Alive and well at the hooker hotel.

20 11 2007

Sketch City.

Well, I’ll tell you: if ever I had any kind of desire to role-play any hooker fantasies, Hotel Bali on Avenida Fradique in Vila Madelena, Sao Paulo, would be the perfect setting to do so. We set out yesterday to go enjoy last night and today in Sao Paulo and ended up at the cheapest hotel we could find to save a few bucks after our whirlwind fantasy vacation in Campos do Jordao. And, to cut to the chase, as we walked up the stairs to room 310, Dennis actually said–and I actually nodded in agreement– “Well, it smells okay so far.” Thus began our adventure in the dodgiest little place I’ve ever seen.

I forgot to take a photo of the room service menu on which it said we could have had delivered tiny bottles of crappy champagne and boxes of condoms. I also forgot to snap a photo of the bathroom shower which was little more than a shower head directly next to the toilet and completely without a shower curtain. It didn’t matter, though, because it’s not like anyone was going to look in through the frosted and broken glass window, or through the other window in the bedroom covered in aluminum. The mattress was plastic. While that’s all well and good, it made for some awkward moments while sleeping and when I woke up in the morning, I’d slid myself all the way down the bed. Trying to slide myself up to a normal position was fruitless because there was a dent in the mattress so pronounced that Dennis and I slept in a virtual taco shell. A giant plastic-covered taco shell, but squished in a taco shell nonetheless. Should I describe for you, also, the gigantic mirrored wall? The revolving door-within-the-door to make all deliveries of classy beverages and discount condoms anonymous? The broken television locked into a red wooden box and suspended from the ceiling? The rotary telephone? The electric panel on the headboard that both Dennis and I thought would be the on/off switch for vibration? The fact that at 10 o’clock last night the “concierge” asked us with all seriousness if we were planning on spending the entire night?

I think you get the picture. “Hotel Bali,” Dennis said. “Nothing that a hot shower and a load of laundry can’t fix.” I told him I thought I needed to be drunk to fall asleep because otherwise I’d be awake and listening to the screaming–yes, screaming–I’d heard down the hallway when we arrived. So, drunk I got. (Mom, relax. You would have, too.)

Ahhhhhh.

…AT A MEXICAN RESTAURANT!!!!! (For those of you just tuning in, there’s no such thing as Mexican food in Brazil. It does not exist. You can imagine my ecstasy, therefore, upon finding this place.) It was as if, with the decision to stay at Hotel Bali, God stopped laughing at us and decided to give us a break. He put a REAL Mexican restaurant just three blocks away from us and so, after we’d carefully not removed our shoes in our room and opened the window to air it out, we booked it the three blocks away and downed good beer after good beer while popping jalapenos into our mouths like popcorn. Good lord. By the time we left that place, I was stumbling with joy, drunkenness, and my mouth was on fire. SO worth it.

And then? Then it gets even better! Because as we stumbled our way along Aspicuelta, the main bar street in Vila Madelena, we came upon–get this!–LIVE! JAZZ! And not only was it live! and not only was it jazz! it was GREAT! LIVE! JAZZ!! God must have really taken a close look at Hotel Bali. We were rewarded with so much goodness last night–more beer, SUCH good music, and no cover charge! We were practically proposing to each and every person we saw on the street, so thrilled we were to be us.

And then? (Are you on the edge of your seats? Are you? Can you just bear the fact that things might get even better?) We woke up in the morning–(indeed I was inebriated just enough to drown out all sounds on the street and in the hotel that I was able to wake up with a smile)–and went to a bookstore! A real live bookstore! TWO blocks from Hotel Hooker Bali! AND we found 2 CDs of excellent Brazilian music–jazz from the 1970s and a guitar duo–and they had the technology there where you could listen to any CD before buying it!

And then?! STARBUCKS!

And THEN?!?!?! A FREE CONCERT IN SE, IN HONOR OF DIA DE CONSCIENCIA NEGRA! (Black Consciousness Day.)

Listen, if all these good things came from spending one dinky, scary night in a hooker hotel, I’ll move into one until June. Things could not have been any better yesterday and today and I’m just sad and sorry that tomorrow’s a regular day and I actually have to go to work. I loved Vila Madelena, I loved everything we did and saw and I can’t wait to go back and spend more time there. I’ll even take my chances and stay at Hotel Bali again, though this time I’ll be sure to bring shower shoes and maybe my own blanket. I might have slept in a bed last night that some of the greats have used time and again, but the thrill of that wasn’t great enough not to sketch me out.

The sexy panel and sexy headboard and sexy mirror.


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13 responses

20 11 2007
Sofy

You didn’t try and turn on the switch on the headboard? Weren’t you curious about what it did?!

Wow, if the hotel was really that hooker-y, imagine all the different people that might’ve had se-. Wait you know what, don’t imagine that. That big dent on the mattress was probably just someone who threw their overly heavy backpack on it, right? Not at all something else.

Well, it’s great that you had such a great trip.
And your title rhymed.

Hey, I’m un-grounded! I can write in my blog again! AND watch How I Met Your Mother (that’s my favorite TV show. And I wasn’t allowed to watch it for 20 days)!

-Sofy

20 11 2007
Sofy

^^Hey, isn’t it really nice that I feel comfortable enough to say that to you?

-Sofy

20 11 2007
Catherine

You are a couple of VERY brave souls. I would definitely have needed to be drunk. VERY drunk.

20 11 2007
ginacoggio

Listen, as much as they say drinking is bad for you, it has its benefits once in a while.

21 11 2007
sangroncito

I think I’ve slept in various branches of the Hotel Bali throughout Brazil and Latin America!

There’s a Mexican restaurant here in Salvador, but it was very disappointing. The food was a Brazilian’s idea of what Mexican food might be like.

21 11 2007
Susan

Love. This. Post. LOL!

21 11 2007
Ray

Had a nice time reading,
Thanks for sharing interesting, moody pictures.

Regards

22 11 2007
Tina (akaMom)

By the way, Gina, to you and Dennis, and to all of your wonderful readers, a very Happy Thanksgiving to everyone !!

12 02 2008
urgeforgoing

Hello! I’m an American currently living in São Paulo and I would LOVE to know the name of this Mexican restaurant in Vila Madalena. A friend of mine took me to a “good” Mexican place somewhere in Pinheiros. It was about like your average Tex-Mex chain, and my quesadilha was full of cheese whiz. Why do they call velveeta “cheddar” in Brazil?!

12 02 2008
ginacoggio

Ha! Okay, I’m going to find out the name of the street. I think it is actually called “Mexico.” And it’s on Av. Fradique something or other, one of the main streets in VM. It’s about three blocks up from Hotel Bali which is on the same street and on the same side of the street. If you go to the main bar area in VM it’s right near there, near Zeppelin bar actually. Right around the corner from Zeppelin.

12 02 2008
urgeforgoing

Valeu! I think I know where it is, and I even found their website: vivamexico.com.br. Looks pretty authentic! The review by a Brazilian on Guia da Semana wasn’t very good–I’ll take that as a positive given the excellent reviews of places that I know to be bad. I can hardly wait to try it!

14 12 2009
Seminyak hotels

I think I’ve slept in various branches of the Hotel Bali throughout Brazil and Latin America!

18 11 2010
Sodium Ascorbate

plastic shower heads are cheaper and you can easily install them, they are not as durable as brass showers heads but good enough ,~;

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