall down together or you can untangle, who knows. In the end of the day, the magic is to know people and learn something with this experience.
Living in Brazil after years apart is being really rich and intense. It started by a week long retreat with Ayahuasca and other forest plants (kambo, chiric-sanango, tabacco tea). It was a life changing experience. Later, I started taking care of my hip and my whole body came into play, it’s been overwhelming: I can’t really say I recognize myself and my life. it’s a rescue.
Back to the kite… what happens in the air, stays in the air. simple as this. there is no full control when comes to fluids (goddammit I remember fluid mechanics class). I don’t know about yours, but my life has only turbulent fluids. I guess laminar life is only a theoretical approximation one could use in case the turbulent assumption is too overwhelming to derive.
I fucking hate when I complain about my life. It is exactly how I’ve chosen it to be. Why do I complain then? The chaos is so logical that disturbs. It makes total sense and the sense changes according to my understanding. gotcha?
“I can’t help it… if you think I’m odd” (nico)
“you know I’m no good” (amy)
for a beautiful sweet kite that flew away from me today. go find happiness.
* I do suffer from Peter Pan’s syndrome, and I’m happy for it