1 February 2000
Jeffrey Luke's Brazil Diary
São Paulo, Brazil

Today I set out to work hard and work smart.  I sat down and wrote about each internet café I have ever used in Brazil.  I thought about the Brazilian teenagers, the twenty-somethings, the tourists, and Americans on their way over here.  They want to know where to find the best cyber cafés so they won't have to search around like I did.  They want to know the score without sitting through the whole game.

So what I did was write just as I do for this Brazil Diary, only I wrote a bunch of thumbnail sketches about each internet café.  I wrote as colorfully as I could, making it as alive as I could.  I worked for hours.  When I finally finished the writing, my head started spinning from all of the work, I ventured onto the streets to go make photos in some of the cafés.  I thought that having a few photos to accompany the text would be just the right touch.  I want to make this web site like a little pocket guidebook, something with pictures your eyes like, and words for your mind.  The first café I went to told me I could not photograph inside without permission from management, and it quickly became a chore.  I moved on to another café, and finally made a few good photos.

Now I have to translate all of my text into Portuguese, develop my photos, and start to collage it all together.  This is a lot of work, but it is fun.

I missed Sabina at breakfast today, and again as I charged across the streets of São Paulo, dodging the   crazy Paulista drivers.  I missed running through traffic, arm-in-arm with her.

I have been thinking about my decision not to go to Rio with Sabina, but I have no doubt in my mind that I made the right choice.  At one point I  almost told her that I would travel with her...I thought I could go back to zip.net in a week or two and try to connect then.  But Susan had opened the window of opportunity by mentioning the idea about the cyber café travel site, and I think it is time to jump.

The way I see this, if destiny wants me to be with Sabina again, it will happen.  If I don't make the effort to see her one day, or if she doesn't try to find me, then our friendship was a result of her situation and our proximity...and wasn't meant to last forever.

Still, our first day apart reminded me how much I miss her.

2 February 2000
Jeffrey Luke's Brazil Diary
São Paulo, Brazil

I went out to dinner with some of my Brazilian friends the other night.  They were all girls, they had met Sabina last week, and they wanted to make sure I didn't have too much saudade (missing, longing, sadness) now that she is gone.  They couldn't understand why I didn't go with her.  I tried to explain, but didn't get much understanding from them.

Iara (say "YARA") was one of the girls there.  She is a psychologist, and she told us about how she has been very upset lately.  She's in her mid-twenties, and has a brother, a little bit older than her.  He has lived at home, with their mother and his fianceé, for years.  Iara has long since moved out and found her own apartment.  She is a very independent person.

Iara feels slighted that her big brother is about to move to Rio with her mother and his fianceé.  First, she thinks that her brother should move into an apartment with his wife-to-be, that he is too old to live with his mom (aparently mom really likes living with her son).  Second, she says that her future sister-in-law is very competitive with her, and for this reason Iara doesn't like dealing with her.  And third, Iara is envious because her brother is getting a big break on rent, since her mother pays for her brother's living expenses.  She's afraid that her brother will have more money than her in the future because of this arrangement. Their mother pays for their apartment here in São Paulo, and will do the same when they move to Rio.

The story sounded a lot like a story I had heard a while ago about the Prodigal Son, so I shared the plot with Iara.  A father had two sons, and one of them stayed at home with his dad and tended to the farm, took care of responsibilities, while the other traveled all over without a care in the world.  When the traveling son returned, the father rewarded him with land and gifts and plenty of food.  The son who had been responsible and stayed at home felt cheated that his brother received such gifts after leading a carefree life.  The father said he loved them both, and would treat them as he pleased.

Dr. Batista had told me a story which also seemed to relate to Iara's situation with her brother, mother, and future sister-in-law:

Two guys were at a café and one said to the other:

"Your wife is cheating on you."

---"That's her problem,"  the man said.

"But she's cheating on you with your best friend."

---"That's his problem," he said.

"Well, what are you going to do about it?"

---"That's my problem," the man said.

...Dr. Batista's story seemed to hit the nail on the head.  He used to tell me that no matter where you go, you will always have problems.  You can move to another country, they will still come to you like iron to a magnet.  Since you can't solve them all, you really need to know which one's are yours.  I learned so much from Dr. Batista that I use each day.

Iara told me that she has started to save and invest some of the money that she earns from work, and I told her I thought that was a super idea.  It is a practical approach to taking control of her fear of not having enough money in the future.  And if she invests intelligently, she may reap financial benefits beyond her imagination

*                            *                            *

Having plowed through most of the books I have by Brazilian authors, I have begun to read a few books that I bought earlier in my travels, in Belo Horizonte.  I've been reading Aristotle, Henry David Thoreau, Napoleon Hill, and Rudyard Kippling, all translated into Portuguese.  These keep me company in my quieter moments.  I have found a good café, Trigonela, and I hope to get some reading done this evening.  I will sign off here, but before doing so, I'll leave you with a few quotes.  Dr. Batista wrote these on the walls of his office in Curitiba:

"When something new is presented to us, we doubt; because it is easier to find 10 reasons to doubt than 1 reason to believe."
                                --- (Randas Batista)


"If you criticize what's already been done, you arrived late.  You should have helped make it happen!"


Each morning when the gazelle wakes up, he knows that he must run faster than the lion or he will be killed.

Each morning when the lion wakes, he knows that he must run faster than the gazelle or he will die of hunger.

So, when you wake up, don't worry about whether you're a lion or a gazelle --- it's better to just run!


"Whoever thinks that something is impossible, go find someone who's already making it happen!"


"Not everything that we face can be modified, but nothing can be modified until we face it!"


I wish you all a terrific start to February, and thank you for reading the Brazil Diary.

Um Abraço,


e-mail me: jeff@jeffreyluke.com


10 February 2000
Jeffrey Luke's Brazil Diary
São Paulo, Brazil

My alarm clock sounds at 9am and I tap it on top for five more minutes of sleep.  I do this a couple more times until it's time to make my first decision of the day.  Do I go downstairs to have breakfast in my pajamas or take a quick shower, shave, dress, and walk into the breakfast room?  I choose to start the day off right.  I have already tried the pajama approach.  It's just a continuation of the snooze bar.

I slide out of bed and switch on the radio.  I find a station that's playing "Wish You Were Here," by Pink Floyd.  It's a good antidote for the homesickness that hits me when I wake.  I slip into the bathroom, swish Listerine Fresh Burst and turn on the shower.  I don't dare try to adjust the water temperature, as I've been warned of how dangerous these showers can be.  In Brazil they make these cheap showerheads to heat the water.  There are 2 wires that lead into the flowing water.  When you turn on the faucet, a powerful electric current passes through the water, making it hot.

I know that the mixture of water and electricity is deadly.  One of my friends told  me he never takes hot showers.  He said I should move the switch on the showerhead to the middle position (off) with a stick while the shower is off, and just take cold showers.  I have not touched the contraption since I moved into this hotel room a few days ago.  Every time I switch on the shower I fear that it could be my last.  I wear flip-flops, hoping that they will protect me.

I imagine what it would be like to get electrocuted.  That water it would flow over my scalp, my shoulders and back, make my body freeze like a fish stick.  But I wouldn't be cold,  I'd be filled with the hot, deadening bolt of pain that starts in my head, makes my eyeballs bulge out of their sockets, and works its way through my spinal cord.

I would freeze, my lingering thought:  "I must pull myself out of this shower stall, I must throw my body through this plastic shower stall."  But electrocution paralyzes you, you cannot move.  Hot, cold, electrified and stunned I would die alone in the shower in Brazil.  I think the color of electrocution is red.

I have tried to find safer showers in other hotels.  They all use the same showerheads...at least the ones I can afford.  The more expensive hotels heat the water safely in a central tank, just like at Dr. Batista's house.  But now I'm on my own, so I take short showers, trying to dodge the electricity in this game of shower roulette.

São Paulo is so hot and humid that as soon as I get out of the shower I begin to sweat again.  The thin film of car exhaust and truck diesel drifts through my window and onto my neck.  I already feel like I need another shower.  I decide against it and hurry downstairs.  It's 9:29 on the big clock, and again I've made it to the breakfast room one minute before the big white door closes.

I begin to read a short story by Rudyard Kipling.  My father sent me an anthology of stories about photography as my Christmas gift, and it arrived while I was at Dr. Batista's house.  At the time I cursed the book's arrival (just what I need, another thing to lug around through Brazil) and I thought of ditching it on a few occasions as I traveled, giving it to a stranger or friend.

I'm glad I kept the book, as the Kipling story is phenomenal.  "At the End of the Passage" takes place in India around 1889, and the story paints a vivid picture of a hot, humid, dusty place.  The character named Hummil is going crazy, and his comrades don't know whether it's heat apoplexy taking hold, or whether he's going mad.  These men live such dreadful lives that every day they wish they could die.

Halfway through reading this story I put the book down.  I've been so absorbed in the story that I've finished the entire breakfast without noticing the food.  The bleak, dirty, hopeless Indian landscape I've been immersed in feels like São Paulo.  I wake each morning with a throat hoarse from breathing traffic fumes.  As cars accelerate outside my bedroom window, bursts of thick, black cumbustion drift through the wooden slats in the closed window and down my trachea.  Tomorrow I must ask to change rooms.

After breakfast I return to my room, grab my cameras, film, and notepad and go to my first assignment.  It is work I have given myself.  I have already written a thumbnail sketch about every cyber café I have used in Brazil.  Now I must make black & white photos to accompany this article.  For the past two days I have come to this little cyber café.  I have made some good photos here, however I feel like there's something I'm missing.

I arrive at the café at about 10:30 am, and I'm waiting for customers to arrive.  I imagine the best shot I can get here will be of internautas (Brazilian web surfers) using the 5 computers, lit by the morning sun as it pours through the giant picture window.  But there's only one guy using a computer, and he's not an interesting subject.  He leaves, two girls show up.  I ask for their permission to take photos (I've made up a slip for them to sign) and snap a few frames.  Still nothing very inspiring.  I wish I had stayed in bed, just slept right through the morning.  Then I realize that, of course it's slow in this cyber café, Brazilians are asleep, or eating a leisurely breakfast.  A few couples wander in and order coffee, pão de queijo, pastries.  This is so boring.

The computers are up on a tall bench, and somehow this little girl --- she must have been 5-years-old --- has climbed up onto one of the tall chairs in front of an Apple i-Mac computer.  She's racing her hand and mouse across the mousepad, glaring intently at the screen, clicking that little mouse, her eyes following the tiny arrow across the screen.

I'm sitting there, half spacing out, half watching her, and suddenly it clicked:  I SHOULD TAKE THIS PHOTO!

True, this girl did not fit my notion of a Brazilian Internet user, but here we were on Saturday morning in a cyber café, and it´s the little girl who's on-line.  I find her parents, ask for their permission, and once I get it, I go to work, making a few photos in color, a few in black & white.  It went so well.  If I had the idea for this shot and tried to set it up, it would never have worked.  The girl would have to be told to look at the computer and act interested.  But this girl did not have to act at all.  She was alive, she was into it.  Just as I arrived at the last frame on my roll of film, she thrust out her hand and pointed enthusiastically at the screen.  I clicked and captured the decisive moment.  That was my shot.

The Internet is being born in Brazil.  What happened in the U.S. 5 years ago with the birth of Hotmail, Yahoo!, and e-mail is just starting to happen here now.  I am at "ground zero" of the Brazilian Internet frenzy.    Companies like zip.net are growing explosively.  After searching all week for a definitive photo to show the Brazilian Internet in its infancy, I had stumbled across this little gem.

*                 *                 *

When Sabina asked me to go to Rio, I told her that I needed to stay here and keep my eye on the ball.  She didn't know what I meant.  I explained that when I get ready to hit a baseball or tennis ball, I have to focus all of my attention before I make contact.  When that ball gets close, I have to be ALL THERE, mentally and physically, ready to hit.

It is satisfying to hit the ball solidly.  I have found that it takes a combination of relaxation and concentration.

If you take your eye off the ball for an instant, you will fail.  The greatest athletes discipline themselves to maintain focus.  I have photographed Andre Agassiz, Larry Bird, and Wade Boggs.  You can feel their concentration when they're on the court or field.  You can tell a professionals by the way they keep focused, and I recall how Randas kept his hands and mind on one heart for hours on end during surgery.  Nothing distracted him.

So I explained to Sabina that I needed to keep my eye on the ball which is zip.net.  I had to concentrate on making these photographs and this article.  Connecting with Marcos was the reason that I got on a plane and flew to São Paulo, trudging through a downpour to arrive at his office.  I have done nothing but think of ways I can help zip.net since I arrived.  If I were to go to Rio, I would be taking my eye off the ball.

I feel lucky to have been at the cyber café early this morning to find that girl with the computer.  If I had gone to Rio, I would never have taken that picture.  As soon as I made that photo, I packed up my cameras and film and headed home.  Chalk one up for doggedness and hitting the streets on a Saturday morning when staying in bed would have been so much easier.

*                 *                 *

As I walked down the street I saw a man selling soda.  He was sitting on a bucket, stabbing at a Coke can with a pocketknife.  I watched him as I walked by, and my curiosity became so intense I had to stop and watch what he was doing.  Once he'd made two narrow slits in the top of the can, he slid a yellow straw into one and began to drink.

Why had he not opened the can with the pull-tab like everyone else?  I walked up to him and asked.  He told me that he had to make a place to hide the money he makes selling sodas all day long.  The slit he cut is just big enough to stuff dollar bills and coins.  He had made his own "piggy bank," and he could stash it anywhere.  It fit in perfectly with everything that he was selling.  Ask a simple question and get a simple answer.  If I hadn't asked, I would have wondered about that guy for a long time.

*             *             *

As I continue walking down Avenida Faria Lima, I see three "Policia Militar" on horseback.  The usually ride around in cars, so seeing them on horses is a first for me.  As I near them, I can see that they are all wearing thick, grey, bulletproof vests.  It's strange to see calm, brown horses juxtaposed with these mens with guns and vests.

I walk on and before long I run into this guy named Anthony, an American that I met when I first arrived here.  He looks anxious, destracted, nervous.  He tells me that he's all shaken up because when he walked into a luncheonette this afternoon, there was a crowd of people gathered around the front counter.  When he got closer to see what everyone was looking at, he was horrified at what he found.  One of the men who worked there was being electocuted.  He was cleaning the refrigerator with soap and water.  The top of the man's body and arms were in the 'fridge, his legs were dangling out, twitching, splashing about in a pool of water on the concrete floor.

"Some woman had been trying to kick him free," Anthony said.  "She was wearing shoes with these thick rubber soles, and those shoes are the only thing that kept her from getting electrocuted.  I can't believe these people had no idea how to help this guy, they were just standing there, watching.

"So I shouted for someone to shut off the electricity and call an ambulance," Anthony said.  "Then I grabbed a wooden broomstick --- I had to be careful where I stepped because there was water all over the floor --- and started prying the guy out of the refrigerator.  Even though the power was shut off, he was so full of electricity that he was totally rigid and twitching.

"I started giving him CPR, because no one else did anything.  I don't even know CPR except for what I've seen in the movies, so I was just pushing down on his chest and breathing into his mouth, but he didn't respond.  It took the ambulance 30 minutes to arrive, and this is on Avenida Paulista, right smack in the middle of the financial distict.  It's like São Paulo's Wall Street.  If it took that long for help to arrive, can you imagine how long you'd have to wait for help outside of the city," he asked.

I told him how eerie it was to hear his story, especially since I had been worried about showering.  When he heard that I had a showerhead with electric wires, he told me not to use it.  Those things are so *&#$@ dangerous, I can't beleive Brazilians use them.  It's such a basic thing, you should never mix electricity with water.  But they do, I guess they don't know better," he said.

"Look at this guy today.  Why didn't he know to do a basic thing like turn off the electricity before cleaning an electric appliance," he asked.  "There's just a basic lack of education about really simple safety rules."

Anthony shows me his arms, they are bright red and the skin is flaking off.  He tells me that he gets rashes all over his body when he's under stress.  He wonders aloud if the man might have survived.  Then, in a softer, more realistic tone he confides in me.  "After I gave him the CPR, he was totally motionless.  I think he died."

e-mail me: jeff@jeffreyluke.com


14  February 2000
Jeffrey Luke's Brazil Diary
São Paulo, Brazil

Just to let you all know what's been going on in a nutshell,  as you know, I've been trying to get a job at zip.net.  So far, they have been really kind to me over there, and I've met a number of powerful people at the company.  But they can't find a place for me.  The people they are hiring are technical types:  computer programmers, accountants, those with very specific skills.   I want to make big connections, travel the globe and make things happen.  I am not a technician.  The world has plenty.  There are many highly focused people in the world who can't make two and two equal seven, when seven is the number you need!

I want to help with the intangibles of growing a business.  I want to solve problems in ways that are hard to describe.  I am trying to get a job that doesn't exist...yet.

Last week I was told sorry, we can't hire you.  It didn't really dampen my spirits.  I'm back, and with a stronger drive than ever.

e-mail me: jeff@jeffreyluke.com


15 February 2000
Jeffrey Luke's Brazil Diary
São Paulo

I dropped off my clothes for cleaning at the lavandaria.  When I picked them up they were neatly folded and packaged in clear plastic wrap.  It wasn't until I got out of the shower and removed them from their plastic packaging that I found something was horribly wrong.  My clothes smelled burned.  I couldn't put my finger on what was wrong, as not one piece of clothing was actually crisped.  Yet when I went out to get dinner with a friend I couldn't help but feel self-conscious..."No, I'm o.k., I said.  It's just my clothing...I don't know what happened."  After a few days of putting up with the smell, I got fed up.  It was the day before a meeting at zip.net.   I just didn't want to be interviewing for a job, with everyone in the room looking around wondering, "Where's the Fire?"

It reminds me of a time that my babysitter had her boyfriend over when I was in first grade.  They lit a candle and fell asleep, and the candle lit a bunch of stuff on fire, and before long the whole house was full of smoke.  The fire wasn't serious, but the next day at school my Fonzie leather jacket smelled like bacon when its cooking.  It was hung up with all the other kids' jackets, and all day everyone, including the teacher, was wondering where the smell was coming from.  I was so embarassed about it being my coat that I didn't say a word.  So if any of the readers of the Brazil Diary were in my first grade class, yeah, it was my jacket, and now you know it was me.  Sorry.

During the seventh grade I had another similar smell situation.  I was in Mrs. Ravesi's Social Studies class (she was an older woman, really strict, wore green pantyhose) and we all had to do a report on a country and one of its contributions to the world.  I chose China, for its invention of gunpowder.  I wrote the whole report, and to make mine extra special I searched all over my house for something that looked like gunpowder, to show the class during my presentation.  The only thing I could find that looked anything like gunpowder was garlic powder.   So you can imagine me presenting my report in class, and everyone looking around and wondering, "What is that smell?"

So here I am in Brazil with a huge pile of clean clothes that smell burned.  I decided to choose one long-sleeved shirt and bring it to the laundry place and ask what happened.  Benny, who works there, told me that smell was the fabric softener that they use.  "Why do my clothes smell burned?"  I asked.  He looked at me like I was crazy --- he apparently didn't even notice the smell.  I guess that's what happens when you're surrounded by the stuff all day long.  I've solved the problem by bringing my laundry to a place that doesn't use fabric softener.  And yes, I had my clothes cleaned before my meeting at zip.net.

e-mail me: jeff@jeffreyluke.com

16 February 2000
Jeffrey Luke's Brazil Diary
São Paulo

I was reading a billboard the other day, and it bore the slogan, "São Paulo, Cidade Limpo, Povo Civilizado," which translates to:  "São Paulo, Clean City, Civilized People."  I can picture the bunch of guys at a big formica table in a municipal building downtown saying, "o.k., we've got the dirtiest, most violent city in South America, perhaps the world.  People get shot, stabbed and robbed every day...so how's this for our slogan?"

While I was on my way to the lavandaria to get my clothes washed the other day, I noticed two signs in front of someone's driveway.  One simply said "Não Estacionado," (No Parking) while the other said, "Seja Educado --- Não Estacionado" (Be Educated --- No Parking).  What a great sign!  I have never seen a sign pleading for other people to be more educated!  What a great thing for you guys in the U.S. to tell people the next time you encounter cruelty or ignorance.  Just tell them, "Be Educated!"

Another great slogan is Brazil's motto, proudly scrawled across the flag in blue letters, "Ordem and Progresso."  ---- Order and Progress.  Of course, this is the perfect motto for a disorganized, backwards country.  The unofficial motto is:  "Brazil is the Country of the Future, and Always Will Be."

Now, I have to be fair to the Brazilian people, because while they may not have nailed progress, they are experts at order.  They are excellent micro-managers.  First thing, when I dropped off my clothes to be washed, the woman counted everything I left with her to be washed.  Every sock, pair of underwear, pants and t-shirt was recorded.  I am very grateful that she was so careful, but I can't imagine this happening in the U.S.  I have heard the word "laundry list," so perhaps this type of counting once existed in the U.S., but I think the term is more a figure of speech.

At the hotel where I've been staying, a quiet, dark-skinned man named Ivan works the night shift, 8 in the evening until 8 in the morning.  After midnite, he slinks into one of the unoccupied rooms near the front desk and catches some sleep.  If someone knocks on the front door, he wakes up and lets them in.  He told me the other day that he has to wake every morning at 4 o'clock because that's when the bakery delivers the fresh rolls.  Do you know what he has to do?  He is responsible for counting every roll delivered in the four big brown paper bags to make sure the bakery isn't shorting the hotel.  He also has to count the little cartons of milk that are delivered for our coffee with milk in the morning.  Clearly, the price of labor is so cheap here that this kind of behavior might save a little money here and there.  In the U.S., manpower is so pricey that it's better to forget about the small stuff.

In the city buses, the driver drives and a second person collects fares.  I think it's a great system, because the driver can concentrate better on his job.  I asked someone why they don't just have a collection box for change like we have in the U.S.  I was told that by having a two people at work on each bus, the government can employ more people...

I bought some shampoo and toothpaste, dental floss and other stuff at the pharmacy the other day.  Theyoffer really good service.  When I got to the front door a girl greeted me and helped me find everything.  The employees actually work on comission, so they have the incentive to help you find everthing you want (and more!).  When I had found everthing, I brought it to one woman who handwrote a little slip with all of the items I was purchasing.  Then she gave the list to another girl who rang it all up on a cash register, and when it was all added together, she gave me a slip to bring to another girl who took my credit card and ran it through the machine for authorization.  Once I signed the slip, she handed me my goods.

When I was in Foz do Iguaçu in November, I was astounded one day while buying a bus ticket.  I handed my credit card to the woman and she took out a pencil and a piece of white paper, and placing the paper on top of my credit card, began running the side of the pencil lead over the surface, making one of those impressions like we made in 2nd grade of pennies or quarters or paperclips.  No carbon paper, no machine, no computer authorization.

Brazilians are great at managing money...they have to be with the astronomical inflation that hits the economy in giant waves every few years.  While I was in Rio, I decided to buy a straw hat to keep the strong sun off my face.  I found one in a small store, and asked how much  it cost.  The store owner asked how I was going to pay --- with cash, check or credit card.  I chose to pay with a credit card, and when I told him this, he opened his newspaper, glanced at it, then put he right index finger up to his right cheek, rolled his eyes upward, deeply immersed in thought.   "Fifteen Reais with credit card" he said.

Being the curious resident nomad that I am, I just had to know if the hat would cost less if I paid in cash.   He said it would.  I asked how much less.  This time he put his left finger up to his left cheek (I noticed a small dimple there, so he must carry out this type of calculation more frequently) and pondered the issue at hand.  He looked up the Real/Dollar exchange rate in the newspaper, divided this number by the rate at which the Bank of Brazil lends money, short term.  He multiplied this figure by the number of days he would have to wait for Mastercard to pay him for my purchase, and after he had made a brief calculation, he was able to stipulate the difference between the value of the Reis I would pay him today and the dollars that Mastercard would pay him next month.  To allow for a possible upward surge in short term interest rates, and to hedge his bet on a maxidevaluation of the Real, he performed one final calculation.  Then he removed his finger from his cheek, looked at the straw hat, looked at me, and told me it would cost $12 Reais if I paid with cash.  I bought the hat and walked out into the sunshine, content with my purchase and even more pleased to learn  how savvy Brazilians are when it comes to managing their money.

e-mail me: jeff@jeffreyluke.com


17 February 2000
Jeffrey Luke's Brazil Diary
São Paulo, Brazil

Last night I was getting ready to go to Samba school.  I had been invited by a friend, Bom-bom, who works at a nearby bakery.  As darkness set in over São Paulo, I started to get worried.  Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to go out into a new neighborhood after midnight.  São Paulo has a reputation for violence, and it would be horrible to get beaten up, robbed, or killed tonight.  Especially because I planned to go to zip.net the next day.

Then I thought, "I'm in Brazil, I should live a little, have fun and enjoy the night.  Tomorrow will take care of itself.

Samba school was a bunch of rowdy Brazilians spilling out into the busy streets of Avenida Brazil banging on drums, bells, pots, pans and tambourines.  They drank beer, the danced Samba, it was happy, it was safe, and it was preparation for next month's Carnival.

Samba school was really cool.Last night I was getting ready to go to Samba school.  I had been invited by a friend, Bom-bom, who works at a nearby bakery.  As darkness set in over São Paulo, I started to get worried.  Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to go out into a new neighborhood after midnight.  São Paulo has a reputation for violence, and it would be horrible to get beaten up, robbed, or killed tonight.  Especially because I planned to go to zip.net the next day.

Then I thought, "I'm in Brazil, I should live a little, have fun and enjoy the night.  Tomorrow will take care of itself.

Samba school was a bunch of rowdy Brazilians spilling out into the busy streets of Avenida Brazil banging on drums, bells, pots, pans and tambourines.  They drank beer, the danced Samba, it was happy, it was safe, and it was preparation for next month's Carnival.

Samba school was really cool.

This morning I woke at 9:20, washed my face by 9:25 and made it to breakfast by 9:28.  I ate a leisurely meal while reading "Bravo!," a magazine about movies, books, and art that I bought yesterday.

I wrote some letters to my friends and my mom, and then I began transcribing all of the notes I taken at the cyber café yesterday into a list to show to Marcos at zip.net.

While I was writing one of the maids hand-delivered a letter to me.  It was from this Irish girl, Carly, who I had met last week.  She was at the hotel reception desk, spoke no Portuguese, and wanted to know if they had any rooms, and how much they cost.  I interpreted between here and Cleison, who works the desk, and for this she sent me this beautiful card that she'd made with blue and white beads adhered to it.  She was leaving for Rio, she thanked me with hugs and kisses and wishes for a great life.  I am so surprised by her gratitude.

  By the time I had finished with all of my writing, the smell of rice and beans that the maids and cooks prepared for their lunch had began to waft into the dining room where I had been since breakfast.  I ran upstairs and got the box of assorted chocolates that I'd got the night before.  I brought it down for them to enjoy with lunch.  They were very happy.

I went upstairs, put on my Banana Republic Pants (charcoal grey, stretchy), olive-green shirt (Nordstroms, European pleats), a burgundy tie and black-faced watch.  Then I hit the road.

On my way to zip.net, I picked up a beautiful red box of yummy Brazilian chocolate.  I arrived at zip.net without an appointment, and found Etiené.  I thanked her for her efforts in helping me to connect with Susan, gave her the chocolates, showed her my book of photos of Brazil's Cyber Cafés.  As she was looking through the book, the phone rang.  While she was talking, I heard this voice behind me, saying the word, "Portugal," than repeating the word as a question.  The third time I heard the word, I turned around.  It was Marcos.

This morning I woke at 9:20, washed my face by 9:25 and made it to breakfast by 9:28.  I ate a leisurely meal while reading "Bravo!," a magazine about movies, books, and art that I bought yesterday.

I wrote some letters to my friends and my mom, and then I began transcribing all of the notes I taken at the cyber café yesterday into a list to show to Marcos at zip.net.

While I was writing one of the maids hand-delivered a letter to me.  It was from this Irish girl, Carly, who I had met last week.  She was at the hotel reception desk, spoke no Portuguese, and wanted to know if they had any rooms, and how much they cost.  I interpreted between here and Cleison, who works the desk, and for this she sent me this beautiful card that she'd made with blue and white beads adhered to it.  She was leaving for Rio, she thanked me with hugs and kisses and wishes for a great life.  I am so surprised by her gratitude.

  By the time I had finished with all of my writing, the smell of rice and beans that the maids and cooks prepared for their lunch had began to waft into the dining room where I had been since breakfast.  I ran upstairs and got the box of assorted chocolates that I'd got the night before.  I brought it down for them to enjoy with lunch.  They were very happy.

I went upstairs, put on my Banana Republic Pants (charcoal grey, stretchy), olive-green shirt (Nordstroms, European pleats), a burgundy tie and black-faced watch.  Then I hit the road.

On my way to zip.net, I picked up a beautiful red box of yummy Brazilian chocolate.  I arrived at zip.net without an appointment, and found Etiené.  I thanked her for her efforts in helping me to connect with Susan, gave her the chocolates, showed her my book of photos of Brazil's Cyber Cafés.  As she was looking through the book, the phone rang.  While she was talking, I heard this voice behind me, saying the word, "Portugal," than repeating the word as a question.  The third time I heard the word, I turned around.  It was Marcos.

He had appeared from nowhere.  He was about as surprised to see me again (it's been weeks) as I was to see him.  I had come to zip.net today to make an appointment to see him, and there he was.  We both said hi, and I figured, why not strike while the iron is hot.  "I have something to show you," I told him.  "Do you have a moment," I asked.  He said he was in the middle of something.  "Give me five minutes, he said," and disappeared as silently as he'd appeared.

Etiene got off the phone.  She finished looking through my book of photos.  She loved the photo of the little girl who was pointing excitedly at the computer screen.  "That photo is an icon," she said.  We talked for a while, and she said she thinks it won't be long before I am hired.  "You know Marcos, you know Luciano, and you know Susan.  I think you are doing the right things.  Just keep doing what you're doing."

Then I went over to Elizabeth, who is Marcos's secretary.  I said hi and asked her how she was.  She told me how busy things have been today.  I could sense from her tone she meant something was up.  "Why today?" I asked.  She showed me a news clipping:


So there it was.  The deal was valued at about $400 million U.S.  Marcos was in the other room negotiating.  This is a huge day for zip.net.

I talked showed Elizabeth the book of photos, and explained that I would like to set up time to show them to Marcos.  "I think he will like them," she said.  "Tomorrow will be good," she said, "But Friday will be even better," she said, and suggested that I call her tomorrow to set a time.

It feels like I am a coin, I have been rolling down a long wooden plank waiting to fall through a slot to the earth below.  I think that this just might be my slot.

Portuguese Telecom may need someone who can travel between Europe and Brazil.  They will have greater need for communication, and undoubedly there will be problems to solve.  I speak their language, I have been to Portugal, and I really know Brazil.  If they need me to work in Europe, I can use my Spanish and French as well as Portuguese.

Here in Brazil, zip.net will still need to grow it's subscriber base, assess and acquire other businesses.  Perhaps this deal has created a place for me, an opportunity that exists now that did not when I met Marcos last month.  I feel like there is a giant window now that has been created, and this might just have opened it up.  This deal is the kind of thing that begs for people who can solve problems.  What I'm offering is not technical. Accountants or computer technicians are specialized people, and until now, that's all zip.net wanted.

People can become so highly focused that they can not make two plus two equal seven, when seven is the number you need.  I'm here to find ways to make things happen.

Etiene was trying to translate two pages of Portuguese into English.  She asked if I could help with a few words.  I did, and then she asked if I could help with a few more, then I was working on sentences.

She needed to know the English word for "caminhada," which translates, in English, to, "path," or "trail," or "road," or "way," and a dictionary cannot tell you which is appropriate.  The only way to know what "fits" is to have read a lot of books, magazines, newspapers, e-mails and notes in Portuguese and English.  I love to do this stuff.  I helped her through the entire two pages, and when we were done, she said, "You should be a translator."

After we finished the work, I headed out of zip.net.  I'd been there for about 2 hours, but I left feeling that this situation is full of possibilities.

When I meet with Marcos on Friday, I think things will be different.  The window of opportunity has just opened, and I think now we will be able to find a place for me at zip.net.

e-mail me: jeff@jeffreyluke.com


18 February 2000
Jeffrey Luke's Brazil Diary
São Paulo

When I watch t.v. from my hotel bedroom, I wish I had a VCR so that I could tape these shows.  I want to show them all to my friends at home.  I was watching a show last night, it was an entertainment show with a band playing Brazilian rock, some samba and axé, a new, popular style of music and dance.  There was this one girl in the center of the stage, she was wearing a tee-shirt and bikini bottom.  Oh yes, and she was taking a shower.  Yes, that's the beauty of brazilian t.v.  You gotta dream, we gotta show to make it come true.   Girls with white t-shirts taking showers.  Mmmm.

A few nights ago I saw a show in which a guy and a girl wrestle for bars of soap in a hot tub.  The way it works is this:  The master of ceremonies drops five bars of soap into the tub, and the girl (who's wearing a bikini) has to grab as many of them as she can.  Of course, the bars of soap sink to the bottom, so she had to feel around for them.  Meanwhile, the guy (who's also wearing bikini briefs) has to prevent her from getting the soap.  So what you have is him holding onto her as she sqirms about in the hot, soapy, bubbly suds.  The slithering and sliding, the two bodies entwined reminded me of the mating ritual of the Costa Rican rainbow slug, which I once observed as a biology major at Oberlin College.

Brazilians have a variation of the Candid Camera show that was once popular in the U.S.  In the show I saw, they set up a hidden  video camera outside of someone's house.  They had a man in the front yard jump over the big concrete front wall as if he were stealing --- get this --- an iron, the kind used for removing wrinkles from clothes.  Well, this guy jumped over the fence, and the video camera recorded one guy after another seeing this "iron thief" jumping over the wall, and running after and on occasion, tackling him in pursuit.  Now, I don't know what irons are made of out of here, but chasing after a thief is pretty risky business in any country.   Why on earth would you risk getting stabbed, or shot, to catch someone stealing an electric appliance such as this?  And one other question.  What kind of burglar would enter someone's house, and coming across an iron in the laundry room, say, "Aha!  This is what I've been looking for!"

I saw one game show where they had two teenage boys sitting across the table from one another, and the challenge was to see who could eat more bananas in 3 minutes.   I witnessed an equally interesting competition as they chose two boys, each about 7-years-old, and sat them down with about 20 little dixie cups of soda (one boy had orange soda in front of him, the other Coca-Cola).  The race was to see who could drink the most cups of soda in two minutes.

Perhaps the most ruthless (and interesting!) race I've seen to date has been the "Baby Race."  They put seven babies on the starting line of a racetrack, and they assemble their mothers at the finish line, each holding a big stuffed animal.  At the starting whistle, the mothers wave the animals frantically to catch their childrens' attention, and see who will have the fastest baby.  Some babies smile peacefully, while other scream in terror.  Some babies crawl around in circles, a few stare at their toes.  A few babies actually start crawling toward their moms, but no walking is allowed.  This show has a slogan as well, which the host repeats on numberous occasions:  "Babies who cry must go outside!"  So they try to make the game more humane by removing a baby if he/she starts crying.   But to me, taking the kid out of the race seems just as mean as leaving him in.  I have heard that recently there has been a big crackdown on the illegal betting that surrounds the "Baby Races" in São Paulo, but as you can imagine, it's hard to restrict betting on babies.

e-mail me: jeff@jeffreyluke.com


21 February 2000
Jeffrey Luke's SeaTac Diary
Tuckwila Int'l Blvd.

I did everything I could to prepare for my trip to Brazil.  I packed up all of the stuff in my apartment and put it in storage.  I bought a solid suitcase, nice clothing and a watch.  All of my preparations were going smoothly until it came time to buy my airline ticket, one which would allow me to stay in Brazil for more than a month.  The airfare was $1,888, but I only had $1,600.  My friend Jim picked me up and drove me to the airport on the morning of October 21st.  I was too ashamed to tell him I wouldn’t be flying anywhere.  He dropped me off curbside, and we said goodbye.

I stood in the chilly morning air for a moment to collect my thoughts.  Everything around me was going at a fast pace.  A skycap had already grabbed my suitcase, cars pulled up to the curb and roared off.  Everyone seemed to be going somewhere, but with no plane ticket I won’t be going far.  I wheeled my suitcase into the terminal and went to the “Skyway Galley,” where I bought a fruit cup and a soft pretzel.  As I chewed on the pretzel, I thought about what I should do.  My life in Seattle was over.  I’d already said my goodbyes, packed up, and moved out.

I went back outside to the curb and hailed a taxi.  I asked the driver to bring me to an inexpensive hotel, and he brought me to the Airport Econo Lodge, where I’ve lived since October.  I never went to Brazil.

They gave me a good deal on a room with a double bed.  It’s $400 a month, just cheap enough to get by for four months.  I wake here each morning, and while eating the hotel’s continental breakfast, I wonder what life might be like in Brazil.

Between bites of my bagel and cream cheese I begin to write.  I usually finish in the early afternoon, then I go down the street to Kinkos and upload it to the Brazil Diary.  I’ve been working three nights a week at Kinkos to earn money for food and other stuff, with the added perk that employees get to use the computers for free.

Last night was my night off, but I decided to stop by Kinkos and ask Mindy, who gets off at 10, if she wanted to catch a movie.  Mindy’s the only person I get along with at work, we keep each other from getting bored.  When I arrived, she was sitting at one of the computers at the far end of the store.  I could tell it was her from behind by her closely-cropped brown hair.  She wasn’t typing anything on the keyboard, just leaning forward and reading.  As I approached, I recognized the familiar layout of the Brazil Diary.

I said hi but she didn’t respond.  “What is this?,” she demanded.  During the months I’ve worked on this diary, I just tell people that I’m sending e-mail.  Mindy said she’d logged on to the computer to check her hotmail account, and recognized my name in the list of recently visited sites at the top of the screen.  “What are you doing?” she asked.  “Why...are you writing about Brazil?”  She had made it to the November 4th entry.  She’d already read about riding horses in the Cavalgada, about photographing heart surgery with Dr. Batista.  “But you were here for our Halloween party!” she exclaimed.

She read the horror story about Dr. Batista’s patient almost dying in the intensive care unit, about the emergency tracheostomy, traveling to São Paulo to meet Marcos, and the death by refrigerator.  She kept reading until past midnight, which was when I realized we wouldn’t be going to a movie.  She continued to read, her mouth opened ever so slightly, shifting only her eyes and her right hand, which was on the mouse.  Midnight gave way to one, then two o’clock before she reached the December entry in which Randas and I drove all night to reach Minas Gerais.

*                       *                       *

Randas has been very understanding about my predicament.  Originally he offered to help pay for my ticket to Brazil, but I told him that his offer to give me a place to stay was generous enough.  I would not feel good about having him send money.  He has done a wonderful favor in sending postcards.  He sent me 10 the first time, all blank.  I wrote notes to my friends and sent them back to him in a big manila envelope.  He put stamps on them and dropped them in the mail from Curitiba, or São Paulo, or wherever he happened to be.  He understood from the start that I felt bad about not being able to make it to Brazil, and when I told him I planned to create an imagined Brazil Diary, he agreed to help out.

From the start, Randas was amused to be in on the plan.  He liked getting all of these postcards, letters and Christmas cards from me and relaying them back to my friends and family in the U.S.  He even forwarded mail that people sent to me in Curitiba back to this Econo Lodge.  I told him that my hotel stay will end by the 22nd of February, so he said he’ll have my mail “returned to sender”...if you’re getting things you’ve sent to me returned, now you know why.

*                       *                       *

Mindy had just finished reading the diary as the dark sky gave way to early morning light.  Across the empty Kinkos parking lot I could see the first few Starbucks employees arrive, unlock the store and turn on the lights, filling the small store with a warm yellow glow.

“How did you think of this?” she asked.

“Well,” I told her, “I just imagined the details, like ingredients in a recipe to make Brazil.  I thought of a heart surgeon working in a small, poor hospital, I tried to get into his head and figure out what he might say and do.

“When I take a picture,” I told her, “I choose what to include, or decide how close to get, but I’m always constrained by what’s in front of me.

“The Brazil Diary is more like painting than photographing.  I can imagine what might exist in Brazil --- I can make it whatever I want.”

 “This is like a book,” Mindy says as she considers the blue Trident gum wrapper that I’ve been folding and unfolding.  She removes the wrapper from between my fingers.  “I mean, it’s written so simply, but the feelings run so deep.”

“You should be writing this into a story for the movies,” she says.  “It’s a story about this young reporter who goes to the jungles of Brazil, he learns to operate on the beating heart from this crazy surgeon.  Randas Batista is just like Kurtz in ‘Heart of Darkness,’ ” she says.  “He’s in the middle of the jungle, people are bowing down at his feet in adulation.”

I’ve been getting really hungry.  All I’ve had to eat tonight is half a package of Pepperidge Farm Mint Milano cookies and a small carton of whole milk.  “I’m going over to Starbucks for a muffin,” I tell Mindy.  “You want anything?”

It’s 6:15 in the morning and there hasn’t been a customer in the store since some guy rushed in around midnight to stuff a priority envelope into the FEDEX box.  Mindy says she’ll come with me.  “We can lock the door for a few minutes...no one ever comes before 8 anyway,” she says.

We walk out across the parking lot, the indigo sky turning a brighter blue.  A few planes have begun to take off from SeaTac, dotting the sky with their flickering white lights.  We are halfway across the lot when she reaches out and takes my hand, enfolding her fingers into mine.

I tell her that I’ve almost used up my four months of hotel money.  On February 22 my hotel stay will come to an end, as will the Brazil Diary.

“What will you do now?” she asks.

I pull open the door to Starbucks and let her go in first.  She orders a corn muffin for herself, a blueberry muffin for me, and we both get hot chocolate.

“I don’t know what to do now,” I tell her.

“You should make a movie,” she says.  “It’s about a guy who writes about his adventures in Brazil...from a cheap airport hotel on the outskirts of Seattle.”

27 February 2000
Jeffrey Luke's Brazil Diary

Jeffrey Luke,  if you are in Seattle, YOU HAD BETTER CALL ME right now!!! Jeffui, is this a freaking joke?  Are you really telling me that you have been here in town all along?  I'm going to kick your ass! This is kinda brilliant but kinda cruel.  I've missed you punk!   I still miss you!  I was just having dinner with Melly and Katie last night and was telling them how much I want you to come home! Jeffui, if you are in Seattle, call me at home (xxx-xxxx) or my cell (xxx-xxxx).  Now, whether you are in Brazil or wherever, this last entry is pretty brilliant because it leaves all your readers, including me, wondering if all we've read were just all made up or maybe this last entry is just b.s.  Either way, I just want to see you and drive you to Alki and have some pastry at the bakery.  Either way Jeffui, will you please get in touch with me?  I find myself hoping that you are in Brazil for your sake because I knew how much you wanted to be there. Then part of me is hoping that you are here in Seattle for my sake because I miss you and would really like to hang out with you. I was driving home from dinner last night and even thought about having a welcome home party for you when you get back...Anyway, a big part of me is saying that your last entry is a big joke because your previous entries were so freaking detailed but then again you are smart enough to do something like this. Jeffui, just please get in touch with me. Hope to hear from you punk.....Shantii


jeff...i just read the diary on the upstairs computer...what gives...are you here or there?...nothing makes sense
anymore, especially now...several weeks ago i swore i saw you, i said, "ben,
that guy looks like jeffrey"... now i'm beginning to think it was you...call
me asap, if you are indeed here...jim

A few months ago the thought popped into my head:  "What if I were making all of this up?  Would anyone know?"  The only way that readers of this diary know about me is through my entries, and they could have been written anywhere in the world.  One reader commented:

dear jeff,
it strikes me that there is something strange about this.  it feels like i am an interactive voyeur into your life, i read all about it and know your movements and feelings and can even participate in a limited and unsensual way but you know nothing about me. in fact you don't know who is watching you / tuning in to your channel or when.

i mean, it's one thing to write and another to write about your life and yourself and this right now (aside from what you hold back) is an open book. what if i only knew you this way? would i know you? what if this were the only way we ever knew other people? i do find it very bizarre.

I began to think that my writing could be based my real life, but what if it's not?  Would readers choose to believe the reality or the illusion?  I decided to dive into the waters and explore the relationship between truth and fiction, the creator and his artifact.

Life imitates art.  Think of this.  You can imagine that you are an actor in a movie about yourself.  You are filmed as you wake, eat breakfast, and get into your car.  As you drive, a camera overhead follows you and your car.  You are listening to music, you're singing along.  If your life were part of a film, you could re-write parts of the script, your character could change.  In real life you can reinvent yourself as well.  Is there a risk you want to take?  Something you'd really like to try?  What's holding you back?  As you reinvent yourself, you notice that your life can be a work of art in motion.

dear jeff

well i bet you got a lot of response to that one. i'vejust flown in from wisconsin and so i have airports and cheap motels on the brain but i have no intention of conjecturing on the reality or virtuality of the situation because i am appreciating the thrown perspective and the doubt. somehow it satisfies me - in the issues that were bothering me about the brazil diary - that while you had no idea of the lives i (and other dedicated readers / friends) am leading perhaps a fiction of your life means i don't actually know anything about you either; and, artistically, it makes me consider the value of fact versus fiction - is the accomplishment any less valid if it is imagined versus lived? and, most obviously, i appreciate thedistinctive comment on the potential of the anonymity that the computer, email, web etc allows us; and, most personally, that i feel your absense more strongly in considering you in brazil vs seatac while the relative distance has utterly no bearing.  anyway, dear jeff, whereever you are (and you are capable of anything i am sure) bless you and if you do happen to find yourself with the leisure of time and money on your hands or fancy a change of scenery know that you'd be a welcome guest. i am, really and truly, in a funny little house in philadelphia and would be delighted to fry you up a gardenburger.


When I was 5-years-old I used to dig for worms in my back yard with my best friend, Kathy Seegree.  We would put them in a glass jar with dirt and watch them crawl around.  Sometimes we went to her house and put together jigsaw puzzles.  We did a different puzzle every week.  It was fun to just fiddle with those little pieces during our endless afternoons.  Sometimes after kindergarten got out we would walk through the school parking lot and look into the driver's side windows of parked cars.  We peered in at the speedometers to see which cars went fastest.  "Hey, this one goes 100," I said..."Look, this one only goes 85," she said.  "Wow, look at this one...it goes 140!"

We liked playing together, completely purposeless fun.  This diary entry was the same kind of fun.  I just closed my eyes and let my imagination take over.  A vivid picture came to me of a life at Econo Lodge, writing during breakfast and uploading to the web site at Kinkos.

"Let's pretend," said Alice to the White Queen, who herself practiced make-believe for half an hour a day and believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

After writing the entry, I wondered if it would be convincing.  I could only wait and see.


Hey you-
So, what's going on with you?  ...I was reading your last entry at three in the morning because Siddhartha had woken me up and I couldn't go back to sleep. Anyway, after I read your entry, I looked up EconoLodge and called them!  The guy that answered the phone sounded like I woke him up. He wasn't quite coherent. There was no Jeffrey Luke staying there, of course.


Sure, this diary chronicles a part of my life, but I think that it has developed loyal readers because it's about living in that precious place where fact and fiction merge and dreams become real.


e-mail me: jeff@jeffreyluke.com

28 February 2000
Jeffrey Luke's Brazil Diary
Still in São Paulo

Yes, this Brazil Diary will soon end.  The thought makes me a little sad.
Brazil has been a whole mixture of emotions and experiences.  Most recently, after working hard to try to get a job at zip.net, it looks like it's not going to happen.  It's frustrating.

One friend just sent an e-mail to me, which begins:

Thinking over the last 2 months of your life makes me tired and I wasn't even there!

 I think you accomplished a lot by trying regardless of what the outcome may have been (and as of now, you're still not sure about the outcome). This is a good time to reflect and take stock of your situation---a time to total the columns and see where you stand.  Knowing you, I suspect that this is just what you're doing now.

Yes, I have been taking stock of things, trying to figure out where I've been and where I'm going.  Travel is a wonderful thing.  Let me share something that I read this morning in "Uncommon Genius," --- How Great Ideas are Born, by Denise Shekerjian:

"By its very nature, creative thinking requires a break from habit...Travel is one way, and apparently a common way, that creative people make the familiar strange again.  Trying to get around in a strange culture, to feed yourself, to make sense of the news, to buy toothpaste, to manage a local bus, to express discontent, to profess love, to operate a vending machine or a telephone --- all are familiar gestures made highly peculiar again, as they were when you were a child.  In addition to all the personal and professional reasons to venture forth, leaving home is a way of retaining a kind of plasticity of response that keeps the eye unveiled, the mind sharp."

Here is a letter:

i have been wondering about you coming back.  what you would do, where go, after experiencing all this. would it be a let-down? would you feel you were living as fully? would you be able to stay in brazil (visa et al)? would you want to? i would not concern myself with the brasil diary. the brasil diary can become the memphis diary, the cannes diary,the hong kong diary with the flick of a couple of fingers. you have your captive audience.

This diary chronicles a part of my life.  I have looked back on it over the past few days and I cannot believe I've been through this and written all of this.  It looks like more work than I'd ever want to do.
This entire voyage through Brazil was born just two summers ago.  It was a dream of mine to one day meet Dr. Randas J.V. Batista, and if it were possible, I wanted to watch him operate in his native Brazil.  I never imagined that I would move in and live with him and his family.

The Brazil Diary has been a companion.  It's been a way to report on my days, to collect my thoughts, and to keep in touch with you all.  The journey has taught me to take risks and trust life.  Some risks that I took paid off better than I expected, and others, such as my final efforts in São Paulo, have been very frustrating.

I've survived all of this, and the most frightening and frustrating situations have helped me to develop a sense of calm.  For this reason, I am thankful for the things that did not go as I wished.  They taught me to be patient, to persevere, and helped me to learn when it's time to stop driving so hard at my goal, back off a bit, be flexible, and make my way along one of the bypaths that will open up on the side.
I want to thank you all so much --- your eyes have peered into the glow of your computer screens and followed me as I've traveled through Brazil.

Jeffrey Luke...I've read all your diary entries, your written experiences wandering back and forth in Brazil are an achievment in themselves, not to discount the unwritten, untalked about, unmentioned day to day savoir faire, the having been around, knowing the score, the ropes, graduating from apprentice traveler to seasoned journeyman, writer, photographer (I hope you've taken many pictures as evidence that you are indeed there)...but clearly your written descriptions narrate what photos can't do...recount, recite, impart, expound, illustrate, characterize and report your movement...thank you for being in my life...

A Final Note to Readers of the Brazil Diary...

Just knowing that you are out there has given me the force to move on when the going got tough.  Because I knew you were reading, I have pushed myself to become a better observer and scribe.  I have loved having you all along for the ride.



June 22, 2001: If you would like to read some entries that I wrote after my return to the United States from Brazil, please proceed to Brazil Diary Postscript.