Queen Bob, Approximately

News item: "The legendary American musician Bob Dylan went bicycle riding disguised as a woman at Punta del Este, Uruguay, where he closed out his Latin America tour."

Dylan blew in and out of South America like a damp Amazonian tempestade. In Mexico City, he worked out in a boxing gym without being recognized. In São Paulo, he drew
criticism for the ridiculously high ticket prices for his shows, reaching $530 for VIP seats. This triggered a futile last-minute attempt by Brazilian Senator Eduardo Suplicy (who says that "Blowing in the Wind" is his favorite song, to try to set up a free concert in Ibirapuera Park.

Through all his transformations - from folkie to hard rocker to hermit to orthodox jew to born-again christian - the images of Dylan strumming for sharecroppers and singing at the civil rights March on Washington, as shown in Martin Scorcese´s documentary "With no Direction Home" still remain as defining moments in his public identity.

One can only imagine what flowed through Dylan´s mind as he pedaled around the resort located on a strip of land separating the mouth of the River Plate from the Atlantic. In his vertiginous southern swing, it´s unlikely he perceived the parallels between the social and environmental degradation of the Mississippi, at whose headwaters he was born, with the devastation taking place in the La Plata basin, such as the mega-pulp mills being built on the Paraná River.

For those of us for whom the dawning of our political awareness was accompanied by a Dylan soundtrack, the idealism embodied in much of his music continues to define Dylan´s being. Hope you come back soon, Bob. I look forward to seeing you one day in an Indian village on the banks of the Xingu playing "Watching the River Flow".

Postscript: Dylan has influenced International Rivers´ transformations as well...