Doug McLean World Tour 1999-2000

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Aug. 24-Sept. 11, 2000: 

Back to Brazil

Current Date/Location: Sept. 25, 2000...in Sucre, Bolivia.  

ATTENTION to Fellow Backpackers: 

There are lots of roadblocks and much tension here in Bolivia right now. If you are planning to travel to Bolivia soon...DON'T. I was recently delayed for over 5 days trying to go from Santa Cruz to Sucre...if you can avoid Bolivia right now...Avoid it until things change. Impossible to travel out of La Paz, Santa Cruz, Cochabamba without flying...blockades everywhere.

 Current Itinerary: 

Will stay in Sucre for a day or two more...internet is cheap, and the roads are blocked...truly a recipe for piles of Journals from Doug (watch out!). Then I will try to make my way to Potosi and Uyuni if possible and be touristy. If situation deteriorates in Bolivia I will have to fly out. 

JOURNAL 

August 24 through September 12, 2000: 

OK...so I don't have any recollection of the exact events by day (much to the delight of some of my friends/readers)...so here is a summary of this time in Sao Paulo with LUCIANA:

 Luciana is now in Sao Paulo, Brazil doing a short 3 month residency in the Hospital das Clinicas. She is fortunately able to stay for this short period with her brother, Ricardo, who has been living in Sao Paulo for awhile. I arrived by plane on the 25th (I think) of August...and took a bus to their apartment (Luciana was working). There was a key and a note waiting for me with the security guard and I went up. Ricardo was in the apartment at the time and I met him for the first time. 

Ricardo is BIG into sailing and is also an aspiring actor/screen writer. (NOTE: Mike H. in LA, you may know Ricardo...he had lived in Santa Monica for a long time and was active in the sailing clubs...Ricardo Barretto...he said your name was familiar...but couldn't place it with your face) He had just finished writing the script for a film that he hopes to be able to make in the near future. Anyway, he welcomed me into the apartment with open arms. The note from Luciana was lovely and there were pastries waiting for me...and my own bottle of COKE in the 'fridge...ahhhhh...everything I need...except Luciana. Also a yellow and a red rose in a lovely vase on the table...smile.

 Luciana managed to get off from work early that day...it was great to finally see her again. Needless to say...lots pathetic hugging, kissing, and rubbing of noses...I think Ricardo was nauseated at the whole thing...smile. 

From this point on...I don't recall all the details...but here are some of the highlights... 

- LUCIANA! Ahhhh...everything about her. Smile...it was great to be with her again...after so long away from her and to return and have everything be perfect. Thank goodness for the internet...ICQ, e-mails, and dialpad.com had made it easier being away...but nothing like being back with her. She is still as perfect as she ever was...even more so. 

- Me being disgusted at Luciana's schedule...Doctors in residency are supposed to work 5-12 hour days per week...meaning 60 hours per week. The first 3 weeks of September in the ICU she is scheduled to work 84 hours a week...SCHEDULED! Including one shift that is two consecutive 24 hour days...needless to say, I was ranting and raving at this schedule. I know that doctors work long hours, but this type of schedule (in my opinion) is INSTITUTIONAL MALPRACTICE. If she is tired after 80 hours of work in a week and mis-diagnoses or mis-prescribes something because she is tired...do you think the hospital will take the blame for errors made due to her being tired and worked like a slave!?? NO! The hospital will work her to death, and if there are problems they will abandon her (or any of the doctors) and they will be held accountable for their errors. I don't care if doctors can sometimes work these hours in an emergency...but to be SCHEDULED for 84 hour work weeks with odd sleeping hours is a recipe for disaster...with the patients and the doctors suffering the consequences. If I ever go into a hospital that has doctors in residency, I intend to ask them how many hours they are working a week...and if it is too much, I intend to refuse their care and request the head physicians (who don't work those absurd hours) and to pressure them to reduce hours on residents...if a doctor screws up it is serious. Of all the professions that SHOULD know the detrimental effects of sleep deprivation on work efficiency...you would think that the medical community would be the FIRST, not the LAST to take precautions. OK...enough of me on my soap box...I was also pissed that this schedule cut down on the time that I would have with Luciana...but that is the life of a doctor's boyfriend...c'est la vie. 

- Ricardo has a great collections of English books...so while I was there I read: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho: Excellent book. Tales of a Spanish sheep herder who follows his dreams and travels to far lands. EXCELLENT! Great book for travelers. 

The Valkarie (sp?) - Paulo Coelho: Kind of a funky search for understanding...OK, but not the greatest book...read it only if you have little else to do. 

1984 - George Orwell: Scary...very scary. A warning from the past about where we might be headed in our future...more realistic than I'd care to acknowledge. Good read. 

Animal Farm - George Orwell: A true warning of the downside of communism...set on a farm where the animals revolt. Good and quick read. 

Timeline - Michael Crichton: Pretty good book involving time travel. 

Arabian Nights - Translation by somebody I forgot...sorry: AWESOME. This is the book that includes the stories of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Aladin and the Lamp, and Sinbad...really a great book...a true classic. 

The Art of War - Sun Tzu: Ancient Warriors´ Wise Words giving the ¨Ancient Chinese Secret¨ of how how to kick ass and take names...great! 

- Watched the following movies: 

Fight Club - Great movie. Really, even if you are turned off by the name, most of the younger generation will love this movie. It is very well done. 

Gabriela - Based on Jorge Amado's book Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon (which I bought in Sao Paulo). The movie is all in Portuguese...kind of hard to follow...no, actually it is really hard to follow. But, the movie is shot in the beautiful town of Paraty (Where I had visited in January with my friend Andrea) and has another saving grace...the young Sonia Braga. Sonia Braga is the beautiful Brazilian actress (better known in the USA for her part in the movie, Moon Over Parador)...who plays Gabriela in this movie. Some of the motivation to watch this sometimes confusing movie is that a necessary part of the story requires that Sonia Braga, as Gabriela, be nude during much of the movie...this critical part of the storyline doesn't exactly detract from the movie's appeal. See the movie if you want...but I thoroughly enjoyed the book when I later read it, and highly recommend the book. 

- Luciana and I spent as much time together as possible. We also worked on getting her passport and VISA to visit the USA...passport was accomplished...VISA interview is to be scheduled...I hope she gets it so she can visit TEXAS! 

- The apartment is also shared by Luis and often by Luis' girlfriend Fabiana. We had many dinners together and they are great people. One of the best days we had around Sao Paulo was when the five of us piled in a car that Luis had rented and went out of the town to the hillsides and climbed some of the rock formations. It was a spectacular day...and we ended up going to a Strawberry and Flower Festival later that day as well. We danced, ate strawberries, looked at flowers, and had a great time...many thanks to Luis and Fabiana for a wonderful trip! 

- The apartment is near Parque Ibuapuerra...a nice big city park...I recommend it if you spend some time in Sao Paulo. 

I finally decided I needed to continue my travels for a little longer...and by staying longer in Sao Paulo I figured I would deprive my beautiful, overworked, and sleepy girlfriend of much needed time to sleep...so I figured I should leave and go explore Paraguay, Bolivia, and Peru. Departure date out of Sao Paulo would be Sept 12. 

Doug

Texas Nomad