“If you could zoom through space in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now?”

Views from the Pousada in Paraty

In response to to today’s Daily Post Writing 101 assignment, which asks, “If you could zoom through space in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now?” I am republishing an old entry about Brazil. Although I would not necessarily like to be there in the midst of World Cup madness, I long to go back and am sure I will someday sooner than later.

My boyfriend and I recently spent almost two weeks traveling along the coast of Brazil, making stops in São Paulo, Paraty and Rio de Janeiro before visiting friends in Ubatuba. Along the way, we enjoyed a small cross section of the scenery, culture, and food of the South American country, including a dinner at

Views from the Pousada
Views from the Pousada in Paraty

Caminho do Ouro, an intimate mãe-and-pai restaurant that served some of the most delicious seafood and risotto I have ever encountered. To our surprise, the only other diner at the restaurant spoke fluent English thanks to his time studying art in Denver in the late 1970s. That diner and former Denverite was Aécio Sarti, a well-known painter who, along with the devoted dog waiting against the glass front door of the restaurant, calls Paraty home. Sarti shared stories about his art, his time in America, and the reason so many of the friendly stray dogs on Paraty’s streets enjoy good health and full bellies. Turns out many of the historic town’s residents feed the strays, and some even nab them for periodic visits to the town’s vets, who treat them at a discount. Sarti’s canine bodyguard had been among those ranks, but proved “too sticky” to shake according to the artist who, of course, named him “Glue.”

Used by permission from the artist

In my time there, I was often confronted by the two faces of Brazil, which seemed to be firmly in the first world in some respects and mired in the third in others. It’s a beautiful and resource-rich country struggling to update its infrastructure in time to take the international stage during the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics and a fast-growing economic engine where the public schools run in two shifts to combat crowding. And, while it has garnered praise from the World Bank “for progress in reducing social and economic inequality,” considering a third of the population of its two largest cities still live in favelas, it clearly has a long way to go on the path toward parity (as do most nations, including my own). But if Brazilians’ appreciation of good food, innovative art, and stray dogs are any indicator, it’s making some significant strides in that direction.  Personally, I can’t wait to visit again to see just how far it’s come.

Fruit is always on the menu in Brazil

Cleansing the Body, Muddling the Mind

I’m in the middle of a 10-day food cleanse right now and it seems to be going well. I can’t say I’ve adhered to the guidelines without fail. But I have been following the “rules” for the most part, and my body already looks and feels a little different as a result.

This got me thinking about what a 10-day mind cleanse might look like. Would it entail only reading classic literature and cutting out television. Maybe I could add news programming and PBS during the last few days. Should I avoid the computer all together, or just social media sites like Facebook? And what about music? Would a 10-day diet of only classical music leave my mind a more detoxified place?

There are many resources for those who strive to practice clean eating, but what of clean thinking? Too bad there isn’t a list of detailed ingredients on the back of every novel or magazine, something to warn readers the contents were nothing but the literary equivalent of trans fats.

For now, I’m satisfied with my start on detoxifying my body, but I aim to do the same thing for my brain later this summer, before too many deadlines and the specter of school beginning again draw my attention away. Meanwhile, I’m always open to suggestions on how to make my mind a more pure place.

 

Free Photo from MorgueFile
Free Photo from MorgueFile