Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sao Paulo IV (ultimo dia)

23 Nov 2009

LAST day

It's kinda sad that we're leaving and we still didn't get to do a lot of the things we wanted to do, but --just a reason to come back right?

Since it's our last day we just decided to go back to the places we really liked, like Liberdade again, and may be I was thinking we could go back and find that head band from the Mercado Chic, because I decided I really want it and I want to support that creative woman who made it. And I don't know what else, but we have to be back somewhat early because our flight leaves at 7 in the evening and we have to still figure out how we're getting to the airport and an hour early to check in our bags etc.

On our way back to Oscar Freire I remembered this place that caught my attention: it's called "The Best Chocolate Cake in the Whole World" and for some reason... we didn't go in, and now I really wonder why. Well another thing to go on my "future to do in Sampa"

But anyway I found no Mercado Chic, but we went by all these other super expensive shops that were closed last time and so we decided to go in, and yes I tried on stuff I liked.

I tried on a 2,000 DOLLAR dress!!!

Oh my gosh the dress was beautiful--we'd hope so, right. And it was a really fabric de calidade that doesn't wrinkle. I went to try it on and the dressing/fitting room, it was bigger than any room I’ve had, and had mirrors all around and a huge empty clothes rack on wheels (supposed to be for everything I want to try on I guess).

There was also a pot with beautiful plants and a couch. The dressing room was pretty much a master bedroom with exaggerated amounts of mirror. And then the guy came in (after I was done putting it on—but either way he didn’t seem to be very interested in people of my sex) and asked me how it was, blablabla and he helped me fix it up a little. He was totally obviously a Fashion-Nazi by the way he was dressed and his hair and yeah, he just generally had a great sense of style.

And I'd just like to comment on how this experience made me feel so weird. Because, first of all, I don’t usually go and try on expensive clothes or anything and then secondly because—yeah he was trying to sell me something—but I DO NOT get that treatment in expensive stores back in the states. A worker at a boutique in Paris actually once straight up told me that the clothes there was too expensive and that I should leave!!! Okay? And even in the states when I go to Nordstrom with my family (granted we’re usually just go in because we like to park in the structure next to it, but we browse etc. ) people just ignore us or give us looks that virtually say what the French lady said to me. And so many other situations, at other stores, restaurants, I have experienced a lot of racism and this is in California, which has had such diversity for a long time, but yeah diverse in the sense that we’re all there just geographically economically segregated. Oh man sometimes I just get really hopeless to think of how “backwards” things are.

Anyway so I was again reminded of those power relations I was talking about before. So all that discomfort in being in places like this and all the bad treatment I have received through racial profiling in the U.S. disappeared in one of the most expensive shopping places in the WORLD!!! Really, would I be treated the way I was in Oscar Freire in Fifth Avenue, New York? I really doubt it.

And again I have to ask why. As soon as I spoke without a Paulista accent the guy was like “oh where are you from?” and I said California. And I honestly feel like that came with the assumption that I have money to go out and buy 2,000 dollar dresses like that OR that I should be treated with more respect I don’t know. And is it because it’s the U.S. or is it because it’s California?

Would it have been different if I had said I was from Mexico? Hmm… But at the same time, again, only a few people from Mexico can do what I’m doing, so is it because I’m traveling? It is obviously a luxury, and a privileged experience in this society, and like I said before: it is not a random thing that it is I who am traveling somewhere instead of this clerk or my house keeper back in Bahia; she isn’t traveling to visit me in the U.S. How likely is it that it would be reversed, and the reasons too? If she went to the states she said it would be for working, meanwhile I’m…well…trying on expensive dresses and having fun, and studying. It definitely presupposes some power and privilege dynamics.

Anyway this is a instance of intersectionality because I’m sure all these factors interact. But these instances are the ones that really make me be more aware of what I’m doing and who/how I’m affecting, how I’m perpetuating the tourist dilemmas, and I really don’t want to take advantage of this position. I didn’t come here to be relatively superior since back in “my country” I’m constantly reminded “I’m inferior”.


Lena started feeling really sick and I kept looking through the stores because about one hundred years ago I was interested in fashion design and I still must say that Sao Paulo, as the fashion capital of the Americas, is very creative and I love their use of colors in fashion. So anyway Lena just kept getting worse so she decided to just sit at a park and then go to back to the hostel.

And I kept on going, I wanted to eat something at Liberdade, so I went. This time I looked around more slowly walked into Japanese bookstores and chilled in the main plaza:

and tried to find one of the restaurants that was on that other blog that I had looked up—but I didn’t find it. But it was okay because I ended up eating somewhere that was dericious and super well priced although it wasn’t fancy or anything, the food was authentic, good, and filling.

I had some raw salmon, tempura, tofu, miso soup, a bowl of rice, and pickled cucumber.

It was so good. And the place was lined with bookshelves stocked with manga! Oh if only I were interested. Jk. It’s okay. I liked Ranma 1/2 and that’s about it. Oh yeah and then before leaving Liberdade I got this:

a mix of snacks from Kanazawa.

I talked to a few of the people working there--mainly in Portuguese because I don’t speak Japanese, but one guy was a pretty fresh immigrant he was in Brazil for 3 years and he was speaking to me without much of an accent either (I mean compared to how I have trouble understanding some people from Japan who are new to English) so I guess it's Portuguese may be pretty easy for japanses people to pronounce, and that makes sense there are pretty much the same phonmese like the /zh/ and the nasal sounds, and /z/ etc. for any liguists who know what i'm talking about much better than I do.

it was really cool and I slipped in a few of the Japanese words that I knew while I was speaking. It was a really cool experience, but yeah then I ran back to the hostel. Since we had already checked out, Lena was just laying on a couch in the living room watching some movie and apparently she felt better now but still she had been feeling really sick.

She was thinking may be it was food poisoning or may be because she had been walking so much the day before, but I was glad she was feeling a little better.

Then quickly we found these 2 other guys who were also going to the airport and we split a cab! Yay!

And we rushed off..only to be slowed down by immobile traffic for a while, and we got to the airport like 15 minutes before our flight was supposed to leave, but we made it! And I was just sitting in the room eating my leftovers. I forgot a fork so I just used my hands after washing them well.

oh man this was quite a trip,

I'll see you later Sampa!


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