Thursday, September 16, 2010

Unexpected diversions

I mean "diversions" in both senses of the word. Yesterday I went out of my 'hood, which I haven't had a chance to do since those first few days here in Sampa. My friend Juliana was doing a book signing at some fair out near the Tietê Metrô stop, that's all I knew. Well, that, and that my calendar isn't so full at the moment to prevent an excursion based on minimal facts.

When I arrived an Anhembi Parque I was delighted to find a massive hotel and restaurant convention in progress--specifically, the Equipotel 2010. Even though I am not in any way professionally tied to the hospitality industry, I managed to get an entry pass, and had no trouble entertaining myself for an hour while I waited for Ju to arrive.

There were fun things... watermelon carvers...

...and distinguished gentlemen talkin' ravioli...

...and loopy two-person chaise lounges!

I think my friend Thiera has just added this hot little item to her Christmas list. (The motel industry was well-represented. By "motel," I mean the special hotels where lovers meet. It's a massive industry here in Brazil for a handful of cultural reasons that I won't delve into here, but suffice it to say that I'm sure motels outnumber hotels in this country.)

Of course you are familiar with my quirky fascination for little-things-made-big.




Giant washing machines!

And, ok, I know this is just a regular walk-in freezer, but it does qualify as big. Really, though, I just took the picture so I could tell you how I thought it would be funny if they had stuffed a frozen dummy in there... they've got the font right for it.

I learned the reason that I ended up at this strange and unlikely event. Juliana's book signing was at the ARCO booth, a signage manufacturer and accessory distributor that specializes in accessibility.

I figured I would stay an hour or so and chat with Ju, just because. In the end, though, I met Frederico, the head of ARCO; Daniel, a friend of Ju's who was born blind; Sonia, the personable, multi-lingual, Italian ex-professor that now travels the world marketing the Profilo product (a sleek track system to kit-out or retrofit home or hotel to create a disability-friendly environment); some reporters; and hoteliers and moteliers galore. What an interesting day! Imagine the diversity of the conversation that took place over the six hours I spent in the booth. And that was before dinner...

Me, Sonia, and Ju: Some seriously unflattering lighting, but the afternoon was lovely and special nevertheless.

Much later, Ju, Sonia, Frederico and I met some architects out in Jardins for filet mignon. Now I'm a Wedding Crasher and a Conference Crasher. Nice. Unexpected diversions are so...divertido!

When I arrived home at midnight, I found wonderful and (thank the baby Cheesus) timely news in my inbox. I got my first official, paid book translation! More on that later.

I'm off to Porto Alegre for some hi-jinx.