Sunday, December 1, 2013

"Get out of the road!"

Tonight is our last night on vacation in Maui, Hawaii. We did a lot of nice stuff, this place is beautiful. But this post is solely about bitching on the crap stuff about being here.

I am a driver. I drive to work every day, even though it would take me about 15 minutes to cycle to work. The reason I do that? Because I want to save time. It takes me less than 10 to drive. And I feel an asshole about it. While I am on vacation though, I don't want to drive. I want to walk to places, and see how people live in the place I am visiting, learn about their local life style.

In Maui, though, you can't walk anywhere. I stayed in a place near Lahaina, and the main road that connects the housing neighborhood, the hotel neighborhood and the "downtown" is a big motorway with no sidewalks. As far as I can tell, there is no bus lines either, and there's no parallel streets you can walk in either.

The first evening we walked through a pitch black seaside park that had signs saying "this park is closed after 8pm" to be able to get to a restaurant. As much as I know Hawaii and Maui in particular is a safe place, walking in the complete dark and not being able to see whether you're stepping on poop, grass or any weird animal is actually pretty scary. Anyway, we got there, we got food and we took a cab back.

A few days later, we tried again: we walked from our Bed and Breakfast to Roy's, a famous restaurant that was serving delicious Thanksgiving dinner. That time, since we knew that walking through the closed park was pretty scary, we preferred to walk by side side of the road, yes, that motorway. It was pretty scary. When we were near the restaurant, Mark suggested we crossed the road in the classic "Frogger" style, but I told him that I could see a pedestrian bridge and that we should walk to that bridge. We did. We did so we could be pissed off by the fact that, if you walked from the motorway towards that pedestrian bridge, there was no way to access it. It was basically a bridge from nowhere to nowhere else. So we played "Frogger". When we got to the other side, we had also zero sidewalks to walk on, and ended up walking through a grass field that had those water sprinklers that would go on by timer. Luckily we did not get a shower and made it to dinner with only my feet, in summery sandals, completely soaked.

The day after that we took the "road to Hana". Supposedly a very nice adventure. I have to say that the trip was nice. We were advised that sometimes there was no space for two cars in the road, so someone would have to back off to let the other car go. What I wasn't told though, is that the road was perfectly signalized with the right stuff so people would know when to stop and wait for upcoming traffic. The other thing I wasn't told is that nobody respect those signs, making the journey into a complete life threatening nightmare. We gave up half way and came back home, to the bed and breakfast.

We decided then to once more walk to dinner, because it was towards the old town, and not towards the same direction as the "no fucking way there's no side walk to get there" restaurants.

We found out that we could walk through the houses in the neighborhood and then just cross the motorway to get to the other side, where Lahaina downtown is. We did that. The funny part about that walk is that the pedestrian crossing that cross the motorway literally brings the pedestrian to motorway crash barriers with no sidewalk in the other side. Literally once you got to the other side, you had to walk against traffic for a block before you found a sidewalk. We made it to the restaurant, and got a cab back home.

We repeated the same today to see the Old Lahaina Luau. I won't go on and on how the whole Luau thing was a sad celebration on killing local culture and turning it into a circus. On the way home, when we were approaching the pedestrian crossing that took us from the crash barrier to the other side of the street, a stupid asshole driver yells at the window: "Get out of the road!". Seriously? What the fuck in hell people think that cars have more right than humans walking? I just yelled "Go fuck yourself" back, because at this point in my vacation, I was just way too upset to have a discussion on how there was no other possible place for me to walk about than the stupid road, and that yes, I thought it was a stupid thing to do, but I had no other options at that time.

So, I got this awesome tip for development in Maui. Its a means of transportation that allows people to move from place to place, it avoids drunk driving, and spends very little energy: build stupid sidewalks and let me give up on a car, at least on my vacation time!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Sobre a pilantragem...

Meu feed de notícias no Facebook é cheio de indignação com relação a corrupção que acontece no governo.

Não quero desmerecer ou tirar o direito de ninguém se indignar com alguma coisa, mas eu gostaria de propor uma coisa diferente. Vamos pensar sobre o conceito de pilantragem.

Eu não moro no Brasil há quase 10 anos. Uma das coisas que mais me decepciona com o povo brasileiro é a falta o senso de coletivo que se tem. Sim, as pessoas arrombam um laboratório para salvar os cachorrinhos abusados para testes de medicamentos e cosméticos. O povo sai pra rua para protestar pelo direito de protestar, outros vão para rua para protestar contra a corrupção, outros contra sabe-se lá o que. 

Mas será que muita gente não tá jogando pedra na casa dos outros com telhado de vidro? Vamos fazer o exercício do "quem nunca?":

Quem nunca...
  • mentiu na declaração do imposto de renda, só um pouquinho, para não pagar o imposto que deveria, e reaver uns reais a mais do que realmente era de direito?
  • passou na frente do outro na fila do banco, do médico, do mercado, do aeroporto, mentindo ter urgência por um motivo ou outro?
  • pediu para o amigo que trabalha na empresa para qual você está aplicando para uma vaga para dar uma "atenção especial" para si mesmo, ou para um conhecido?
  • ficou indignado que o SUS não funciona, mas quando um familiar precisou, deu todos os jeitinhos para que o tal fulano passasse na frente de todo mundo na fila, mesmo sabendo que salvar a vida do seu talvez custaria a vida de um outro desconhecido?
  • encheu a mala de muambas numa viagem ao exterior, não declarou para a alfândega, apesar de ser completamente ilegal fazer algo desse tipo?
  • colou na prova para passar de ano?
  • pediu um "jeitinho" pra conseguir algo que queria, passando por cima das regras?
  • conhece alguém que recebe uma pensão do governo que não deveria, mas nunca denunciou para o governo?
  • comprou num camelô, ou numa loja sem nota fiscal? Se foi na loja sem nota fiscal, pediu desconto em função da ausência da nota?
  • trabalhou como pessoa jurídica para poder burlar a declaração do imposto de renda?
Se você respondeu que sim a alguma dessas questões acima, seja bem-vindo! Você também faz parte do grupo de pilantras que faz com que o Brasil seja tão podre quanto é. Então pára de falar o Dirceu, do Genoíno e dos outros, porque a diferença entre eles e você é que eles foram pegos fazendo algo, ou supostamente fizeram algo, e você AINDA não.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mario Quintana

He was a writer and translator from my home state in Brazil. He got known as the poet of simplicity. Saw this on my timeline today, thought I would translate and share. Not sure if anything he wrote ever got translated to English. Pardon my poor English though, I am not a poet myself, so be ready for a poor job at conveying his light, cheerful and heart-filling message.

"Over time you start noticing that to be happy with someone else you need, first of all, not to need that person... you learn about loving yourself, taking care of yourself, and specially, about loving those who also love you.

The secret is not to run after the butterflies, it is to take care of your garden so the butterflies come after you.

In the end, you'll find not the one you were looking for, but someone who was actually looking for you."