First, I want to start the new year giving thanks to you, my readers, for traveling with me this far. I know I’m not very communicative via the comments section, but I sincerely appreciate every person who looks at my blog and takes away even the smallest bit of inspiration – be it to travel, to encourage someone else to travel, to move overseas, to start a blog, or to bring an end to a dead-end situation.
The purpose of Fly Brother is indeed to inspire and encourage a positive interaction between the reader and international travel, albeit through a very specific demographic lens. But then, the way I experience the world – as black, as an American, as a man, as a son, as a lover, as a writer, as an educator, as someone who passes for Latino or Arabic or Canadian when need be – isn’t necessarily all that specific, either. Regardless of its specificity or universality, I hope that my writing grants a minimum of disappointment and maximum of fulfillment in 2011, and beyond. And I hope you stick around to see where we go next.
Thank you, well and truly, for reading.
Second, as we’ve started the Year of Consolidation here at Fly Brother, it pains me to say that I’ve had to sell my lovely Fiat Palio Fire Economy, Negrita. I’ve only had her for seven months, and she really is a dandy companion, especially when traffic’s light and the music’s right. Still, I bought her when I lived in Brasília and needed a car most desperately. Since moving to São Paulo – very much New York when it comes to traffic volume and lack of cheap or adequate parking – she’s become a liability. That being said, I’ve not sold her in a traditional way. I’ve exchanged her with a good buddy of mine who’s also a personal trainer. I’m going back to a serious weight-training regimen and was able to get four one-hour training sessions a week, plus a nutrition plan, in exchange for allowing my trainer unlimited use of Negrita. Of course, I’d still pay the monthly car note, but in the end, I get his services for 40% of what he normally charges and he gets to get rid of his miniscule, boxy, burgundy really-very-late-model Fiat Idontknowwhat. I can also snag her back for a couple hours or a weekend when need be. Either way, considering the value of his services, I think I’m getting an excellent deal.
Meanwhile, I’m going to miss riding around in my little Negri. Traffic in São Paulo is a total cluster fuck, no doubt, but it’s less about the volume than about how silly and slow these people drive. [Begin rant here] They’re like drunken penguins, bobbing about between lanes, driving ten kilometers under the speed limit, sitting through green lights, stopping at yellow lights!, straddling the lane markers, riding their brakes, ssssssslllllllloooooowwwwwlllllllllyyyyyyy turning right from the left-hand lane! Just holing up progress, in general. In Brasília, seat of government and power, people had important places to be and they expected to get there as quickly as possible and drove like it. I liked that, as I have the innate necessity to be everywhere in 20 minutes, regardless of distance. Not here in São Paulo. There’s always some damn body in the way. And don’t
even get me started on the motoboys [End rant here]. It’s probably for the best that I’m handing over the keys to someone else and going the way of public transport. Goodbye, mi negrita linda!
Here’s video of me on my way home from work, coursing through the very cool and futuristic Ayrton Senna Tunnel underneath the city’s expansive Ibirapuera Park (I love this tunnel; you wouldn’t know it was named after a race car driver, the way these folk creep along). I tried to go as fast as I could, but you can see the blockers in full effect. If you listen closely towards the end, you can even hear a bit of profanity. 😉
Take a ride with me: