Self: You again?
Me: Yeah. It’s always me.
Self: How was your day?
Me: Fine. Busy, actually. Yours?
Self: Not bad. Sat around. Read a book. The usual.
Me: Sounds nice. I ran around like crazy today. I feel overwhelmed.
Self: You do? Why?
Me: I don’t know. I feel like I have a lot of stuff going on, a lot of things on my mind, decisions to make and appointments to keep. I’m feeling a little stretched thin.
Self: You’ve never said that before. Not in Brazil, anyway. Living here is the least stressful thing you’ve ever done.
Me: I know, which is why I’m a little weirded out. I’m feeling pressure of some kind and I don’t know where it’s coming from or what it’s about.
Me: Maybe it’s because I’m traveling soon and I feel like I just got back from traveling.
Self: You’re traveling? Oh yeah! For Carnaval! Sweet! A little samba, a little sun, a little street party…Remember last year? Rio? SO much fun! Oh man! I’m wicked jealous!
Me: Yeah, no…no Rio this time.
Self: Oh no? Ouro Preto, then? Big party town! A little street dancing, a little more samba, a little desfilando…!
Me: Yeah, again, no. No Ouro Preto.
Self: Oh. Headed up to Bahia for the celebration? That’s the real true Carnaval, what I hear anyway.
Self: Sao Paulo at least?
Me: Uh-huh. Nope.
Self: (silence, thinking, glaring.) Are you even leaving Campinas?
Me: Yes. I told you I was traveling.
Self: So where are you going?
Me: The Pantanal.
Self: What’s that?
Me: A wetland.
Self: (pause.) So, what, is there like a huge party center there or something?
Self: What’s there?
Me: I don’t know. A bunch of birds and stuff. Alligators. Fish. Stuff like that.
Self: You’re kidding.
Self: You mean to tell me that for your last carnaval in Brazil you are going to go hang out with fish?
Me: Well, I mean, it’s not like I’m going specifically for fish….
Self: Yeah, but you’re going for fish.
Me: No, I’m not.
Self: Yes. You are. Rather than living it up in any of the major carnaval cities where you can stay up all night and wander the streets meeting any number of transvestites, get tan in the ridiculously hot sun on Copacabana Beach, and see fabulous costumes and street parties, you’re going to be in nature?
Me: Well, actually, yeah.
Self: Who ARE you?
Me: Well I did the Rio thing last year. I’ve never been to the Pantanal, I’ve heard a lot about it, I need to have a good chunk of time off to go visit because it’s far away, and I don’t really want to be around loads of people this year.
Self: What’s wrong with loads of people? It’s what makes Carnaval fun! This year you’re going to be surrounded by bugs and swamp and by the end of three days out there you’re going to be begging for something more exciting. Like yellow fever.
Me: I will not be begging for yellow fever, I assure you. (pause, thinking) But there’s nothing wrong with going to a wetland for Carnaval. And it’s not even “for” Carnaval. This is the world’s largest wetland and it’s the rainy season now, as you’ve been seeing for almost three solid weeks, and there’s sure to be amazing wildlife to see. Did you know they have pumas in the Pantanal? Did you know there are giant rat/beavers? Baby armadillos?! Birds galore?! I can go horseback riding! I can go walking for
miles kilometers at a time and see things I’ve never seen before!!
Self: Right. And people? Will there be people there? Or are you just going to surround yourself with those rat/beavers for a week all alone and learn their language and join their family?
Me: No, jerkface. There’ll be other people there. I’m staying at a farm.
Self: A farm.
Me: Yeah. They have horses and stuff there. And hammocks. And a river. With piranha and jacare.
Self: Piranha? You mean the fish that chew you up if you’re bleeding and will kill you with their million tiny teeth?
Self: You can swim with them?
Me: And with the jacare. Those are like alligators. Or crocodiles. I could never tell the difference.
Me: So? Pretty cool, huh?! Not such a bad idea now, is it? Not a bad alternative to crazy carnaval? You wish you could go, don’t you?
Me: Huh? Cool, right?
Self: You are such a dork.