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of masters and margaritas

28 Mar

I´ve had computer access all week, but not a blog entry to show for it, which is weird, because I feel like I´ve got a lot to say, just don´t know exactly what.

I´ll start with the apartment, which is where I left off last week, and which has been making my parents nervous I am sure.

It´s an open aired flat with veranda doors and large windows, hammocks and pillows, gardens and fresh fruit, and hindu touches, like a rule that says no shoes in the house.  And no meat too.  and I must say, I really like it here, epecially the comfortable white couch by the window over looking the favela. That´s where I like to sit back and do some reading.  There´s an exhaustive library, from which Ricky passed on a book to me, that of the Master and Margarita, a contemporary Russian novel that I´m currently trying to digest before its time to move onto Bolivia.

I should also mention that the author of the said Russian novel tends to write in long winded sentences, sometimes failing to take a breath, and I think this entry might be responding to 70 pages of such writing.

What else? I am good, maybe not happy, but comfortable.  I saw another soccer match, this time on my own with the pretty girl in white. An assortment of threatening Brazilians cut us in line while we waited for tickets and we found ourselves just a few people shy of getting the seats that we wanted. So we ended up in the less rowdy section of the stadium, away from the drums but closer to the field where we balacned each other while standing up top a single chair, trying to peer over the excited fans, who would get condsiderably less excited as the game went on, when their team failed to score any goals, just as the other team scored two.  We ducked out of the match early, upset that our boys had taken such a beating and whitnessed several crazy Vasco fans stealing the jersey of a man supporting the losing side.  Apparently there are two different subway stops for each team, existing exactly for this sort of reason.  But this was a fact we were unaware of, and apparently the fan of the losing team was too.

These were two teams with an intense old rivalry but we managed to leave the scene easily enough and unbruised.  Afterward we grabbed a few beers and food and the pretty girl in white also had a heart wrapped in white as well. How do I know? I growled unhappily at the passing beggars, who were interrupting my meal.  She passed them on gently though, and gave our food away when we were done. Brazil is a country of contradictions and as two people sat merrily at a cafe table outside, two others had not a bean to eat.

, but she setBujust took a just a few peopl

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A Spot of Bother

2 Mar

I picked up this book in Argentina, and only finished it now.  Which I guess says something. Overall, it’s not a book I would recommend, especially not to someone in my fraternity.

It started out corny and has some graphic scenes that I would rather not think about again.  But it picked up towards the end and I actually found myself laughing outloud.  The author has a comical touch.

But he seems more like a blogger, not a novelist.  The writing was better equipped for the internet I thought, maybe for a funny magazine article.  Maybe that’s just a product of our generation though.

In the end, the book was about the importance of family, and things said and unsaid, missed opportunities, and misperceptions, though I never actually found myself thinking about any of those things.

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The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo

22 Feb

I woke up this morning after a dream, or maybe it was a nightmare, about getting a tatoo on my back to scare my parents.  Only the tatoo artist made it a lot larger than I wanted and by the end, an image of a thorny vine, tree trunk thing would cover my whole back.  Maybe all that drinking is starting to have side effects…

Anyway, it reminded me of a book I just finished so I thought I would scribble down my thoughts.

It was dangersouly close to being awful, teetering closely to a whole slew of cliches, from torture chambers to religious sects to the 21st century internet/hacker heroine.  But it managed to do it incredibly well and the book was a real page turner.  It’s really timely too with a critical view of banking and should be made into a movie immeditaly.

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Haha, I just read a professional review of the book from the Times which was a lot more critical, but really true as well. The ending was less than plausible and the protagonist was likeable, but tailor made for a screenplay, not a novel in that he seems a bit cookie cutter and too good to be true.

Che

29 Jan

I finished a textbook of a biography about Che Guevara while I was sick in Puerto Madryn.

I felt like I had lost a friend.

Not because he was a figure without blemishes, but because the book provided the most extensive account of a person I’ve ever read.

Let me explain: It felt completly voyaristic to read about someone’s life so thoroughly as I had just done so.  Everything from his sexual adventures as a teenager to his relationship with his father to the guerilla war in Cuba was recorded.

My thoughts on Che?

The book implied that Che was driven to guerilla warfare because of psyschologcal needs for comradery and a sense of fullifment after finding a cause he can believe in.

Sounds like someone I can relate to.  Especially since he found his cause while vagabonding.

But it’s such a shame that a man so seemingly smart and flexible adopted a philosphy so rigid.  Once he found marxism, he nievely read Russia’s textbooks on economics and swallowed every word as fact.  And he was unwavering in his belief that revolution can only be won with force, putting him up against moderates who wanted to create change using elections, even if they were communists as well.

I don’t think he was a sociopath.  It might seem like he was after he personally spearheaded the executions of former Cuban leaders and shot many in the head himself.  But he didn’t seem like he wanted power, never challenging Fidel for power and actually leaving the country when he could have had it all. Plus, he worked too damn hard and his first wife was sort of ugly, so it doesn’t fit the profile.

He was probably just someone who truly believed in his ideals.  The problem was, that he expected of others what he expected from himself.  And that’s impossible.

In the end, he remains someone to be admired.  Force isn’t the best answer, but some might ask what choice he really had.  It becomes increasingly hard to defend American policies of the 50s and on, when the economic interests of a few corporations dictated US foreign policy and the CIA was a plaything of the rich.

We assassinated leaders we did not like and rigged elections to our liking.  The question is whether that justifies guerrilla warfare. And what can we learn from it.

Books to look into from here, Ron Paul, Cuba, Socialism in Latin America, Bolivia.