Dear Dr. Medeiros,

Thank you for providing the class with this project that enabled us to use a bit of creativity. All of our projects combined gives us a better understanding of what’s going on in our world today, as well as the past and educates us on how to better it for future generations. I especially enjoyed watching The Motorcycle Diaries, it directly connects to geography and lived up to the high expectations given by you and critics. Finding time to complete the journal entries was not hard. In the beginning, I completed most of my reflections on The World by listening to a segment on the commute to work then jotting down a few notes once I got there. Time management at its finest. The requirement for the number of journal entries started out slow which really helped students get a grasp on it which is greatly appreciated. Thank you for the great experiences and I look forward to learning from you this summer. 

Respectfully Sent,

Matthew Gones

  • I definitely have a better understanding of Islam and the Sunni/Shia divide. Prior to this class I never took the time out to get a better understanding of this culture. After taking this class I found myself having a much better understanding when reading news articles or watching the news covering this topic.
  • Obviously, I have learned a great deal in Germany, my pick for the country profile. I chose this country because I take a great interest in War World Two and thought this country would be easier for me to write about. Sure enough, I found so many other interesting topics to cover about Germany WWll barely made the cut. For some reason, POTUS Trump seemed to almost find his way into my articles. I wonder if his impact is that big around the world? Or I bought into all the media craze of covering Trump?
  • I considered taking the map quizzes a fun assignment. Not only was it fun but it also made you realize how little you actually know. I really enjoyed playing the online map quizzes, those helped out tremendously.
  • The EU (European Union) and NAFTA (North American Free Trade agreement) was interesting to learn about. A Lot of similarities between the two. I think what I enjoyed most about these two organizations is the concept of countries working together on a large scale helping to improve one another.
  • The Columbian Exchange was neat to learn about. I learned of all the different sorts of foods, animals, and diseases that were exchanged in Christopher Columbus’ voyage in 1492.
  • Guns Germs and Steel was an interesting documentary to watch. Europeans having the technological advance over so many cultures enable to conquer and settle pretty much anywhere they wanted.  
  • I took a special interest in the wearing of the veil. This class helped me better understand on who wears the veil, how, and when. For example, Hijab the veil reveals the face, Niqab only the eyes are revealed, Burka the full body is covered, and khimar covers the hair, neck, and shoulders. These are largely connected to religious beliefs. -Quran verse 24; 31 “say to the believing women that they should draw their covering over their bosoms.
  • I can definitely appreciate looking at multiple news sources. I use to mainly watch CNN only because it was the most convenient for me to watch. But conducting a lot of research work on the journal entries has led me to an abundance amount of news media outlets.

Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations was fun to watch considering I have watched a few of his programs prior to this assignment on my own free will. I am pretty sure the majority of the class has run across one of his episodes at some point in time seeing as how he’s aired 152 episodes and been doing it since 2005. Out of all nine seasons, I chose No Reservations (Rio) in honor of them successfully hosting the 2016 Olympics. Anthony Bourdain immediately makes you feel guilty for sitting on the living room couch watching his show from his first scene. All you see is the beautiful Rio culture being displayed at the beach filled with the happy carefree living lifestyle they have built together as a community. He flaunts a roasted pork sandwich that was freshly made by a local and explains how flavoring and moist the sandwich is then going on to even say the taste of the sandwich is burned into his mind and he will never forget it. At this point, you’re hungry and have to pause the show to make something to eat to compensate for what you just saw. I will say an off the wall food I saw him eat was chicken feet, I don’t think I could bring myself to eat chicken

A rather interesting part of the episode is when Bourdain took you to what the locals considered the poor part of Rio. At one point what the local referred to as the ghetto was run by gangsters and drug lords. After the locals protested to have their community be recognized by the government, the government invested 1.7 billion dollars for the rehabilitation of the ghetto. That provided clean water, sanitation supplies, electricity and most importantly law enforcement to provide safety and maintain the peace. After seeing the episode Rio is definitely somewhere that I would consider visiting in the near future.

  1. The Motorcycle Diaries, by Walter Salles Jr, 2004
  2. The Brazilian native, 61-year-old Walter Salles Jr, is mostly known for directing The Motorcycle Diaries. He has directed a total of twenty-five films, produced eighteen, and wrote seven books.
  3. Based on a true story The Motorcycle Diaries is about two young men traveling across South America on a motorcycle named La Poderosa that at times seems to be barely operational and ends up breaking down on them in Chile. Fuser, one semester away from becoming a doctor, and his friend Alberto a biochemist, encounter challenges and experiences that will last a lifetime. “Our restlessness and impassioned spirits” showed Fusers determination to experience this once in a lifetime experience even though his acute asthma attacks seemed unmanageable at times. Along with their journey, they witnessed how lower class citizens were treated poorly and it was accepted amongst their society and considered normal. At one point they were twenty-five days behind schedule due to longer stays at places than expected. For example, their first stop was Argentina and they were only supposed to stay two days. Fuser falls in love with a local girl (Chachina) and ends up staying longer. I found it interesting Chachina provided Fuser with $15 to bring her back a swim suit, but he ends up giving it to a mining couple that needs it more even though Fuser needed to use it to pay for medical attention for himself.
  4. Written as a narrative story, Walter Salles leaves you with the feeling this movie could have just as easy been a documentary. His accuracy of the accepted division amongst the rich and poor enriched the authenticity of the film. After researching I still can’t determine if the locals were legitimate locals or paid actors.   
  5. Watching The Motorcycle Diaries, the ratio of strengths definitely outweighs the weakness. One aspect that makes the film authentic in my esteemed opinion is keeping its characters Spanish speaking with subtitles. Some movies are based in a Spanish country with Spanish-English speaking actors to make seem authentic but completely ruins the authenticity.
  6. I believe that Walter Salles’ purpose was to identify the gap that there is in this world between our rich/healthy and poor/sick. I also believe if there was a point that Salles was making through The Motorcycle Diaries that there is an unexcitable gap between our rich and unhealthy. This movie is just a small step in helping the world realize the huge problem we have in most countries around the world. which is adequate health care for the ones without being able to pay for it.    
  7. Walter Salles, The Motorcycle Diaries displayed how geography can have a direct physical effect amongst the healthy and sick which more times than often translates into wealthy and poor. I found it interesting the Amazon River in Peru separates The San Pablo Leper Colony from “nurses”. It seemed to be more of a division between healthy and sick. I loved how Fuser felt that he was a part of the San Pablo Leper Colony. His determination to swim across the thirty foot deep Nile River to spend his birthday night with the “sick/poor” really connected to the viewer that Fuser did not think of himself any different even though accepted amongst the healthy community. Since you know this film is based off a true story, leaves you to wonder if Fuser thought of himself as unhealthy due to his at times chronic asthma condition.




A notion of Progress is about two people having a discussion about the progress their country has made over the past decade. Issues are discussed and compared to neighboring countries and their conditions of the roads, and the lack thereof drainage systems not provided for the citizens. Naturally, technology was one of the factors that were compared in this discussion. They had the same debate that we are having here in the United States as to whether technology is affecting our education. Using the glass half full was a good analogy to use to help the reader get the character’s perception of how they view the world.  tech-image   

Learning about the cultural geography in Morocco in A Notion of Progress seemed pretty similar to the United States. The similarities are almost identical to the US, at one point they reference a decade prior no one had a computer and now internet cafes are opening faster than you can count them. They even talk about long lines at the post office and how unorganized it was. We experience those same kinds of inconveniences here in the United States but, even to the extent where an individual gets unpatient and starts using profanity. We have all seen that one person having a bad day.

A Paying Guest is a short story that describes how a Moroccan was sent to London to work for the Moroccan Office for Commerce. Prior to arriving in London she already has this impression of Europeans not having the same appreciation for certain qualities in life as Moroccans. After arriving she was met by what seemed to be the nice woman that allowed her to stay in her guest only to charge her at the end of her stay. After bringing it up several times that she let her stay in her house as a guest, the guest let it be bedknown she was a paying guest. After that, there was no more mention of her being anyone’s guest.

I think this tells you a lot about the Moroccan culture because she was under the impression that she would not have to pay. Being from the Moroccan culture her naturally assumed the guest room was a show of hospitality. She did not expect to give anything in return. I believe this would be the major difference in the American culture and Moroccan culture. The majority of Americans are raised believing that nothing in life is free, and if you are offered a favor assume that the person offering is expecting something in return. Her being from the Moroccan culture was naive to the fact that she was being charged for her stay the entire time.   

Our Planet is so Breathtaking

Planet Day, one of the more important holidays in my humbled opinion. Actually, it wouldn’t be a bad idea if we had Planet Day at least once a month considering our current global warming situation. Germany contributes to our beloved planet on other occasions besides Earth Day. For Example, Germany’s developmenBreathtakingt ministry has taken action and played an important role in Plant-for-the-Planet, the day of the tree. Plant-for-the-Planet’s motto is “Stop talking start planting”, started by a nine year old as class project exploded into a worldwide project. Nine years of hard work paid off and they successfully planted nine million trees. Its estimated 3.5milllion to 7million trees are cut down every year. With that being said I think its safe to say Germany’s role of adding nine million trees to this planet over a nine year span has made a positive contribution towards the fight against global warming. The Black Forest located in southwest Germany definitely can appreciate the impact Fit-for-the-Planet is making.