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Published: February 20th 2009
Let´s go to another place. The girls are not beautiful here.
The words reminded me of those I´d heard a few years earlier. Like Erol before him, Fernando was right. The hookers in this place were the ugliest I´d seen in my life. You should pay me 200 Reais if you want me to sleep with me
, I joked with them, but there was truth in the matter. Why anyone would want to pay for their services was beyond me.
The night had started out promising. Getting into Sao Paulo after an all-night bus journey I was in dire need of sleep. I woke up at midnight, went out for some food and bumped into some guys for the hostel. Johannes the Finn was just a kid. Martin the Austrian was cleaning up his act, waiting for his girlfriend´s arrival the next day. That left only the Spaniard and I. No problem. It was Fernando´s last night in Sao Paulo and he was all for going out and rocking the place. With a list of clubs in our hand, we called for a taxi and headed for the most promising. Na Te Cafe in Moema was supposed to be one of the best for meeting and mingling. What we weren´t expecting was that they would be closed at 3 am on a Wednesday night. Third largest city in the world? This place should be rocking 24/7! No matter, the bouncers that were still at the door suggested Vegas Club up on Av. Augustinos. It was at the top of the list of clubs prepared at our hostel, so we said we´d give it a go.
As the taxi pulled up, we noticed something disturbing. The whole area seemed to be filled with strip bars. Was this the right place? Was Vegas club a place of ill repute? We paid the entry fee and entered. Inside we found five ugly girls and seventy horny guys. The DJ was playing electronic music even I could not listen to and the bar was selling overpriced drinks. We discussed the state of the world and decided to skip the place. There had to be another nightclub around. Anything was better than this. Wrong. Our first impression was right. All the clubs were strip joints. The night was young and with nothing better to do, we entered the first one, eventually leading to Fernando´s statement above.
The second one was no better and Fernando was getting visibly upset. Walking into the third one, a gorgeous, supermodel could-be through herself at him the moment we entered. While he discussed the price, I excused myself and went to the bathroom. Two girls followed me and urinated in the stalls while I washed my hands and wondered if the metro was running again so I could get back to the hostel.
I found Fernando with a smile on his face. The girl would be 100 Reais, the room 25. His attempts at bargaining the price down had failed. It didn´t matter, they told him, if he finished in one minute, he would still need to pay for fifty.
Walking to the nearest metro station I noticed the city had gone through a drastic transformation since my last trip to Brazil eleven years prior. Sure, the area was sleazy but apart from the attempts to entice me into the strip joints, there was no sense of danger. I later heard from others that the city that used to have one of the worst reputations in South America had cleaned up its act. Violence was down. In fact, the murder rate in Foz do Iguacu, everybody´s favourite place to visit was now higher than this city. Go figure.
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