Dina & Bete go to Sao Paulo.

30 09 2007

Our names for the evening., originally uploaded by Gina Coggio.

Every time we go to SP for Starbucks, at Shopping Morumbi, it’s an adventure. This time was no different, other than the fact that the adventure was PERFECT from start to finish. It’s kind of a hassle getting from the rodoviaria (bus station) in Sao Paulo out to Morumbi because we need to pick up a variety of forms of transportation–a couple of metros, one or two taxis. But we were up for adventure today and almost braved the bus system, but then our need for Starbucks set in and we high tailed it in a cab to the mall.

Also, every time we go to Starbucks in Morumbi (which happens to be the only Starbucks in the country, I believe; and thank God I live this close to it) they write our names on the cups and tell us to have a nice day. Except, every time they write down our names, they get them wrong. Today, like many days here in Brazil, my name was Dina (pronounced “Gina”), and Mandy’s name was actually Bete (pronounced “Betchee” which, other than the “ee” part, sounds nothing like “Mandy,” so go figure.)

Our time in the mall was short-lived, walking around only the section of it that contained the Starbucks. We walked in and out of stores, talking about (by which I mean to say, “quite rudely criticizing”) Brazilian fashion–which these days seems to incorporate a lot of greys, yellows, whites, and Crayola greens, along with patent leather shoes in those colors, and patent leather belts and handbags to match. After an hour or so, we decided to see what else there was to do in the area and asked around. Turns out, when one sales woman actually laughed at our question, the answer was “No.” So Mandy (excuse me,) Bete took out her trusty cell phone and made arrangements to go to a small theater for a dance performance.

I’d like you to remember that I just said “dance” performance, because later when I tell you about the celophane, the styrofoam balls, and the camping tents, I will probably forget that it was supposed to be “dance” at all.

We took the metro to Vila Madelena after dark and walked from the station over to a street lined with restaurants and bars. Today also marked the FIRST AND ONLY TIME we have EVER received 100% accurate directions from ANYONE ANYWHERE in our travels in this country. The guy gave us a succession of turns, we took them, and we got where we needed to be. Miraculous. Anyway, to choose a place to eat before our DANCE performance, we walked along that main street and found a place with live music. We ordered drinks, soups, and split an entree, and when it was all said and done, had fallen in love with the place.

From there, we picked up a cab to take us to the DANCE performance. And this, friends, is where the Whatthefuckishness began. These are some of the many ridiculous things that happened in the dance performance:

  • A dude blew his breath into my ear through a PVC pipe.
  • A chick blew her breath into Mandy’s ear through a PVC pipe.
  • I was asked what my last dream was.
  • I lied and told them I couldn’t remember, when really it was about Dennis.
  • Mandy jumped into the arms of a performer and he flipped her upside down.
  • A performer asked me how many times I’ve opened the window to my soul today.
  • I told him “10 times.”
  • He asked me how many times I’ve lied today.
  • I told him “Once.”
  • A performer took my hands, made me close my eyes, and twirled me on the stage (which was really nothing more than the floor in front of the set of bleachers.)
  • Mandy drank pinga.
  • I got to watch a woman sit on a pot and show me photos.
  • Mandy got to play with little white styrofoam balls and throw them at other people.
  • I got to listen to a woman call us all liars, and question whether she herself was a liar who tells the truth all the time, or a truth-teller who’s a liar.
  • We watched a woman walk into a wall. But not before she twisted a white sheet around her neck.
  • A woman told me my shoes are gold.
  • A woman stroked my arm and told me she hates English.
  • People were playing with blue and pink celophane.
  • A woman played with water in a tent then put her finger in her mouth and then drank water from an IV tube.
  • I sat in two tents.
  • Performers were yelling and talking at the same time.
  • Then, they all started saying, “Nada” over and over again.
  • Then, they stared at us for something like 3 minutes.
  • There were three rounds of applause because no one knew when the real end of the show was.

After the show, Mandy and I giggled all the way up Av. Agusta toward Paulista, past all the sex toy shops and sex clubs and sex clothing stores and sex DVD stores and well, you get the point. We giggled all the way because of the 55 minutes of WTF we’d just participated in. I told her I was pretty sure I’d be doing my own rendition of the performance once I’d reflected long and hard about the ordeal, and to prove it, I showed her a long piece of blue celophane I’d taken with me. As a souvenir, of course.
Our final stop of the evening, on Avenida Paulista.

What part of that was dance, I ask you? You think “dance performance,” and you think, “sitting quietly watching bodies move in time (or not) to music.” You DO NOT think, “sitting in a tent, watching a woman squat over a pot and call us liars, while your friend sits in another tent and gets to drink alcohol and pelt people with tiny balls.” Maybe I’m a little conservative here, but that was the last thing I could have ever imagined doing when Mandy suggested we go to a “dance performance.” Hence the giggling. One more experience to add to the growing list of reasons why I don’t fucking understand modern dance and why I never will.

So, another trip to Sao Paulo has come and gone. This trip will stay with me for a while–or at least until all the caffeine wears off. It’s almost 3am and sleep is not an option. Next time, I’ll have to have decaf. Or at least sit through a dance performance where no one’s going to stroke my arm and ask me if I’ve opened up a window to my soul.




12 responses

30 09 2007
Nilsa S.

You sure you didn’t go see Blue Man Group? Sounds exactly like stuff they’d do on stage. Maybe they meant it’s a PERFORMANCE, so DANCE if you like it? I dunno, but sure sounds like good entertainment, in a twisted sort of way.

30 09 2007
Nilsa S.

PS – My brother and I have this thing about Starbucks. We refuse to use their naming conventions for sizing. My brother was featured in the New York Times about it a few years ago. You can read it

30 09 2007
30 09 2007

Oh my god. I LOVE that article! It gave me some great ideas and made me feel triumphant for your brother and all the others who were sticking it to the Man. Thanks for sending it!!!

30 09 2007

OMG, Baby C! These are the kinds of events I would’ve gone through, and then you ask me why I’m shy, insecure and anti-social?! I’ve had plenty of times like that, whenever I go to cut my hair, I pray for the person who’s cutting it to not talk to me… Can’r people understand that “cut hair,” “dance” and other words like these DON’T -I repeat- DON’T have the frikin’ words “arm stroking,” or “conversation” in the middle? Whenever I go to hotels, I run away from the monitors, they’re just like disturbing soul-draining modern dancers.

Oh, sorry, it’s about you (Don’t get used to it) I do have a habit of turning other’s problems into my own… Oh well…

They flipped Tooms? COOL! I wish I was there, I SO don’t imagine Tooms being the flipping type! It must’ve been SO funny! I’m sorry for your moment of trauma… I totally hate modern dance now that I know what it is! But at least, now you can rest in peace thinking that you’ve seen a woman sit on a pot and talk at the same time, it really is a phenomenon (Man, do they think they’re interesting? Who wants to see a woman sit on a pot?) and you even got your ears blown into, what could be better?! (ANYTHING!)

30 09 2007

PS. I discovered our theme song! (Well, at least YOUR theme song, it’s so you!) it’s in my blog on the Emma Bunton post (Is it just me, or does she look 80 when she’s dancing with the guy?) Doesn’t matter… I forgot to comment on your new names! hahahaha! that’s the funniest thing ever (Almost better than Chris Crocker) Dina is acceptable, here in Brazil, people are REAL weird… But Bete?!?! HAHAHAHA!! I’m like falling to the floor laughing at that! Where did they get Bete from Mandy? Little freaks. Hahahaha!! Aw, Baby C, only you can make me laughing thinking there’s a major test tomorrow and I didn’t study yet…

30 09 2007

Oh, “whatthefuckishness” is just priceless. I’m gonna say that whenever I can. I love it. You’re really creative, you know?

Why did Tooms jump into the arms of a performer? And why did he flip her upside down? She threw styrofoam balls at people? Where WAS this “dance performance?” Seems like the type of thing I might enjoy. Except for the lying/window-to-soul opening/blowing breath stuff. But the upside down and styrofoam stuff and watching someone walk into a wall sounds fun.


30 09 2007

We were in some tiny little theater that looked like a two car garage on Av. Agusta, a.k.a: the most uncomfortably sexual street in the world.

1 10 2007

I had the exact same thought as Nilsa…”Blue Man Group”…haha!
AND..This post is exactly why I keep coming back to read your blog. I love seeing the world through others eyes and this is priceless. It sort of reminds me of an adult version of “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”. Blogs are like traveling pants for all of us to wear and it sort of forms a web sisterhood of sorts.

1 10 2007

I saw Blue Man in Boston years ago and I loved them.
Blue Man Group = awesome.
This group = WTF? Not awesome.

It was probably more not awesome because I couldn’t quite grasp what the hell they were even saying. I can understand Portuguese when I’m looking at a person’s mouth and that’s the only person talking. But this crazy group was all over the place and I was too overwhelmed to understand anything except the touching and the tents.

1 10 2007

HA! That New York Times article cracked me up. Kyle and I participate in regular “stick it to the man” routines such as the junk mail idea mentioned… among many other “things” that may not be as legal;-).

And, wow. Congratulations on surviving that wierd, wild assault on your senses the other night.

7 06 2008
Comment Karma Day 6: Go Figure. « A Year Here / A Year There

[…] out of the subway onto Avenida Paulista. It seems that Starbucks Nation has gotten the point: if Dina and Bete won’t come to the lattes in Sao Paulo, they’ll bring the lattes to Dina and Bete in […]

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