Hi everybody! Thanks for all the cool emails by the way. Getting to the internet down here is next to impossible, so I’m not replying right now. But I have been making some notes for you and just pasted them here. Hope all is well! I am in now. My feet are back on the ground and I now feel accustomed to the new environment. The first few days were like a weird daydream. Everything was so blurry and hazy around me I felt at once dizzy, anxious, excited, scared, enthused, eager, strange, etc etc I just tell myself, you always feel like this Ed when you visit another place where you don’t speak the language; just relax and let go and you will sink in eventually. Well IÃ¿m sunk in now. Today I woke up happy and excited without all the other stuff. But it took the last three days. It’s funny. It’s one of those experiences where you don’t speak the language very well. You don’t know anybody. Your family is like thousands of miles from you. If you get sick, forget about it. They’ll make a nice funeral for you. If you get thrown in jail, forget about it. You’ll die in there and they’ll make a cool movie about you one day. You can’t read the signs for anything. So forget about actually knowing where you are. Or how to get back if you lose your way. And you don’t know any of the names of any of the food you like in their language, but it doesn’t matter anyway because they don’t have any of the foods you like anyway. You don’t eat hamburgers in the states, but here all you can think of is a HAMBURGER! No I don’t want that strange looking fish with its eyes poked out and all that white creamy sauce poured all over it. I just want a HAMBURGER!!! Ahhhhh, McDonalds! If youÃ¿re the type of person who would never say that, man, all I can tell you is yeah, me too, but that McDonalds I had the other day was pretty damn delicious! Fries and a shake never tasted so good.
Portuguese lessons are going very well. I take three hours per day. I am starting to dream in the language and talk to myself in the language which is a good sign. And tomorrow I start studying Brasilian rhythms on piano and guitar with the music professor. Bossa nova and samba. The basics. The Brasilians have such a mastery of music it is incredible. Although they adore pop and rock from the States and Europe, they think it is funny how simple it is. They make fun of it by air guitaring, squinting their eyes, and opening their mouth like they are screaming some non-sense rock song. To them it is a novelty compared to their precious samba. Their knowledge and control of rhythms and harmony is something to be reckoned with. It is intimidating even as a musician all my life. But they are soooo nice. And they love music so much that it doesn’t matter as long as you try to make it. Their hearts are so pure. They are in such shock and appreciation that a “gringo”Ã¿ wants to learn their music instead of the other way around. They keep asking me suspiciously, Why are you really here? You just want to learn the music of Brasil? You aren’t here for work or something or to start something? This makes them very happy because they are so far from America and Europe and I think that sometimes they feel like they are missing something. Which, of course, they are. But on the other hand, so are we as well. [I have been taking a rough copy of a new song me and the Transcendence did of a classic Brasilian song called So quero um xodo to different radio stations to play and they cant believe that I know the song let alone learned it. (It’s like thirty years old) They like our new version. They have a lot of pride in their music. More than we do. I think our music has become watered down and too commercialized for a lot of us in England and the States. Not that we don’t have music that we love because we do, but its not on TV or on the radio. It’s like two separate worlds, where as here, all the music is played everywhere.
There is one thing that I had to fly a long way to realize: there is just as much crap here for music as anywhere else. I always thought that here all the music was pure and intellectual and powerful because that is all I listened to of Brazilian music but there are just as many songs about jumping up and down and drinking and, I love you, you love me as we have in America. It would be like someone coming to the States only to realize that not every artist was as good as Elton John or Stevie Wonder or the Beatles. That’s what has happened to me. But when an artist is good here, such as Caetano or Jobim or Vinicius or Chico, they are fantastic, truly amazing poets and artists; just like every other country in the world (although Europe hasn’t produced many recent geniuses as of late. No offense to my European compadres receiving this, but I think they all moved to America. (And no, I don’t consider England part of Europe. It’s more like a little-America, or America Jr.) OK, enough culture bashing. It is the second day of Carnival (as I write this). Last night there were two million people crammed into the streets of Salvadore, Bahia. Two million! Incredible. Everyone was dancing and singing and jumping up and down and drinking. It is a huge celebration. It will last until Wednesday. Tonight and tomorrow night are the biggest nights. Everyone will go to Rio for two days and nights and dance until sunrise every day. Then they sleep during the day and then wake up and do it all over again.
Everywhere I go people are in costumes. I have rented a car. A little manual Fiat. What a dream this is. Everyone here drives as crazy and as fast as I do. There are these speed bumps everywhere that are huge. And I just jump over them super-fast like Evil Kneivel in this little rental car. If someone is in front of you on the highway going too slowly I shit you not you just drive all the way up to their rear until you either hit them or they move out of your way. And they do. It’s so cool. Everyone just drives however they want to all over the roads. In the cities it is complete madness. If you don’t drive like a maniac everyone just cuts in front of you or cuts you off. It’s crazy but I like it. It makes driving in New York or Miami seem so organized and peaceful. I have to drive thirty minutes each way from the hotel/farm I am staying at to the big city. Up and down tremendous hills and valleys of lush greenery. Everywhere is green. Beautiful flowers are blooming everywhere. And when you climb up to the top of a hill you can see for miles all around in front of you and behind you. You can see two or three cities or towns that are miles and miles away. And tons of farms and rows of trees, etc.
Yesterday I was sitting out on the porch studying and this rooster jumped up on top of the rail in front of me and did the cockadoodle doo thing. I looked at it and said, man, how did you pick that up? You did that so well.! (thinking he got it from us rather than us getting it from him.) It shows how far removed we can get from the real world (we get so tunneled and buried into this plastic and concrete world of technology and imagination that we have created for ourselves and my first instinct was to wonder how the animal learned to make that noise that I always hear on records or on TV or in the movies. That’s funny! And the peacocks or cows or horses or goats? Forget about it. I’m looking at them like they are from another planet. And they look back at me the same way. Every morning I wake up to these roosters crowing at sunrise (yes I am waking up at sunrise – you cant believe how big the day is when you wake up this early) totally different than the musiciansÃ¿ lifestyle back home, and when you wake up this early there is such a thing as breakfast, as well as lunch and then dinner. I have never understood the concept of three meals per day because I never woke up that early before. Breakfast is kind of like eating your midnight snack in the morning because you never stay up late enough to have a midnight snack if you are waking up early enough to have a breakfast.) In any case the sunrise Shines into our room off the water of the placid lake below us, little birds play in the grass, roosters are crowing, peacocks strutting around, flaunting their feathers right in front of our porch, chickens walking about. Now here’s a thought: I’m sitting there looking at this chicken walking by and I’m picturing it on a dinner table, you now, plucked and cooked and all and I’m wondering, does this chicken know what I’m thinking right now. It really makes you wonder about eating these guys. But I’ll tell you, they are very annoying creatures. Ducks walking ten and fifteen in a row following each other right in front. So graceful and humble. I don’t think I will ever eat one of them again. Parrots are everywhere but keep to themselves. They are huge birds, and wild. And they stay in the trees for the most part watching you like they are going to jump down at you at any minute; and they are very loud at night. Which is unfortunate for me because it makes it hard to sleep, unless of course you like the sound of parrots squawking all night. I wonder if there is any place in the world that eats parrot.
There is an Avatar course going on here: that is how I decided to come here at this time. My friend Abigail is giving it. So I have someone I can communicate with. There are ten masters and twenty-seven students. It is incredible. A very big course. It started yesterday and the energy is fabulous. I am not teaching this course because I have other outcomes I wish to achieve, studying, studying and studying. But I am going through the course with them as they do, following along in the books, so the shift is already taking place, just from being in their space for lunch and dinner. My roommate is an Avatar master from Sao Paulo. He speaks about the same English as I do Portuguese. We have fun trying to communicate, watching the TV (all of our American movies are translated into Portuguese (it is so funny watching Al Pacino talking in this strange voice this strange language!) And they allow full nudity on the TV here. Every couple of minutes there is a naked girl on TV It is really cool. [For those of you who know Fernie from Miami, its like a dream come true for him.] Now I will go smoke a big Cuban (they are legal here!) and study some more.
I miss Slurpees. I miss Starbucks. I miss food I can pronounce (although the food here at the hotel is incredible-buffet style). You can eat as much as you want three meals per day and its included in the very inexpensive hotel bill). I miss all of you my family and friends and most of all I miss my sweetheart but I am happy here now doing what I am doing.
Love to everyone!