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.
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.