quinta-feira, 13 de abril de 2017

In the hidden heart of Las Vegas

Participei de um concurso que concorria a uma viagem de dez dias para três países da região balcãs, na Europa. Era o 2017 World Nomads Travel Writing Scholarship in the Balkans. Foram cerca de 8.500 participantes do mundo inteiro e os três vencedores, anunciados hoje, foram: um americano, um australiano e um neo zelandês. Como durante todo o processo os concorrentes podiam ler os textos uns dos outros, eu imaginava que era praticamente impossível vencer, pois havia textos excelentes de todas as partes do mundo. Como o texto era em inglês, e estou com preguiça para traduzir para o português, publico aqui o original, que concorreu ao prêmio. PS: usei o tamanho máximo permitido pelo regulamento, pois a história seria bem maior, se fosse permitido.

On a hot dry night of June 2014, I traded five dollars in paper for five dollars in coins so I could bet on the plastic horses at the Fremont Experience casino in Las Vegas. My future depended on my luck. The money from my scholarship, which I received to study for a year at NYU, was nearly gone and I was going on a cross-country trip from San Diego to New York. The scholarship was granted to me to travel from my home in Brazil to study for a year in the US. My plan was to cross the country from East to West, from New York to California, by bus then turn around and journey back to New York by car.
By the time I got to Vegas I had spent more than I expected to spend. I imagined myself a Brazilian Bukowski. While betting, I drank the beer that was served, for free, to the bettors. I went to the casino at 8PM. When I stumbled out onto the street at 2AM, I was drunk and happy. Somehow I had managed to win over a thousand dollars. My life had been saved.
That night I lived the American dream. I was Kerouac and Hunter Thompson. I was the real Gatsby. Well, I realized I was still poor and far away from home, but I sure felt relieved. The trick to win on the horses is to keep spinning and not stay sitting in the same place. I commented about this to a 50-year-old lady with gigantic breasts. She did not believe me. She loudly murmured: Bullshit.
During this trip I left the sky to visit the bottom of the well, thinking I would have to make my passage from New York on to Brazil because I was out of money. But I completely changed my style of life as a teacher by traveling like Kerouac, immersing myself in the interior culture of the US, a culture I had only known through literature and cinema. I have now seen what the country has, both better and worse: beautiful mansions and beggars on the streets.
In Las Vegas, walking with thousands of tourists, I stopped to talk with a street musician. He had a sign that said, "I do not show up in the movies shot in Vegas."
- Do you live on the street?
- I live under the earth.
- Under the earth?
- Yes, I live in one of the hidden tunnels of the city.
I remembered that once I had read some reportage about it. Even so, I asked him:
- Why?
He laughed and indicated with open arms what was around us.
- Look around you and you will have the answer.
Even with little money, I put a five dollar bill in his pot, to which he smiled and said:
- The next one is for you.
And he played a classic: Imagine, by John Lennon.

0 Comentários:

Postar um comentário

<< Home