Friday, October 8, 2010

Intruder

You came into my place at 6am and woke me up. Who do you think you are? I could hear your alarm, I thought you were a car tampered with, but you would not stop. I turned over hoping you weren't real. You ran out of breath and I knew you were living and very near when you started up again. I finally got up and you were scared, you didn't expect me there in my underwear. I have dealt with others just like you with a pillow case and a broom. Turned out, brooms aren't the way for guys like you. Only with the pillow case. You were so scared you shit your pants, but you never had any. I closed the blinds and realized you came in from that far up window I never knew I had. I never saw you, only your shadow and I could feel the vibrations as you moved by the window. I closed all the blinds and the entrances to the rest of the apartment. It was you and I. I was ready for you. I kept closing the other blinds. They would keep you from me. I opened the window you had come in through a little more. The absence of movement and sound told me you were gone and that you would be okay.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Umamimart: Mortadella Sandwich

I have started writing for Umamimart. Please follow their blogs and subscribe, don't forget to tell your friends.

I have been a huge fan of their for quite some time now, and now have the opportunity to write for them. It is a real honor.

http://www.umamimart.com/2010/09/mortadella-mayhem-sao-paulo/

Observations of a city 160 days later

I live in a new part of the city. It's busy, I hear the cars outside, men work on the forest of apartment buildings surrounding. It is home.

The other day I was driving in another part of the city. The part of the city where I make sure to lock the door, and I saw something beautiful. The sun light was horizontal. I drove down the road and there standing on the sidewalk about 20 feet from the car was a large woman peeling her clothes off. Because of the sun's glow she looked like a well endowed golden angel. I was driving too quickly to see anymore, all alone in the car, I had no one to share this with. One of the most amazing sights ever.

A month ago Felipe, my brother in law, and I were searching for a spot to park. São Paulo has a lot of one way streets- so in order to find parking you often have to drive around the block a few times. Well, as we were driving around this block, next to one of the largest boulevards in the city, we drove by the same woman. I have seen her many times before, as many of the homeless her are quite recognizable, but not as much of her as on this day. Each time we drove around the block, she was at the same corner relieving or revealing herself. The first time she wasn't wearing any undergarments, the second she was urinating, and the third, well we stopped looking. The amount of poverty, and untreated mental illness and addiction here is immense. I am hoping that with the coming elections the elected officials use their power to steer through the temptation of corruption and relieve these people of their difficulties and find them proper care.

Sunday morning, I was eating breakfast at a cafe, when I noticed a man pull up to the valet and leave his large SUV there. I made a mental note that the man looked slightly mafioso. Then a few minutes later I see him return to the car, and place a hand gun on the floor of his driver's seat. He notices that I am watching, and I continue to eat my lunch wondering what his line of work was. I look up from my esfiha and our eyes meet again.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Back at it month #4

So been moving slowly moving into the coolest apartment ever here in São Paulo. It's great, built in the 50's, with high ceilings, enormous windows, an old straight out of I love Lucy kitchen, and near a well known shopping district, close to the park, in a district that is known for good food and the like. I expect to start writing more about food as I find my way, and bring my camera more often to restaurants.

This week is the beginning of São Paulo food week, which lasts two, and is pretty great I hear.

Well back to what I originally intended. Our apartment.

CH has been gone off working in Singapore for the last month, and we secured the apartment just before she took off, while she was gone with the help of my brother and sister in laws, we changed the keys, hired a cleaning crew, and moved all of our stuff that had been stored since last June when it arrived by boat from Japan. Due to certain renting procedures we weren't given the keys until the week she was meant to arrive, so we managed to get it all done in just a week. The movers actually dropped off the 15 boxes just 10 hours before she arrived. I managed and got the place looking like we had been living there for about a month minus the fridge, bed, and couch which we are picking up this week.

It is great to feel like I am building a home again. This time it is with my special one and with lots of help from her family and various furniture donations which include one giant table that looks just like a huge grey wooden surfboard balancing on what looks like the underbelly of a whale. Our table could easily pass for a raft if either of us was adventurous enough. So big, in fact, it could accommodate one of the Easter island statues to surf on. Anyone else feel a Town & Country surf designs theme here?

Either way, it's huge, and we will have to test it out, maybe even take it out- it is a three day weekend after all.

Note: At first reaction, I did flip out over the table. Sorry CH.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Festa Junina

Last Saturday night I was told to get ready for a party. We would be bringing some snacks to share, and "it's a Festa Junina party". I had no idea what they meant, but I liked the fact that we had to wear plaid and the promise of food.

This was far out! We could- one: wear what I normally wear every other day, two: dress like lumber jacks, or three: pretend it was early 1991. Jokes aside. I didn't have a clue what to expect. My expectations changed drastically when my sister in law began applying false freckles with her eyeliner. What the heck was I in for?

When we arrived I thought I heard polka music. I thought, "I know this, this is what it sounds like in California on the Fifth of May, but I'm in São Paulo".

Everyone was wearing plaid, jeans, or handmade dresses, some made of plaid and others flower patterns or patchwork. Men were wearing straw hats and some even had their eyebrows filled in with eyebrow pencil or paint to forge a mono brow. It got stranger. There was a man selling corn on the cob and another selling popcorn. Was this a fair or carnival? Kids were fishing in the fountain, and men singing and dancing their hearts out to yes a country type of polka music. It felt like I was at a hoedown but this was the biggest city in the Southern Hemisphere and these people did't have "Say Yes to Prop 8" stickers on their cars.

Well turns out that Festa Junina originated in rural North Eastern Brazil and provides an opportunity to thank St. John for the rain that farmers depend on each year. It is a Catholic festival that happens all over Brazil and is a celebration of rural life where party goers dress in traditional rural clothing, prepare typical food, and participate in quadrilha which is very similar to square dancing.










video

Look for a second Festa Junina video in the following blog.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Brazil Day 60 (seriously)

After spending an hour of every Wednesday night in traffic or on a bus driving far too fast (think the movie Speed); I was determined to use the subway to get to the far side of town brought on by the recently read informative blog by one of the foreigners out here who had ridden this newly opened stretch of underground track. I was excited and was willing to walk the half mile or so total required to get to and from the house and final destinations from the metro. The normal routes on the metro here are convenient, reliable, and fast. They aren't incredibly dirty. A good mix of the population use them who are teaming with personality. The billettes cost about R2.65 which equates to about $1.48. Bargain.

I get going and get off at my first stop and go visit some new friends and future coworkers. Great.

I climb back down to connect to the newest metro stop on the yellow line- Feria Lima which.

But to my surprise and disappointment, the passage way from Consolacion to Paulista metro stations closes everyday at 3pm. At first not understanding, my thought was "Hey there isn't a World Cup game today..this thing should be open". For some reason the yellow, a major subway line, their newest one, is actually closed on a busy weekday. There were not postings, just three metro workers that basically said in a friendly way- "tough luck that's Brazil for ya".

I ate the R2.65 and made my way through the crowd, surface, and seek out the bus another 5 minutes walk away. I waited for the onibus that had my destination written on the side and hopped on. I squeeze onto a bus where patrons are pressed up against one another, probably because the subway is not up after 3, and those entering pay the turn stall guard and move to the back and find a seat or railing to hold on for dear life. People are quiet. Its hot. One woman offered me unsolicited help recommending that I exit the other side of the bus at the next stop, but I wasn't yet getting off. 10 minutes after entering, due to the unique addition of bus lanes here and there- all over the city, I was at my destination and on time. No parking fee. No traffic holding me up. Only slight hassle. This was easy.

On the way home I try to buy gum and all I have is a large bill and no one is accepting it. I was reminded of a commercial I had seen previously where a man is shown time and time again given candy, a pile of coins, or like me, just plain refused when paying with a larger bill. I had not yet experienced this. After three tries I realized it was useless and boarded the onibus. It was a direct route to my closest metro station. Great news. If only the turnstile guard would accept my R50 bill. He didn't. He brushed me off and I took my place next to his booth in a nearly empty front section of the bus while the back was full. I asked a few times in my caveman portuguese "Why can't I pay", knowing the reasons from the comical commericals. The slender young man with nicely combed soft light brown hair looks at me and repeats, "Só cinquenta" or "Only R50". But yet, he wasn't kicking me off. Confused again, I tried to make sense of this, explaining to him that my "Portuguese is few" and he began to warm up, he was no longer this vender of NO's, he told me I "could get off soon", this become more confusing.

I continued to practice the language and we got to talking. He is a 22 year old who lives in the southern part of the city, prefers it to the center because it is a bit slower paced. As the bus stopped intermittently to let passengers on or off, he carried the conversation, never breaking focus. He continued to talk as he collected exact change and passenger's cards were being swiped. This was very much his turf. He continued talking about his trip to London, and sentiments of Brazil, the language, and asked me about LA; we had been talking for 20 minutes. In the end, he signaled to the bus driver, using a screw nut tightly fastened to the railing of the bus by a rubber band, and the bus driver opened the front doors and I exited unquestioned. I tapped on the glass to thank him and he replied with a smile and thumbs up.