Daily Archives: December 4, 2008

Genial

these are just notes. J., who I think it’s OK to say is from Peru, not “Argentina,” gave me a gift of “coca candy.” I ate one!! Does this mean I’m going to be up all night? The ingredients are: COCAMELO [all-caps on the package], caramelo elaborado a base de esenc la natural de hojas de coca, entre otros. If you guys think I will not make it through customs with this candy, PLEASE LET ME KNOW. Because I’m thinking about throwing it in my carry-on and… carrying on! It says it helps altitude sickness and is an “energizer.”

J.’s friend S. (yes it’s hopelessly affected that I’m protecting identities but it’s much better than the alternative which is bumming people out by writing about them without their knowledge on the internet) and her friend whose name I just genuinely forgot but it’s something festive and circular: Rudompopopo or something. They picked us up in a tiny hatchback at our hotel (J. is in the same hotel, as he is also an out-of-country panelist. I think we are the only two non-brazilians). S. is J.’s friend from something or other; friend of ex-girlfriend I think. She is a journalist at S.P.’s 2nd largest daily. We were in the tiny car listening to it sounded like that british dj who does mixes internationally as well as on KCRW — metropolis — british guy — anyway — S. made a comment along the lines of “I had a feeling” when it was revealed that I didn’t speak Portuguese and little spanish, but J., who is from Peru, claims to have a bitch of a time with Portuguese. I don’t know why I keep being surprised that Portuguese isn’t more understandable to spanish-speakers. I said I spoke a little spanish but they went on in English, but it was excruciating because their english wasn’t great and I felt like when you’re pretending to sleep in the same room where people are hanging out and everyone is pretending to whisper and I felt like an American fuckface so finally, at some pt in the conversation I “casually” replied in spanish but J. didn’t seem to notice and carried on in English but then S. said “shall we speak in Spanish?” and we crossed over and I did admirably well! That is the sound of my own horn being drunkenly self-tooted, in case you were confused about what that sound was. We went to a place in Madalena called TK I have the card I’ll record it electronically later  if you care. The policy is they keep bringing you choppes until you actually ask them not to. Waiters walk around with trays of poured smallish li’l glasses of beer and without noticiing (because you have abysmal peripheral vision) there is always a new beer in front of you. Until you say não. The place was called Genial: “Chopp & cozinha de bar.” I had a Prato [do?] Mão — tr. mom’s plate, which S. said was what Brazilians eat every day, basically: A steak with a fried egg on top and french fries and rice, with beans in a big bowl that gets passed around the table. They had tabasco sauce, too. We had some li’l dudes to start, pasteis I can’t spell anything sorry. I got in trouble at one pt when J. was talking about old men/young girl relationships, and I was so happy to be keeping up in spanish in general and then I  got  excited that I knew how to say “sixteenth century” so I was like “that’s some 16th century shit” in Spanish and there was the conversational equivalent of the record stylus skittering across vinyl and he switched icily to English and was like “what do you mean?” and I was like, meekly, “…that’s some 16th century shit?” and he was like “yes, but what?” and there was fathomless silence and I muttered, in English, “ummaii dunnoo…” wishing for the good times of me being like “LUGAR LUGAR HAW HAW LUGAR!!!” and everyone “lovin it”, but instead it was just  john digweed pounding tinnily/remotely on the hi-fi… but the moment of course passed, and it was all good once more.

Tomorrow is technically my last day, though I leave sorta late on Saturday, hence not arriving home till Sunday. I am I am I am I am writing about myself on the internet. Thanks for reading.

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so far

so we left off when I left for sfo

let’s pick up the story from there

I went to sfo

went to the international terminal feelin all bold n busty

but then went to the domestic terminal because I was flying to ny

tail b/w legs

flew to ny

wrote some of my “speech” on the plane

talked to old lady next to me

landed, rushed to brazil gate, got there as they were boarding

pandemonium at this gate

chaos

boarded

as I got to my seat, three rows of brazilian dudes are standing and laughing and talking loudly

I sit down and my seatmate immed. begins asking qs

Do I speak portuguese? oh only english. where am I going/why

he is returning to brazil for the first time in 9 years

I ask if he knows these guys, everyone is talking and very friendly

he says no that’s just how brazilians are

they pass out el folhea (sp fuck you I’ll check spellings/facts later these are just NOTES so be kind), SP’s daily newspaper, there is flooding, TKm people displaced from their homes, he asks me how many were displaced by katrina; I don’t know, feel like an ass. (Later, reading about recent violence/deaths in Nigeria next to stories about the attacks in Mumbia, I again feel this simultaneous meaninglessness and profound importance of quantity w/r/t suffering)

the flight is half-full, after take off I move to an empty row

sleep for a few hours, maybe four?

watch a fair amt of a movie without sound, starring vince vaughn, paul giamatti as santa claus? it looks fantastic. then a bit of shrek 2 or maybe 3

get off plane in sao paulo, maybe 11:30 a.m.

take a long time trying to figure out which bus goes to hotels

take bus to hotels

see outskirts (airport is 30 km away from city) from bus

weird heiroglyphic-like grafitti prominently on facades of buildings. is that a prison 10 km from the airport? looks like one. A mail store called FARTO makes me wish I had a camera for the first time.

bus lets me off early, tells me and a guy from Puerto Alegre, as far as I can understand, that the bus doesn’t go to our hotels but we should share a taxi. we share a taxi. he doesn’t really speak english, does network stuff, loves San Francisco, CA. I semi-accidentally pay both our fares, as I’m dropped off, approx. $4 U.S.

hotel. check in. there is some materials from the cultural institution that brought me here. I go buy a sandwich I mentioned in the comments section of a different blog (best new blog of 2008; “even dirtier palmtrees” is the link on my “blogroll”. my “L” key is sticky, btw)

drink 1.5L of water, run on the hotel treadmill, email times, email times, shower, shave, head over to the cultural insitution where there is another “panel” / “debate” / whatever

really huge crowd, mostly young, journalism students I think

big crowd

fun crowd

lotsa people snacking

It doesn’t seem like there are any translation devices so I think “fuck it I need to get a sense of how these debates operate; it doesn’t matter if I don’t understand a word, I’m just going to sit through it.” this is what I do. I end up taking lots of me-style notes about superficiality, caracature, listening to a language you don’t understand, etc. All of it genius, just hysterical, outta-the-ballpark-type observations. Wait till you guys read my notes on this lecture I didn’t understand a word of. I’m thinking James Thurber award. Seriously. Just kidding.

Afterward there is a reception with champagne and FRUIT JUICES. not mixed. separate. I drink champagne and a mysterious red juice.

finally I can’t stand the isolation the gnawing, impending loneliness, and I see someone with a badge and I just say “ARE YOU ANTONIO?” (Names still changed, whatever). He says “NO BUT I CAN FIND HIM” [It is loud in the sala] “WHO ARE YOU?” and so I begin to meet people, end up going to dinner with the dude who brought me here and my co-panelist. An italian restaurant pretty far away. “lots of writers, famous film critics are here.” I drink a bohemia (“brazil’s oldest beer still being made”) and a Crampa (not real name, I’ll remember. Carpa. THESE ARE NOTES). Literary discussions. Women discussions. Good times. “I have a friend who is a brazilian rock star, I have to go to the show, you must be very tired (it is 1 a.m.), but you can come.” we go. it feels like a movie, all the elements — smoky, cheesy grungy music, crowd, lights — I don’t know. it felt fake. but fun. we got free beer b/c of band-connection. co-sponsored by Converse. In a red light district. walking back to where cabs were easier to find, passed many prostitutes and sketchy solicitous dudes. I learned about “paco grande” (sp, I have it right in my notes), who had Retinitis Pigmentosa and was jessica lange’s boyfriend. more on paco grande later.

fall asleep like 2:30 a.m.

wake up at 9:15 a.m. more slowly than I can ever remember. it feels like I’m floating, so slowly, from the bottom of a very deep pond. amazing. I reach the top of the pond and open my eyes, no idea where I am. I fart, pee, drink water, and sink back to the bottom of the pond.

wake up at 11:45 a.m. I guess the time precisely. do my little morning routine, exercise, work on computer. leave the hotel by 1:30 p.m. or so. Plan on getting lunch with “Jorge”. I have his “Argentinian” cell number. why do I feel the need to protect his identity. I have not protected “paco grande”‘s identity. I eat five mini pao de quiejo to “tide me over” till lunch. these are fried cheese balls. j cancels on lunch. I have a meeting with some film dudes who I have been put in touch with at 5. I walk over to where the meeting is, am about 2 hours early, so walk around some more, pretty aimlessly. see street names I recognize from recommendations, and turn down them. am in a pretty fancy neighborhood. upper west sidey. buy some postcards, and a little reporter’s notebook.

go to film dude meeting. fancy office. pointless but fine meeting. possible money-making opportunities. whatever. I love you.

film dude is very busy, apologizes he can’t show me around. he asks if the cultural institution that brought me here is showing me around and I lie. he recommends an expensive churrasceria.

I leave his office feeling somewhat alienated. planning to return to the hotel area, I soon cross the name of the st. he mentioned in talking about the churrasceria. I am hungry. I walk down the road, which is not a fun road. it is very trafficky. highly trafficked. I am almost run over by a motorcycle. I am jogging to avoid it, it is turning into me! help!! I do not die.

I walk for about 40 minutes, emboldened by signs that say the name of the neighborhood he said the restaurant was in. I know this restaurant is going to be wrong for a sweaty lonely guy, but I’m going for it. I don’t feel like returning to the hotel to think about New Journalism, or looking in a guidebook to go to a museum. I wanna walk around, and discover something! Rebecca Solnit, Will Self, and Geoff Nicholson have all written books I haven’t read about this feeling.

I arrive at the neighborhood. Upper East Sidey. I find the restaurant, proud of myself for I have never taken out a map or anything! The restaurant is large and very fancy and empty. It looks like if you gave Sizzler $50m U.S. to build a restaurant in Brazil. E.g. it is very fancy, but somehow felt chain-y, too. I didn’t go in.

I now have to pee and am very hungry. this story is so interesting to you, who are my mother, and as my mother you find everything about me interesting. My mom doesn’t read this blog. She just sent me a txt mssg asking if I was home yet. I get home sunday.

I walked by a bakery and bought three tiny Brigadeiros, which are little balls o chocolate covered in chocolate spreenkles. I ate them, and was cheered. I have not made any effort to learn portuguese and every transaction is problematic. I walked an ambitiously not-the-way-I-came route home. Passed many car/moto dealerships, then law-offices (I think), then urologists/gynocologists, then plastic surgery/hospitals, then army/police/gov bldgs. Then I started getting back near the centro, saw some monolithic shit (NOTES NOTES THESE ARE NOTES) and a stadium. never peed. returned to the hotel. here I am. work emails. fun emails. I don’t want to bother J, third time I’ll call him today, but god damn I’m gonna call him and see if he’s had dinner. it’s 9:05 p.m. I miss you guys! Tomorrow evening is my debate. I am not a vegetarian on this trip. people I talked with at the center last night kept mentioning “gay talese.” I also walked through a rainforest park and saw the art museum (nTOES). I saw some shit, you guys are appalled at what a poor tourist I am. whatever. I had no time to prepare. I am not preparing right now, nor am I prepared. I am an excuse for a human being.

You know that expression “a poor excuse for a human being”? Wel, what if I’m a really good excuse for a human being?

blogs in brazil

Blogs are great! I walk around São Paulo making observations and thinking of witty things I can say about São Paulo on my blog. Fuck that!!! That’s not gonna fly this time. I bought a disposable camera because I was inspired by a piece of “street art.” I had to pee for a really long time. I have a funny story written in my mind that I’ll tell you soon, where I compare a Brazilian restaurant I didn’t eat at — to an American restaurant I didn’t eat at! I don’t speak Portuguese. I am so alone. But not for long, because I am going to call my friend “Jorge” (names have been changed) on his “Argentinian” (non-Brazilian south american country names have been changed) “pager”! (names of electronic communication devices have been changed). I am no longer stressed out about my debate. Nothing matters anymore. I have a piranha in my tear ducts. J/k

I am hungry

Today I ate five mini paos de quiejo around 1, and three mini brigadeiros around 6:30. I am hungry. It was a poorly planned day. I still had FUN! I still LOVE YOU! Talk to you LATER!

In english,

Andrew

I am in Brazil

I was all excited to pop in to my hotel room for a sec and write whimsical narratives about what I ate and saw and did today, but then WORK EMAILS took little poops on that feeling. Everything’s fine, I love work. I’m just being a little Southern Hemisphere bitch!!! don’t worry about it. Rather than finely craft a lovely narrative about what’s been going on I’m going to just JOT DOWN SOME NOTES because I love you, romantically, and then I’ll write something more finely tuned and sell it to this new magazine I’m starting because of the economic downturn called THE BOUNTY HARMER that’s more of a zine out of my new sublet in the Midwest or Peru or wherever I go when I leave my “current” life in women’s publishing.

I took really pointless, cute, baby-journalist notes on things but I’m not referring to them now. I’ll save those for the BOUNTY HUMPER piece.

I am in Brazil. I think that’s it!

Talk to you later,

–me