Pedro Ávila

The City receives me… São Paulo, a Beast stretching beyond the horizon from 20K feet and we still can’t see a discernible end to this place. For the first time, I enter as an outsider, I feel as if home is distant and blue-tinted like a mountain you never reach. A citizen of nowhere for a moment, even if that moment will only last a few months. A new found perspective already begins to form around me like a gaseous cloud of vapor from a fog machine.

For the first time, though, the city doesn’t seem so ugly, so hopelessly destroyed. Many buildings lie in ruins from neglect, this is true, but for the first time I sense the history in them, the injustice. I see that it’s not entirely their fault.

This is the point where we begin to sink if we’re not careful. Or sometimes even where we’re careful, it doesn’t do any good. The mud slides between our fingers, the water pours in and when it starts, there’s no stopping it. And even if it eventually recedes, there’s always a water line you can’t seem to erase.

Outside the rain falls, half-asleep — almost as I am.

I notice that truck drivers here are tougher and have more calloused faces, as if life were a steel string guitar and they played it with their cheeks. I can’t say that its a hardship that I know or could even understand. But it certainly is apparent.

And for all the irony in a man who achieves so much at so young an age, I feel that there is some appeal in this scratched living, some nobility. Not so much because of the pride of doing honest work instead of falling off the wagon into the ditch of easy villainy, as I often feel I have. But there is a certain admiration that you have to have for someone who persists, even if it’s because that’s the only way they know how.

I just happen to know better, but what if I didn’t, you know? Could I be a Bruce Wayne and shed my privileges to earn the knowledge of such a state? Could I be born from my own ashes and rise back to where I am? Would it work?

It’s a shame I’m not sure what I’m looking for…I have a feeling I’d find it real quick.

So I continue to admire the rough edges on everything, slowly sanded by time. The rain, castigating and unforgiving like the roads in this place; it calms me and helps age the country just right.

So be it. Let’s see what adventures are in store for us in this episode of life, eh?

On BR-381: The Fernao Dias – March, 2006

Pedro Ávila Pedro Ávila

For a reasonably sane & productive member of society (arguable, but let’s not complicate things), I’m far too mobile and unrooted. I travel quite a bit for a job that is simultaneously my greatest privilege and my worst burden.

So I write. And I write. Travel pieces, political journalism (a stretch from ranting but, still), short stories, poetry and other such riff-raff. I contribute to a handful of publications and will probably just keep going until something gives out, or someone gives in.


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