I have to leave in 20 minutes. The debate went fine. I ate another coca candy, and drank several cups of coffee. J. and I were wearing headphones, and there were translators translating what the moderator was saying, in Portuguese, to J., in Spanish, and to me, in English. Right at the outset as J. began speaking, though, I heard the translator say, “I’m sorry, I’m not getting sound.” and then “I’m still not getting sound” and then “well, I’ll just try to translate from the board” or something like that. So the spanish–> english translation was pretty bad, so when J. started really cooking, which luckily meant he slowed way down and enunciated and used powerful but easy words like … “literatura”, or whatever, I would take my headphones off and just listen really intensely and sort of understand. At one point he was talking about an article he published about an Italian stripper-politician I think and I heard him say “tetas” and then a moment later I heard the translator in my earphones say “she showed her… body” and then I heard her reconsider a little, maybe even look at my quizzical face, and she said “…her… teats.”  I almost broke out, laughing hysterically.


Otherwise it was good. Coca Candy is for real, dudes. (So is coffee after not drinking it for a few months. So is not eating all day.) The moderator was an awesome writer who has twice now made me feel like a monumental dumbass for not staying an extra week and going with him and J. to Rio. Oh well; my gift horse’s face has never been gazed into, and a felt blanket is draped luxuriously over its back.

Several excited brazilian journalism students/workers (TV and print) came up afterward and demanded magazines. I felt like an ass for I had already given all my copies away to the folks who brought me here. I gave them my email address as some weak penance. I kept talking about David Foster Wallace whenever I spoke during the “debate”, and my voice cracked in grief, weirdly, the second time I mentioned him.  I had to keep slowing down because the Japanese woman who was translating my English into portuguese for the audience’s headphones told me beforehand that portuguese (And spanish) are both much ‘longer” languages than English, e.g. it would take her 1 min. to say in portuguese what it took me 30 seconds to say in English. I think. So I kept speaking weird hypercaffienated slowed-down sentences, trying to avoid deranged untranslatable locutions. At one point I did say “mush-headed hippies,” and then immediately apologized. Everyone was kind, I think it went fine. Now we’re going to go to that “literary bar” that Quoinstone and Bread Stixxxxxx went told me about. UPDATE: we’re going somwhere else.  hopefully I’ll take up steev’s excellent/terrifying street food suggestions. steev you should write a visitor’s guide to brazil for crude futures. I would pay a subscription fee if your brazil travel guide tips were behind a subscription wall.

naufragos y besos platonicos