Wednesday, June 30, 2010

TRAVEL TO BRAZIL - To Be Rescheduled

It has been nearly 41 years since I was last in Brazil, when I served in the Peace Corps. The other former Peace Corps Volunteer who served in the same town with me (Brunie) and I were planning to travel to Brazil in August of this year.

But, now it looks like we have to postpone our trip ---at least for several months, perhaps longer. I spoke to Brunie a few weeks ago. Because of some family issues that will not be resolved by August, we cannot travel as we originally planned.

Even though it might not happen so soon, we are still excited about visiting some of our favorite places in Brazil's smallest state Sergipe, including the town where we lived, Nossa Senhora da Glória.

Brunie and I discussed meeting in Atlanta, then flying to Manaus in the Amazon region, then to Aracajú (the capital of Sergipe) where many of our friends and former students live. Aracajú is supposed to be one of the safest and least-spoiled coastal cities in Brazil now. Forty years ago, the beaches had just a few huts where one could purchase beer and boiled crabs which cost about ten cents (U.S.) for three. Apparently there are large hotels and resorts along the coast now.

But we also want to visit Salvador, and Brunie wants to visit friends in Natal, so our itinerary is not set in stone. We will have to see what flights are available when we can actually make reservations.

Of course we want to see how the country has changed in the past 40 years, however, it is the people that we most want to visit. While we lived in Sergipe, the brasileiros were warm and welcoming. They helped us with every-day living. They corrected our Portuguese. They became our friends.

Alcione (the daughter of the elementary school director with whom we worked) has been my main contact and is coordinating our visit. I have also been in contact with several other of our neighbors and former students and we are thrilled that we will be able to see them again.  But for now, we don't know when that will happen.

When I finally make it to Brazil, I will, of course, post lots of photos and tell about my travels on my other blog A Little "Peace" of Brazil.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


        I hate reality shows. I watched one episode of Survivor and hated it.  I watched one episode of The Great Race when I knew they were going to be in Brazil ---saw almost none of the country and never watched again. I don't watch American Idol, Big Brother, American's Top Model, Dancing With the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, The Apprentice ---none of those.  I would never watch The Bachelor ---choosing a partner on a show like that is so unreal, I don't know how it fits into the "reality" category.
       But one of my guilty pleasures is America's Got Talent. I'm not sure why it has struck such a chord with me, but at least part of the reason is that I like seeing someone who has talent, but has never been "discovered," making it big.

What I especially like about the show:
        I like the variety of acts. Idol has only singers, but I like seeing comedians, magicians, dancers, ventriloquists, acrobats, and even some of the more bizarre acts.
        And even though he is often booed by the audience, I think Piers Morgan is nearly always right in his assessment of the acts.

What I don't like about the show:
        Too many acts make it to the edited TV broadcast who should be weeded out even before getting to the stage. Only the very best of those who audition ---and there seem to be thousands, so surely there are hundreds who have decent acts ---should get on the broadcast. Then the judges should weed out those who don't have that "something special" that makes for star quality.
        There should be a separate Kids Got Talent. Too many very cute children get sent on to Vegas, but they really aren't talented enough or have enough experience, poise or stage presence to win. Cute should not be enough.  I'm not sure what the cut-off age should be, but anyone under 18 should probably not be performing on Vegas stages, so I would say anyone who is not of legal age, should not be permitted on the show unless, perhaps, they are in a group that includes mostly older members.

        Meanwhile, even with it's flaws I do enjoy America's Got Talent. I usually tape it. As soon as a bad act comes on, I fast-forward through it. Therefore, it takes me 30 minutes (or fewer) to watch an hour-long show.
        Do I vote? Not usually ---the voting is usually closed by the time I watch my tape. Do I have favorites? Of course. Usually they end up in the top 5.