Not the man they think I am at home, no no no no

13 de Julho

6:30 AM, Tietê Station, SP.

N. “Sheik 1 looks good.”
T. “Fuck that shit. R$8.40, that’s a god damn deluxe fancy Sheik. I’m not the damn real tree, I’m not paying that.”
N. “What about Sheik 7?”
T. “Risky. 7 has six Sheiks and no drink or fries.”
T. “How big are Sheiks?”
N. “Judging by the ad poster, about the size of the bottom of a soda.”
T. “You can’t trust that shit. Advertisers use all kind of optical illusions and image manipulation and shit to mess with you.”
N. “What the hell is a Sheik anyway?”
T. “I want to die.”

/*Editor’s Note: Our research staff stumbled upon this, which may help explain the preceding conversation. */

Down and Out in the São Paulo bus station.

Designed more like a parking garage than a freestanding, enclosed edifice, Tietê’s concrete and linoleum offer no shelter from the bitter pre-dawn cold of São Paulo. Our bus rolled in around 4:45 AM, disgorging us and all our worldly possessions into São Paulo, the Ultimate Sprawl. Broken and weary with 15 hours to kill until our flight, we wandered the vast halls of Tietê until the sun came up.

The chairs and benches, designed for maximum discomfort and minimum efficiency, offer the same restful sleeping options as a bar stool. Huddled and contorted, my jaw clenched against the cold, I tried desperately to fall asleep, if only to escape. The problem with falling asleep in the São Paulo bus station with nowhere to go and no friends to call, assuming you can overcome the subzero temperatures and spinemangling seating atrocities, is that you wake up in the São Paulo bus station, with nowhere to go and no friends to call.

We did our best to pass the time, constructing nests of dirty clothes for warmth and playing the “What the fuck is a Sheik” game. This blows.

Our last nights in Paraty… madness. The town, just like Buzios, had assumed the typical off-season tedium. Bored, listless waiters fighting like mongooses (mongeese?) over every random, precious tourist that walked by. We landed at a lanche spot and started drinking seriously around 8:30, drinking overpriced cerveja until we found out pinga was only two reais a glass. Buying a Skol for three bones when you can get a pinga for two is like buying a BB gun for 300 when you can get a rocket launcher for 200. The cost / devastation ratio speaks for itself.

The table next to us was inhabited by a strange a chaotic group of Brazilians with at least one American. His loud, honky English carried to our table, although his hokey haircut and Old Navy polo gave him away long before his annoying voice.

“After I finish this glass, let’s go hit him with a chair.”
“Hit who?”
“What do you mean, who? The honky trash right next to us.”
“Good plan. These heavy, old growth wood chairs could crush a man’s skull like a plum. Distract the others, I’ll trip and fall to make it look like an accident.”
“I fucking hate Americans.”

Honkytool “Hey, are you guys speaking English? Do you wanna sit with us?”

(Portuguese) “Whorehouse! Ours the cover is blown! He is discovered us!”
(English) “Sure…”

Honkytool, as it happens, was an EE from Texas via Colorado State. He’s here with his sister, a soon-to-be disillusioned, plain-jane blond who’s been living with her sleazebag Brazilian boyfriend in Minas Gerais for the last two years. Now they’re getting hitched, and the whole Tool clan headed south for the wedding, since homegirl’s Brazilian squeeze is a convicted felon in the states and can’t get a Visa. God bless Texas, y’all.

Chris (Honkytool) “They met in college in Louisiana. Then
Me (Drunken) “They have college in Louisiana!?!”
Chris “…Then he got into some kind of trouble, got busted for a crime he didn’t commit.”
Me “I’ve seen that shit on Judge Judy. Happens all the time. That’s why I’m starting a revolution to place psychics in power in the U.S. of A. as an oligarchical dictatorship.”
Chris “I don’t really know the details, or wahtever. I guess he had to pleabargain or something, now he can’t go back to the States. But he didn’t do whatever they said he did.”
Me “Just like Harrison Ford. Such a tragedy! GOD.”
Chris “Brazil is way different from Colorado.”
Me “When Miss Cleo is empress, mistakes like this will never happen. Give me the rest of your pinga. Right now.”

Raving and madness in three languages. The groom’s brothers, Renalto and Bruno, were much better company. Chris, excited to have two more translator / companions at the table, was quickly left as isolated as he had been originally. Renalto is a late 20’s traffic engineer major, and Bruno is a 22 year old pre-vet who looks like the geek from The Breakfast Club, but with raging repressed sexual perversions lurking just beneath his fragile exterior.

T.”Hey Renalto, you know your new American brother is the ass bag?”
R. “He’s just not used to Brazil.”
T. “He is absolutely without value.”
R. “Your Portuguese is excellent. I mean that.”
T. “Thank you.”
B. “Are you Catholic?”
T. “No.”
B. “Are you gay?”
T. “No.”
B. “We have lots of whore houses in Brazil.”
T. “I am never let you near to my dog, Bruno.”
R. “More Pinga?”
T. “Christ yes, it is 65 cents a glass!”


At some point the bride and groom left, and were replaced by several random Paulista girls and a physics professor from Barcelona (pronounced Bahthelona). The Japanese-Brazilian chick with the braces I’d been hitting on ran off with some younger man when I went to take a piss. The Paulista girls were shrieking at us to pay a bum some money, as though it was our duty as foreigners. The pinga flowed.

More drink.
(Spanish) Spanish Physics Professor “Where did you learn Portuguese?”
(Spanish) Me “In the capoeira.”
(Yelling, English) Nate “Where’s the respect?!”
(Spanish) S.P.P. “Your friend is going to drop that girl?”
(Portuguese) Me “No, he does this all the times. Women are having to learn to not badly talk at him while he is drinking.”
(Spanish) S.P.P. “I hope you are right. These cobblestones are dangerous.”
(Portuguese/Spanish) Me “Brazilian police don’t take kindly to foreigners assaulting their natives. If he is to drop her, you, me, and every other foreigner here are rotting in the jail for a century.”
(Spanish) S.P.P. “Really?”
(Portuguese) Me “Yes, it happens all the time.”
(English) Nate “You NEED TO LEARN!”
(Unintelligible) Paulista “Shriek Shriek Something Something Foreign Foreign!”

Madness. The rest is too hazy or too shameful to recount. Only flashes, images.

(English) Chris “How do I hit on this girl?”
(English) Me “Just say (Portuguese) Wanna go drown the goose?”
(English) Chris “What’s that mean?”
(English) Me “You are pretty.”
(English) Girl “I speak English.”
(Portuguese) Me “Oh, fuck.”


Nate, fueled by cheap pinga and sassy Paulistas, prepares to steal a schooner. He claims we can be in Buenos Aires by dawn. Renalto and I discuss philosophy, nationalism, and his brother’s emotional diseases at length. The Spanish Professor and the recently released Paulista chick and I badmouth various European nations at length, in a snarled, drunken jumble of Spanish, Portuguese, and English.

Me “Sssssssssssssssssssssssp. Waiter! Check!”
Paulista “When do you leave tomorrow?”
Me “Late in the night.”
S.P.P. “A shame you must leave so soon.”
Me “I can’t take this place any longer. I need a god damned hot shower and a tallboy.”
S.P.P. “A tall…boy?
Me “A big beer. It’s idiomatic. It appears not to translate rightly.”
Me (English) “Are you fucking shitting me? 40 reais on pinga and beer?”
Waiter “I can’t understand you, sir.”
Me (English) “You scum. I’m sick of playing “Teabag the Foreigner” with you primitive swine. I’ll have you fuckers banned from the U.N. You know what an Embargo is, you red-aproned bastard? E M B A R G O?”
Nate (English, holding up a distressed-looking street dog) “THIS IS MY REAL BROTHER. FUCK YOU ALL.”




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