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Brave-Heart

TRAVELS TO SOUTH AMERICA PART 8 1973 SAO PAULO

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I couldn’t get out of Iguassu Falls quick enough and when I arrived at the Sao Paulo Hilton I knew what luxury was again! Say what you want there is nothing like American know how.
I was spending 3 nights in Sao Paulo so I wasn’t in any hurry so after I arrived I unpacked, read the gay guide, had a drink and relaxed. I have found that in traveling the biggest expensive that you can’t prepare for are the trips to and from the airport so having a car meet you, take you to the hotel and then back to the airport when you are ready to go is a smart move plus it saves a lot of time.
It was 3PM when I finally stirred out of the hotel and after asking the bellman a few questions I walked to what was the “Times Square” of Sao Paulo. There were lots of obvious hustlers. And it is easy to tell I am back in Brazil---the ‘baskets’. Walking around I noticed that Carmen Miranda records and pictures are everywhere.
I went to a baths and met a guy named Ubi in the steam room who speaks very good English. He was telling me where to go when I got back to Rio and offered to take me around Sao Paulo that evening.
Having looked around the city I wrote Bernie that we could open a Weight Watchers here as many speak English and there was food available to follow the program. It seems the coffee would be a problem as they put two heaping teaspoons in a demitasse cup just to make the coffee bearable.
The drivers are crazy in South America. They all drive with just parking lights on and as they are about to hit you they flash their bright lights! Makes crossing a street very interesting!
I bought 2 records one an LP by Dalva--referred to as the Judy Garland of South America and one by Elaina Pittman. I weighed myself and found out that I was doing pretty good weighing in at 180 and ¼ though it is 3 and ¾ s over my goal. I walked around the city for about 3 hours. I love walking around in strange citie looking at all the stores, bakeries but most of all the people.
Ubi, the guy I met at the baths, called me and said he would like to show me a typical Bazillion restaurant. It seems he had a New York lover here for 9 months and then he went to New York with him for 3 months. The lover has a loft and galleria in the Village on 8th and Broadway. Ubi works for his father and gets to New York every once in awhile. We had a nice dinner, good conversation, went to a few bars and spent the evening and the next day together until I had to go to the airport.
I don’t remember much about Sao Paulo except that it was a hustling, bustling city. Ubi told me it is the largest city in all of the Americas. I recently read they have the largest gay pride parade in the world. Though it was 1973 and ‘gay rights’ were just being heard about, the city itself seemed to be comfortable with gay life.
I was never to hear from or see Ubi again, unlike those people I met in Australia and New Zealand who kept in touch over the years, I mainly remember Sao Paulo because of him.


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