Date: Tuesday, February 08, 2000 6:40 AMDoug McLean World Tour 1999-2000Back Home Next
Subject: Jan 11-14, 2000: Sao Paulo...Life in the Fast Lane!
Current Date/Location: Feb 8, 2000 in Brasilia, Brazil. Staying with my friend Juliano.
Current Itinerary: Plan to stay in Brasilia for the next several days...Friday is a costume party in a city nearby...then later this weekend I will go to Cuiaba (North of the Pantanal) to go to my friend Ana Paula's
Carnival Itinerary: Still on course to be in Salvador. Let me know if anyone else will be there...maybe we can meet up.
Jan 11, 2000 (Tue) (Continued from last Journal):
Arrived in Sao Paulo off bus from Campinas around 6pm...went to Hostel. I ended up meeting all sorts of folks at the hostel: Juliano/Brasilia, Fernanda/Porto Alegre, Tatiana/Rio, Ana Paula and Marcia/Cuiaba (in Mato Grosso...North of the Pantanal), Ryan/Capetown, South Africa, etc. Fernanda had a friend who had left tickets for us to go to a club for free...yeah!!! So, we all got dressed up and went out (Fernanda, Marcia, Juliano, Ryan, Alessandro)!
We arrived at the club...Club Lov.E ...waited in the pack outside the door until we were "picked"...I worked on getting the attention of the door lady...spoke a little English to her...and we were in (for free with our tickets)! The club was a large club playing only Techno Music. We danced for awhile amongst the crowd...after awhile, the guy, Marcos, who had gotten us the tickets arrived. We thanked him for getting us the free entrance tickets...he said no problem that people were always giving them to him at
the salon he worked at. He said that we should all go into the Special VIP room...so Marcos took us all past the surly bouncer dude and into the back Special VIP Room (Yes, it said that on the door in BIG letters). It was a area with red fuzzy walls (I'm not making this up...). In the comparative quiet of our new environment, I gathered that Marcos was a hairdresser/stylist at one of the most fashionable salons in town. In talking with him, it becomes apparrent pretty quickly that he is of what most would call an alternative lifestyle (gay). Now, let me share some thoughts on the gay issue.
This will probably come back to haunt me when I run for President, Senator, Mayor, or for head garbage collector...but here are my thoughts on Homosexuality...I think it doesn't matter and that it is basically no-one's business. I believe that if someone has a preference for the same sex, it should be treated the same as if a person has a preference for red cars or green underwear, it is their business and is of concern to only a few select people at most. NOW, that being said...I do think it is silly that some gay folks choose to be FLAMING in their way of life...I will fight for their right to do so...but I still think it is silly (much in the same way I think it is silly for an overly heterosexual male to walk around with his shirt
unbuttoned to his navel with 5 pounds of gold chains...). I think it is sad anytime someone chains (excuse the pun) their entire identity to one characteristic, in this case, their sexual preferences. I tend to think that they should get a life...defining yourself in terms of only one trait only allows the world a myopic view of yourself...I think that most people simply have more to offer. I also think that it is pretty self centered of most heterosexuals to believe that all homosexuals want everyone of the same
sex. From what I have seen, the homosexual world (especially Gay Males) tends to be very discriminating based on looks...with extreme prejudice towards people in incredible body-shape, and against folks who are not in perfect shape...probably much more than the heterosexual world...it is a
tough life for many, really. For the males out there...don't humor yourself and think that the gay guy you just met is interested in you, anymore than you would be interested in any random woman that you might meet on the street. Now let me share with you a purely original Doug McLean quote, "I'm only homophobic in my bed"...simple as that. ...and for all of you unconvinced heterosexuals out there who still resent gays for some reason...think about this...the gay folks out there are not competing for your prospective boyfriend/girlfriend...from a strictly utilitarian point of view, I would like many more guys to be gay...less competition, eh???
(OK...now, just incase someone wants to quote any of this stuff in the future to use against me...I hearby prohibit anyone to quote a part of the above paragraph without the quotation of the ENTIRE paragraph...I do not enjoy the concept that anyone would take my thoughts out of context or without the entire body of my work for consideration. Homosexuality is a touchy subject that can burn people on bothsides of the discussion...there is no safe ground where someone somewhere does not feel obliged to attack
your position. The thoughts above are mine, and I am proud of them...but it is a shameless world we live in sometimes and one must be omniprescent (sp?) in protection of one's reputation and credibility against those who would seek to tear down what one works hard to build.)
That all said, Marcos was a very cool guy who was not ALL about being gay, and we had a great time talking. I mentioned that I have always had conservative haircuts (this is almost exclusively due to getting the cheapest haircut available...remember, I'm Scottish...and also due to the conservative jobs I have had in the past) and while travelling, I was thinking about doing something different. I mentioned that I had thought about bleaching it or something...he got excited about the idea and offered to color my hair at his salon the next day. I said that I could not afford to do that, and that if I was going to color my hair, I would probably have someone at the hostel do it (cheaper, eh??). He said that he would love to
do it as a gift, for free. I asked if he was sure...he insisted...so I agreed to let him color/style my hair tomorrow...I figured, what the heck, eh???!!!
Marcos introduced me to some of his other friends (all gay or hairdressers...or both...including one guy who apparrently is famous in Brazil for some sort of Androgynous (sp?) act...go figure...). We all lounged in there for awhile...and I basically discovered that the room was full of either gay guys or drop dead gorgeous models!!! ...I was hanging out with the trendy folks of Sao Paulo...TRULY LIFE IN THE FAST LANE!
I started several conversations with various folks...and every girl I started talking to was a model...and this is not just a line...it was like getting a glimpse of heaven, every girl in there was atleast 5'10" tall
(about 175 CM for those of ya'll who still use the darned metric system) or taller, rail skinny, and beautiful beyond compare. I was having a great time until someone brought up the subject of age...needless to say, I felt mighty old when I rattled off my age of 28...but felt older and much worse when I learned that every girl there was between 14 and 17...NO KIDDING! I was absolutely stunned...they all look no less than 22 or 23 (in a lovely, sophistocated way), but were all just babies...Arrrrgggghhhhh! This truly is when LIFE IN THE FAST LANE impacts with THE BACK OF A CEMENT TRUCK!
Cést la vie!
Continued to dance with the group for awhile, we left around 4:30...got back to hostel around 5:00...I used the internet until 6am...and crashed...
Jan 12, 2000 (Wed)
Went into downtown Sao Paulo with Fernanda, Tatiana, Ana Paula, and Juliano...visited the Japaneese part of town (supposed to be the largest Japaneese population concentration outside of Tokyo)...ate chineese food...visited big church (don't know name of cathedral)...went up Banespa Bank tower which overlooks all of Sao Paulo. I am here to tell you, this is an enormous city. High-rise buildings in every direction as far as the eye can see...
Then we caught a bus to go get my hair colored by Marcos...but while on the bus going to our destination, it started to rain. By the time we were dropped off, it was pouring rain!!! We walked for blocks and got drenched and realized that we were hopelessly lost in an enormous rain-storm. Stopped in a cute corner shop and had a great time with the owners while waiting for the rain to pass. Had some drinks, chatted, met a guy with a broken leg and we all signed his cast, and ate cheetos...ahhhh...this is the life. Eventually got new directions to the Hair Salon and walked in the rain for about 20 blocks.
We arrived at the chic, fashionable, trendy salon looking like drowned rats! We were warmly greeted...given towels, coffee, and lots of hugs. After much talking and discussing, we got to work on my hair. I put on a white robe, went to the first station where my hair was washed. While I sat there
waiting, Marcos gave me a magazine with a lovely model on the front of it...he nodded to my right, and I noticed that the woman getting her hair washed next to me was the model on the cover of the magazine...cool, eh? I will have to disagree with anyone who says that Sao Paulo is not a beautiful
Anyway, Marcos showed me some pictures of models in magazines to give me an idea of what he wanted to do with my hair...he thought we would go for the sun-bleached look. Kind of the surfer look...but he would color the top, and leave the sides darker...like the sun had bleached my hair...not
chemicals...I said, "whatever...you are the boss" and let him get to work. Marcos dyed my hair a lighter golden color on top...way cool man!!! Lots of pictures were taken and Juliano had his hair colored and styled as well. We had a great time and now we understand how some folks can like going to
salons...if it is always as fun as we had, I'd go all the time...but, I think I can't afford it...back to Super-Cuts for me I guess...
Fernanda, Juliano, and I all took a taxi back to the hostel and arrived at the same time as Tatiana and Ana Paula who had left earlier to take a bus, but had been stuck in traffic for 2 hours...hee hee...NOTE: Sao Paulo and many towns in Brazil simply shut-down during big rainstorms...the drains are not sufficient to remove all the water, and you are often looking for trouble if you go out during a big rainstorm...flooding of intersections is not only common, it is expected...gridlock results until the rain subsides.
We all stayed up late talking, and enjoying basking in the glow of my new hair...ahhhhh...slept.
Jan 13, 2000 (Thur)
Woke...went with Fernanda to downtown...to employment office because she had to get work papers...this is somewhat different than in the USA. In the USA we create a resume (CV to all you other folks) and that is how we apply to companies. In Brazil, they need to get official work papers that basically act to register your skills and past work history, as well as to provide a way of tracking your retirement (almost like social security numbers).
I then went to internet place I had heard about called Monkey...6 reals per hour!!!! Entire place innundated with young kids playing largescale interactive video games...the place was going nuts! There were probably 25 computers in the place and probably 20 were full of kids playing this game. The difference is that the game is interactive and they basically Commandos or Terrorists with goals and objectives...they play as teams and it is all realtime...it was cool to watch. Anyway, I used the internet for a while during this mayhem...then went back to hostel...
I called my friend Cesar (I had met him in Frankfurt, Germany in November), told him I was in town...he came to pick me up and we went to his girlfriend's house. Met his girlfriend and her cute boxer dog. The dog was well trained, but apparrently only spoke Portuguese because when I said "Shake" the dog gave me a blank stare...but if I said "Da Pata" the dog would extend his paw for me to shake...go figure. I guess it is important to speak Portuguese down here to communicate with the people and the
We went to juicebar and had a kind of fruit/frozen yogurt blend type thing called Acai. They drove me around the city for awhile and gave me a tour. They dropped me off at the hostel around midnight...bed.
Jan 14, 2000 (Fri):
Woke...breakfast of papayas, fresh squeezed juice, bread with dulce de leche...not a bad spread for a hostel. Met Naomi from Israel at breakfast. Went to Parque Ibapuerra with Juliano and Naomi. It is a large urban park which had the usual...artifical lake, grassy areas, trees, ducks, etc...it was basically nice but uninspired. The park did have a exhibition building, and we visited an Architectural Exhibition which had lots of pictures of cool architecture in Brazil (not surprising, much of it was photos of Brasilia, the futuristic capital of Brazil which was designed by Neimeyer). Walked around the park and sang songs...working on learning the words to Hava Nagila song (Jewish wedding song that I love).
I went back to Monkey to visit the Cyber-warriors and to spend some time on e-mail...then returned back to hostel just in time to watch end of the FIFA Championship Game...Vasco (Rio) against Corinthians (Sao Paulo)...truly, there could not be a bigger rivalry than Rio vs Sao Paulo...the game was
very good and it was tied 0-0 at the end...went to goal kicks...and Sao Paulo-Corinthians won the game! Within seconds of the victory, you would have thought that war had broken-out in Sao Paulo! I have discovered that Brazillians are not as big on beautiful fireworks as they are big on LOUD fireworks! They were setting off fireworks all over town that sounded like bombs...the city was going nuts over the victory!
I went out with Juliano and 2 other guys (one Uruguayan and one Argentinian) to visit the town in celebration. We went to Vila Magdalena part of town...people were on the subways singing...on the streets yelling, and hanging from cars. We hung out and drank at a street cafe and enjoyed
watching the fans and people stream by our spot.
We ate street hotdogs and sandwiches late in the night and then returned to the hostel...back to bed by 4am...