Thursday, June 5, 2008

Crossing wires

The last week was tough! I was sick, ornery, lonely, and bored. Thankfully, futebol can kick your troubles away. It’s a national placebo here, and I’m a sucker. There were two big games on last night: Corinthians versus Sport for the Copa do Brasil (game one of two), and Fluminense versus Boca Juniors for the Copa Libertadores (final) which I chose to watch. Boca scored first, but “Flu” evened it up with a delicious penalty shot. 1x1. I nervously chomped my fingernails, hoping the decision wouldn’t come down to penalty kicks – I hate those. They create too much stress for the spectator, let alone the poor goalkeeper. Wheeeee! GOOOOOOOOOOLLLL do Fluminense! 2x1 at 26 minutes, 2nd half! GOOOOOOOOOOLLLL do Fluminense! 3x1 at 49 minutes, 2nd half. Flu wins! Hoorah! However, I won’t be getting a manicure any time soon.

Today was sunny and in the 70’s (not bad for “winter”), and I felt sunny inside too—a pleasant change. I went to pilates, cleaned my apartment, did laundry, made fresh juice, taught a class, and strolled around Centro casually doing errands.

I received a pleasant email from Pierre, the Frenchman I met in Rio, who was leaving today for New York City. He sent his impressions of Salvador (on Brazil’s north coast), as I requested, and included a link to a 15-second video clip he shot in central Rio on one of our walks.

Backtracking for a second… the night before said walk, I mentioned I was a cheerleader (a fact I am neither proud nor ashamed of) while we were watching Eliseu and Dudu play futebol in the park. Lívia, the hostel’s resident bartender, found this rather entertaining and there was a bit of teasing. Cheerleading is an entirely American thing and I’ve yet to meet a foreigner who, if the topic arises, doesn’t react with an air of mockery. So it was a rather entertaining coincidence when, out walking the very next day, we came across an exhibition by the University of Southern California marching band and cheerleading squad. I haven’t a clue why they were performing there in front of Câmara Municipal (a government building), but they were. (I just googled the incident and learned that they also performed at Maracanã before the Flamengo x Inter game, which I attended. I must have arrived too close to kick-off because I didn’t see them.)

So Pierre sent a link to the video of the USC group which he posted on his travel blog*. We never discussed it, so I didn’t know he’s doing the exact same thing—documenting his journey with insights and photos for family and friends on the web. Funny, he even has a similar departure post, precisely one month before mine.

Crossing wires. I once wrote about sitting in a station waiting for my train from Budapest to Vienna, watching all the people hustling about. Commuters, travelers, visitors—people walking every which way—each with their own matter to attend to, their own family and friends, their own joys and sorrows, their own intricate stories. I thought about the crowds in airports, and rush-hour in Chicago, Moscow, Barcelona, Hong Kong. I thought about all the people, about 6-degrees-of-separation, and about possibility.

Thanks, Pierre, for that rather timely reminder.