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One night in a brothel - Sao Paulo

Life's little suprises :)

sunny 27 °C

Sao Paulo

Sao Paulo

... It was a blisful lovely evening when my plane from Peru-Lima landed at Sao Paulo airport. I had assumed that all will workout as the rest of my South American backpacking trip , afterall I had just spent the past 3 weeks roughing South America.Tonight was my last night in South America ,what could possible go wrong. No experience in all my backpacking experience could have prepared me for the night at hand:I located a quite corner at the airport and started turning the wornout pages of my Footprints guide, I soon located a section I had previously looked at and that was Sao Paulo. This time instead of looking at tourist sites I was looking at the accomodation section. As always, I picked a highly recommanded youth-hostel.With the hostel decided I had to make my way from the airport to the hostel. I took the local EMTU bus to Bresser bus terminal, from there I took a metro to the Praca da republica station. As I exited the Praca da republica metro station, the time was 22:00. As soon as I walked out of the station Sao Paulo by night suddenly unravelled itself before my very own eyes and fear engulfed me. Don't get me wrong I have had a few instances in my life when I asked myself the question: ' what on earth have I gotten myself into?', this evening as I walked out of the station, I asked myself the very same question again:' What on earth have I gotten myself into': The streets of Sao Paulo were buzzing with people, you could be forgiven to think it was midday but it wasn't. Street pavements had turned into sleeping zones, suddenly I had to be careful not to step on anyone's toes when they are sleeping. As I proceded I noticed that almost everyone was either drunk or high on something , I bet I was among the few people who were sorber on those streets. As if that was not enough I soon noticed a large number of police vihicles all over the place, my initial thoughts were:'maybe there's been an accident';'maybe there is a road block & they are searching every car' ; ' since I am in Brazil maybe a war has broken out among the drugloards ' noop that wasn't it either. There was no accident, no major robbery, no drug-lords war this was Sao Paulo by night. I had assumed that with the high visibility of policeman I will feel safe but on the contrary I felt more scared. I then realised I need to decide what am I going to hold close to me and what I might have to freely give-away incase I got robbed. I decided to hold on my bag wich had my passport , thinking if anything could happen atleast I could fly home (i.e. if I am still alive) or it could be used for identification if the unfortunate happened. I decided to keep walking, hanging unto my personal belongings and crossing the street each time I see a doggy figure behind me. Soon I realised that I was lost, due to my non-existance Portuguese I also realised that 'Obrigado' was definately not enough for asking for directions. finally my limited map reading abilities were paying off.. yeey I was nearing the hostel, just few more steps I will be locked way safely from Sao Paulo's scarry streets.

As I approached the street where the hostel was based, I noticed a number of ladies who were dressed to impress. These ladies were definately showing off what their mama's gave them , skimpy dresses-hot-pants -micro skirts-top which left little for the imagination , afterall I was in Sao Paulo and I wasn't expecting anything less than what I saw. Soon I realised that not only am I among the few sorber people on these streets but seemingly I was also among the few fully clothed people on these streets. When I approached the entrance of the hostel, I noticed a number of ladies standing at the door of the hostel. As I entered and approached the receptionist, I noticed some of these ladies inside the hostel's reception area, talking and handing their personal belongings to the receptionist . I attempted to inquire about a room but the receptionist's English was as non-existance as my Portueguese. Luckly the price list for the rooms was on the wall. I took out the amount for a single room and placed it on the table . The receptionist noded, took the money-took his keys and asked me to follow him. Finally I was safe in a tinny room, which had an old single bed and a TV. I quickly locked my room and tried to relax, instead of relaxing I heard a rumbling sound from my tummy oops I think I am hungry. I had no intentions of going out for a meal so I ignored my rumbling tummy and tried to sleep...

As I tried to sleep, I started hearing some strange noises from the room next to mine. It suddenly dawned on me what was happening. The ladies outside the hostel were on business and the hostel was their premises... OH NOOOOOOOOO . As the night got deeper, business started booming and so the noises. Soon the booming noises were not only comming from the room next to mine but most of the rooms on my coridor. Thankfully I wasn't in a 8 bed-dorm sleeper because that could have been seriously disturbing. Anyways a brilliant thought pooped on my mind:' Thuli checkout now'!!! a much wiser thought pooped up as well : 'Yeap go for it, lets see how far you could get with your limited Portuguese'.I held the thought of checking out , there was no way on earth I was going outside to the streets of Sao Paulo again. All of a sudden being indoors with these booming noises seemed like heaven compared to walking the dangerous streets of Sao Paulo. I would rather put up with these noises than being out there looking for another hotel/hostel for the evening. All I could do was to make sure that my room was locked, yeap it was firmly locked. I then decided turned my TV and increase the volume. With my door safely locked, the TV bluring at almost the same frequency range as the booming noises, I got into my sleeping bag- ziped it and I covered my head and dozed off. Only to be woken up the next morning by more booming noises around the hostel, I looked at my watch and the time was 05:00am. Seriously are they still at it, I then wondered what are their business hours?? I then manage to get my head out of my sleeping bag, the TV was still blurring and on the tv was a morning prayer service. I couldn't help it but to smile, what on earth is happening and how odd indeed ????? I just spent a night in a brothel and I am listening to a church service !!!! finally I decided enough was enough. I slowly unzipped my sleeping bag and prepared to go for a shower. As I entered the shower I heard gigling voices. I managed to find an empty shower cubicle and again I locked myself in it. As I checkout the receptionist asked me :' did you have a good night' . I smiled at him and said: 'an interesting night indeed' ........ :)

Posted by Thuligal 08:29 Archived in Brazil Tagged backpacking

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Hehehe, Thuli, I live in São Paulo and I know that area well - I lived in that very neighbourhood for a few months some years ago (and it was a surprisingly good experience, in spite of the place's reputation, which scared me at first).

Well, I would think that an experienced traveller like you would check some Internet references of neighbourhoods and such before venturing into an unknown megacity of 20 million people where you don't know the language. The area of downtown around República Square is indeed one of the city's chief prostitution and "tolerance" areas.

I never heard of a hostel in that area - in São Paulo, they are mostly in quieter districts. I think that either you got off at the wrong subway station or the directions were grossly wrong or outdated. I also think that you panicked a bit and may have been confused – that area can be rough sometimes, but even at its worst, I never saw anything close to everybody drunk or drugged all about.

I think it was not really a brothel you stayed in. That area has a lot of "motels" (which in Brazil mean "sex hotels," even if they don't have a parking lot and nobody goes there in a car). "Motels" serve not only prostitution, but also regular couples who can't do it at mama's, in a country where economic conditions force most young people to stay living with their parents for many years into adulthood. Almost nobody uses such places as actual lodging - they are merely places to have sex. You probably noticed that there were short "period" rates for 3-hour stays. That was it. They probably found it strange that you came alone and with luggage, but it got lost in the nonexistant translation and you didn't even notice it.

You bet that such places are also not used to receiving tourists, let alone foreign tourists, so there is no incentive to hire a clerk who speaks English. (A Brazilian who can speak English would be unlikely to be employed at such a place, anyway - he or she would have a much better job.)

by goytabr

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