Saturday, June 26, 2010 is Now Live!

Ladies and gentlemen, my tenure at Blogger has come to an end. Fly Brother has flown over to WordPress, with a new URL: The new site will continue to give you the fly international flavor you've come to expect from Fly Brother travel posts, plus offer links to podcasts, videos, books, and music that will lift you whether you're in the air or the armchair.

So, please update your links and subscription feeds to reflect Fly Brother's new address:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I Love What You Do For Me, FEE-atchee!

I bought a car. Finally, after taking three hours to get to the doctor's office, or seven hours to do three things by bus in Brasília (which really means Orlando in Portuguese), I have my 2011 Fiat Palio Fire Economy. Fiat (pronounced FEE-atchee here) is an Italian car company that doesn't exactly make Ferraris, but keeps me from having to hoof it around the Brazilian capital. I financed the $18,000 thing for sixty months, which means my monthly payment is about 10% of my pre-tax salary, but I think I got a good deal, all things considered; cars are a luxury Brazil. Anyway, I would write more, but I gotta put some kilometers on my new baby. She's preto vulcão, which means volcanic black* (or, Black Like Me, as I like to say), but I need a name for her. Suggestions?

*Y'all know I'm taking it over to somebody's cousin's house in the hood to get a spoiler and that darkboy tint on the windows, right?

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Friday, June 18, 2010

Impactful Author José Saramago Dies at 87

Portuguese author and Nobel Prize winner José Saramago, whose chilling Ensaio sobre a cegueira was published in English as Blindness, and later made into the movie of the same name, died today at his home in the Canary Islands. Usually, his stories analyzed human behavior in the face of incredible circumstances, such as the plague of sudden "white blindness" that hits an unnamed city in Blindness. Saramago outlined the disintegration of society as both the inability to see and the accompanying wave of uncertainty sweeps through the population, with the book being much more disturbing and graphic than the film (i.e. read the damn book, slackers!).

The movie version, released in 2008 with Julianne Moore and Danny Glover, was filmed mostly in São Paulo because of the city's relative lack of distinguishable landmarks (for most people outside of Brazil), which supports an atmosphere of urban placelessness that is the reason for Saramago's omission of proper nouns in the novel; the events portrayed could essentially happen anywhere.

Like Gabriel García Márquez, Saramago was a master of magical realism, making fantasy tangible in the lives of his protagonists, but unlike Gabo's fanciful Caribbean dreamscapes, Saramago danced around the fringes of nightmare and sometimes crossed over into the darkness. Get thee to a library and get lifted!

Here's the trailer from the film:

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

80 Years in the A

Y'all wasn't exactly expectin' a pitcher a'Mammy, wuzya?

Eighty years ago this week, Monroe, Louisiana-based Delta Air Lines began serving Atlanta Airport with one daily nonstop to Birmingham. From that skimpy hop over the state line, Delta has developed ATL into the world's largest airline hub, with nonstop flights to over 80 international destinations and who-knows-how-many domestic cities (well, Wikipedia probably knows, but...). In fact, it's because of Delta that whether you're going to Heaven or Hell, you'll have to change planes at ATL.

A large part of the reason I like Delta (theoretically, anyway) is because of its commitment to Atlanta, a Southern city that, for all its faults, has always been much more progressive than the region to which it belongs, no doubt a positive consequence of its connections to the rest of the world. Likewise, Southern culture gets exported as well, from the unrefined graciousness of the cleaning ladies in the terminal to the gleam of the TSA agent's gold toothmy home culture, for better or worse. Oh, and there's also that Chick-fil-A in Concourse A.

You can read more about Delta and the A at the airline's blog. Meanwhile, in honor of Delta's 80th anniversary at the doubly-named Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, I leave you with Atlanna's own OutKast and their Southern Gothic classic, "Ms. Jackson," probably filmed right down US-19 from the airpert itself. For real.

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Saturday, June 12, 2010

An Afternoon in Brasília, Part Deux -or- Why I'm Gettin' A Car With the Paycheck I Just Got

I know the numbers are hard to read, but let's try and follow along anyway, shall we?

Mode of Transport
Green Line = Bus
Red Line = Foot

1. Spot where the bus dropped me off in the vaguely-named block, SHIS QI 15, for a doctor's appointment (Brasília's full of vaguely-named blocks. "SHIS" means South Sector of Individual Habitations in Portuguese. Don't know what the "QI" stands for). Time, 5:30pm. Appointment, 6:15pm.

2. Point where I realized that I was entering SHIS QI 13, and not headed towards Bloco "O" in QI 15, the location of the doctor's office. Decided to head towards the lone commercial strip in the block and ask for directions.

3. Point within the commercial strip where I encountered at least four people who either couldn't give me directions to where I was going, or gave me convoluted directions in a language I didn't understand. In addition, there was no ATM in this commercial strip and I had no cash; therefore, a cab was out of the question. My appointment was in 15 minutes. I found a lady who spoke rudimentary English who told me I could walk to the office in about 20 and pointed me in the right direction.

4. Point where got pissed at seeing the bus stop where I'd disembarked a mere 35 minutes before.

5. Point where I stopped and wondered if turning right would mean a short cut. I continued straight, of course.

6. I got to the gotdamn medical park and spent another 15 minutes running from building to building asking people in white coats where my doctor was located, only to have them tell me with pained faces, "You know what, honestly, I don't really know. Ask the doorman." Y'all don't know shit in Brazil, do ya? Time of arrival at doctor's office, 6:20pm. Appointment, 6:15pm. I wish somebody would have told me I had to reschedule.

Liked that? Read about another afternoon I had recently in Brasília.

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

VTP: India

This post is part of a monthly series of eye candy at Fly Brother, imaginatively named VTP (short for Vintage Travel Posters). We'll see how travel companies and bureaus have been enticing people off the couch since international leisure travel first became a bourgeois conceit. Few places stimulate the imagination for better or worse than India, though travel posters seem to have focused primarily on elephants, the Taj Mahal, and multi-armed Hindu deities to sell a continent-sized country full of over a thousand languages and just as many cultures. Still, the colorful, detailed designs make up for the lack of thematic ideas.

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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Re-Post: Scenes of Sampa

These photos are from a couple of years ago, but I think the energy and feel of São Paulo remains palpable in each shot. I was also a little bit too occupied with getting my club on this weekend to refresh the album with new images; sometimes a playa just has to play.

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