American Pop Culture: A Hole in My Life

March 10, 2007
Day 528

I spent most of the day today checking out Olinda. There were lots of hills and more churches than houses. Seriously, I think some people must worship at multiple locations for there to be so many churches. Walking around the cobblestone streets and eating the traditional Afro-Brazilian street food was quite delightful. There were several museums, but the only one I went to had a bunch of colorful dolls and wallpaper. The only downside of Olinda that I could see was the beach, which had a lot of garbage on it and signs posted warning you not to swim because of the sharks.

Tonight Barbara and I took the bus into Recife (about a twenty minute ride) to see a movie. Almost all media in Brazil is in Portuguese, so I wasn't surprised when Barbara told me there was only one movie in English. However, I was surprised to learn that it was a cartoon because it's especially important for shows made for kids to be dubbed over in English because they can't read yet. But when I saw the poster for the movie, A Scanner Darkly (it had a completely different title in Portuguese), I realized that it wasn't for kids at all. It was a pretty good movie, but I had never heard of it before, which got me thinking...

Travel has left me completely disconnected from the pop culture portion of society. I have no idea about any current TV shows, movies, music, actors, or sports. I missed the end of the World Series, forgot about the Super Bowl, haven't seen any TV (even The Simpsons in ages, and probably couldn't even name one song in the top ten of any of the American music charts. I didn't even know that President Ford died until a month later, and only then because I happened to see a blurb on the Internet.

Sometimes I feel lost in society, like I can't even have a conversation with people from home about current events anymore. I don't think it's because I'm getting old, either. I don't even feel like I'm part of any country now. Since I started traveling I've learned a lot about South America, but don't know anything about my own country anymore.

Anyway, after the movie we went to see a forró band at a bar. The band was from the interior, which is kind of the equivalent of being from the southern US. Almost all Brazilians live in big cities on the coast, so those from the small towns in the interior are looked at as being different. They even have a different Portuguese accent which the city folk sometimes have a hard time understanding. But when it comes to playing the tambourine and triangle, they are greatly appreciated.

Late at night, a bunch of us went back to Recife again. This time we went to a place that's a garage by day, bar by night. It was quite a classy venue with plywood seats, oil-stained floors, and a balcony where dust fell through the cracks onto the patrons below whenever anyone walked on it. I think if it were in the US, the garage bar would be a place with an alternative theme with a $20 cover and $10 drinks, but here it's just a place to hang out after the other bars close and before dawn when the buses start running again.

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2 thoughts on “American Pop Culture: A Hole in My Life

  1. Cindy Macrafic

    Hey, I'd rather be seeing the kind of wallpaper you are than the kind I'm seeing! I'm stripping my downstairs bath--shit, why did I ever put that stuff up in the first place...And between getting the paper off, which has been there for 20+ years and the gobs of glue I plastered it on with, I think both arms have had it. Ah, what a difference a coat of fresh paint will make!

    And, on the US news scene, not being "in the know" sounds really good when some days all the news is about the Iraq war--when will we learn...

    Good to hear you are continuing to explore and enjoy. Spring is upon us here in MN--birds and buds are everywhere :) Take care, Dan!

  2. Kyle

    Hey Dan, The most important current event here tomorrow is opening day for the Milwaukee Brewers! GO BREWERS! They have a great team built for this year and some of the national media are picking them to finish first in the division. Its very exciting!

    It's still a joy reading about your adventures. Keep having fun!

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