I suppose evenings like this are what visits to foreign lands are all about. You meet friends of a friend. Your friend, tired, leaves you with the other people. You communicate via broken English and awful Portuguese. And you end up relying on doodles drawn on napkins to clarify things. That was a couple of nights ago. Last night, Flavia – one of those friends – and I went out again. This time we ate pizza. Very good pizza, as it happens. Very good wine, too. And, helpfully, it was a place with those big paper table cloths that children and people with language differences can draw on.
After pizza, we walked around the corner to a cinema, where there was a premiere of a Brazilian short film going on. We went into the foyer and met up with her boss, a splendidly friendly fellow (and Oscar nominee) called Daniel. The place was full of TV cameras, spotlights, photographers, people who looked like they were famous, people who looked like they wanted to be famous, and a slightly mind-bendingly large amount of silicone.
I wasn’t drunk, but I was merry. And I had the smile of someone doing something so utterly unexpected. We went into the cinema. It slowly filled up. Then Sérgio Mallandro, the star of the film, appeared and spoke for a few minutes. People laughed at the things he said. I, of course, didn’t understand a word of it. He is/was a children’s TV presenter back, apparently, in the 1980s. He seemed, on the briefest of first-impressions, to be quite sleazy; the sort of guy you imagine probably snorts cocaine off the breasts of 16-year-old girls. But, maybe he’s a lovely guy. I don’t know.
The film, Opera do Mallandro was pretty odd. There’s this kid in a Twisted Sister t-shirt. Then there’s a Michael Jackson impersonator. Then something that looks like “Flashdance.” And then a Twisted Sister impersonation group. It made very little sense. I was told it made little sense in Portuguese either.
Flavia and I left in search of another bar. It’s very cool to find yourself on the back of a girl’s motorcycle, being driven around São Paulo in the early hours of the morning. Pelting down empty avenues, a blur of traffic lights, road markings, and the odd taxi. Slowing down to take corners, things falling into focus, and you see people sleeping on the floor and women stood around working, checking out every vehicle that goes by.
Life feels like you’re in your own movie now and again. Last night was one of those nights. I’m planning to leave São Paulo tomorrow; heading south to Curitiba on the midnight bus. Every day I love this adventure more and more.