When I went to Brazil to act as director of the Brazilian edition of EL PAÍS, everyone in the newspaper in Madrid advised me: “If you have any problems, call Juan Arias.”
When I arrived, everything seemed incomprehensible and overwhelming: the country itself, the politics, the dimensions, the history, the labor relations, the enormous size of the cities, the human relationships, the kind, sympathetic, but often sinuous way that Brazilians have. of behaving, the habit of not saying no but not doing what they consider not to be done …
So I called Juan Arias constantly to ask him about Brazil and the Brazilians. About the important and the anecdotal, about the good and the bad, sometimes several times in a day. “Juan, what do you think?”, “Juan, what do you think?”, “Juan, what’s going to happen?”, “Juan, do you really think …?”
And Juan, from his beautiful house on the beach in Saquarema, always answered the phone with his infinite patience and guided me, slowly, without condescension or petulance.
Read the texts of Juan Arias
After spending a fortune on the phone I went to visit him, I met his extremely intelligent wife Roseana, I fell in love with the views that can be seen from the door of his house and, when I said goodbye, the next day, I told myself that you have to know a lot about the life to end up in a corner like that, accompanied by a woman like that, doing the things he does.
He told me that he gets up early every day and walks several kilometers alone on the beach and that it is at those moments that he mentally elaborates the articles, or the form of the articles, or the subject of the articles, and I thought of the troubled journalists fast that we run from one place to another chasing what Juan finds every day at seven in the morning while he walks through the paradise in the form of a beach that he has across the street.
After meeting him personally, of course, I not only asked him about Brazil and Brazilians, but about Spain, the distance, friends, literature, loneliness or sadness. About his enormous life, about his travels, about his books. About myself. And Juan, from his beautiful home in Saquarema, always answered the phone with his infinite patience and guided me, wisely, calmly.
Now that I live in Spain, we use guasap, which is cheaper.
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