. Let me start clearing the blogging backlog by saying that I was at times annoyed and amused during the recent 3-day interpreting gig. Suffice it to say that there was a little bit of a clash of values between a mermaid and a septuagenarian. I don't know how to pretend I am not affected by gung-ho reactionaryism.
My reaction is to fidget, gulp down my food and refuse dessert so I can leave the table earlier. I also avoid eye contact, lest the object of my adversarial mood realize my eyes have turned into fireballs. Obviously, I'm not referring to the lovely and highly skilled Fabi, picture below. Fabi was a genius in the booth all the time, she made me gasp with admiration. They say there are only two types of interpreter: the quick and the dead. My booth mate is quick and marvelously eloquent, her voice never trembles, her tongue never trips, and her sweet voice is honey to the listeners.
I said annoyed and amused, and indeed I was quite entertained with one of the speakers who went on a long meandering metaphor of Shackelton's expedition
. Say what you will, survival in Antarctica is much more interesting than EBIDTA
. The other highlight was an all too brief presentation by Cláudia Matarazzo
. You got to love it when a mild-mannered and gorgeous Brazilian etiquette expert tells her gringo audience that the semiotics of Mickey Mouse ties
is quite simple. They boisterously mean "I'm American!". So do not try appending one to your neck unless you have a blue passport and feel you're on the brink of a bout of patriotism.
So. The hotel was gorgeous
, the cable TV was outstanding with a girlie cum artsy movie channel
featuring lots of Isabelle Huppert
flicks, but I was dying to go back to SP as soon as possible to meet up with G. Oh and to vote too. This was LulaLá weekend in Brazil, let's not forget.
As bad luck would have it, we were stuck in the middle of the road for about one hour, breathing pure CO2 from the engine-running trucks in Rodovia Piaçagüera. We had heard at the lobby that traffic was bad because somebody had jumped off a bridge to efface himself off existence. No such thing, the rumor mill got it all wrong. The asphalt had simply collapsed forming a deep gash at the entrance of the bridge and the valiant Ecovias workers were forced to make a detour by tearing up the incredibly thick center blocks of concrete with their noisy rock crushers. We took advantage of this window of time to inquire with the members of the Spanish booth which would be the appropriate xingamentos
to utter in such a circumstance. They said La Puta madre would do the trick. Or el cono de la lora, and certainly in Mexico, me lleva la chingada or in Brazil, puta que o pariu!
But all good things come to an end, including lessons in insults in foreign tongues. The traffic began moving and the next thing I knew I was in São Paulo, reading the paper and having breakfast with G. in São Paulo, my love-hungriness for the Hairy Hungarian temporarily satiated and my civic duties as a voter fulfilled.
In case inquiring minds want to know, I voted for the other guy in the runoff election, even if I had voted for Mr. da Silva in the first round. I think that Isabelle Huppert is to blame. On one of those lonely nights in Guarujá, vegetating in front of the TV after watching at least three French movies, I dozed off and woke up in the middle of the presidential candidates debate. They had set it up differently
this time. Instead of taping just the anchor and the two aspiring chiefs of State battling for votes, they called in 16 indecisive voters, who pretended to be asking questions of their own choosing. As if. It reminded of Gladiator a bit or some godforsaken Cecil B. de Mille production, except there were no chariots. But Mr. da Silva and Mr. Serra were standing up and pacing the arena like tigers. They must have been the felines, because neither was sporting a bludgeon, but rather well cut Armani suits.
So it was late, and I was tired, and in that particular moment Mr.da Silva was doing a brilliant job out of fending off a question by being slick and totally evasive and that did it for me. I voted for the other guy, yes. Probably because I knew that there was not a chance in hell that he was going to be elected, but I still wanted to reprimand Mr. da Silva the only way I can for acting like such an oiled and greased slippery fish.
This doesn't mean that I'm unhappy with his victory. Quite the contrary. I think that you cannot go against the will of a country, and my countrymen and countrywomen have decided that it's time for LulaLá. I don't think we will regret electing him to the presidential seat as we did with Collor de Mello. I was a bit mad with George Bush for only calling my new president for the congratulatory drill today instead of yesterday. Other heads of State and government, such as Fidel Castro and Gerhard Schroeder phoned him promptly on Sunday night. But not Bush.
Most striking of all, in my opinion of a non-political mermaid, was how Lula looked immensely happy as he made his post-electoral speech last night. I don't remember seeing a president elect with such an ecstatic countenance in my entire life. His face was completely relaxed, even his beard looked joyful. That must mean something.