Subscribe to Granta today

Final Dispatch: End in Pizza

|

In previous dispatches by Juan Pablo Villalobos, the alien ambassador to Brazil took a taxi ride after a few cachaças, discovered the truth about Lionel Messi and offered advice on how to survive life in Brazil. His final dispatch is here.

Dispatch 000,6: END IN PIZZA

Now I am in São Paulo with its cars, its very-big-enormous buildings, its avenues, its cars, its highways, its cars, its crowds . . . It is a state-of-the-art urban nightmare! Add the name of São Paulo to our Horribly Beautiful Things to See on Earth Manual, together with Bogotá and Mexico City!

São Paulo is like a gigantic collage made of immigration flows: the descendents of Italians, Germans, Spanish, Japanese or Portuguese. And also the internal immigration flows: from Bahia, Minas Gerais, Goiás, Recife and so on . . . All of them coexist here under the nickname of paulistanos. To be an authentic paulistano you have to:

1) Believe that getting a good job is more important than breathing, eating or sleeping.

2) Believe that having a schizophrenic identity is a necessary component of being cosmopolitan.

I made a visual and olfactory recognition of the city with our Brazilian human helper, through Paulista Avenue, Bexiga (the Italian neighbourhood), Jardins (rich people), Vila Madalena (cool people), Liberdade (the Japanese neighbourhood), Morumbí (more rich people), Pompeia (more cool people) . . . It was strange that Zé Mané became mute while we crossed some parts of the city.

– Zé, who lives here?

– People, just people.

– Let’s take a look.

– Oh, forget it, you don’t want to see that.

Guys, this is what happens when you are a foreigner in Brazil: the humans here want to show you just one or two of the multiple faces of their country. And when I try to understand things by myself it seems that I am always wrong.

– It is amazing that São Paulo has so many tourists.

– Tourists?

– Yeah, look, there are hotels in every corner.

– Those are motels, not hotels, there is a huge difference.

– Motels are cheaper?

– They are not for tourists, they’re for the local people, for paulistanos, you know, for having fun.

– I don’t understand.

– Oh, God, you Welsh people are so cold . . .

I also saw lots of gigantic walls with alarms and security guys.

– Wow, Zé, there are many prisons!

– Those are not prisons, they are condominiums for rich people. Or at least that is what rich people think. They are like holiday parks: gigantic walled spaces with swimming pools, gyms, game rooms and shopping centres.

Then, at 17:30, guess what happened? Obvious: the traffic ceased! We were at Marginal Tietê Avenue. An acid drizzle began to fall from permanently gray São Paulo sky. I look at the clouds of pollution and smelled the fragrance of Tietê river. I activated the Safety Enviroment Tester. It was exactly like the Green Planet before evacuation, remember?

– Oh, dear . . .

– What?

– Life here will soon be impossible . . .

– Don’t worry, meu, paulistanos will find a way.

– Really?

– Yeah, they will mutate.

But we have to be in São Paulo, no matter the environmental risk, because this is where things happens. If we want to do business we have to be in São Paulo.

Ok, guys, here you go, the bad news: remember the possible business with our Messi-neutralizer for the 2014 Earth time football World Cup? Well . . . our former partner, Double Bastard Plutonian Nathraichean, stole the neutralizer!

– He is a malandro!, Zé Mane said to me.

(I told Zé that Welsh and Scottish have some unresolved issues and that Nathraichean had run away with important documents.)

– What is a malandro!?

– It’s like a picaroon, like a rascal, like a scallywag . . . but it seems that your Scottish friend spent so much time in Brazil that he is already a malandro. He is acting with malandro’s star strategy: the malandragem! You are getting in very big trouble!

Zé Mané explained me that malandragem always has to find the easiest and fastest way of getting something. No matter how. No matter if it is illegal. No matter if you cheat, or if you extort or corrupt. Do you guys realize? Double Bastard Plutonians are malandros! They controlled our Beloved Planet during ages with malandragem!

– Help me, Zé!

– You will have to find a way.

– But how, Zé, how!?

– The little way! You will have to find the little way! The only way to beat a malandro is by finding the little way!

– The little way!?

– Yeah, the Brazilian jeitinho!

The little way, or jeitinho, is a strategy to deal with Brazilian problems and Brazilian difficult situations. As Brazilian reality is pretty weird you need creativity, improvisation and intuition (just that!), so you can break the rules, take advantage and get things done.

– Oh, Zé, that seems very difficult for a foreigner . . .

– You better find the little way . . . otherwise . . .

– What!?

– You better go home.

What I did to start the little way was to call one of our secret business contacts at the Brazilian Football Federation and ask for Double Bastard Nathraichean whereabouts. Zé Mané helped me and the little way became:

1) A dinner in a fancy restaurant, very expensive! (send more money!)

2) A very looooooong conversation about football, female humans and music with lots of jokes.

3) The promise of some amazing business contacts (I don’t know what Zé was talking about)

4) Two airplane tickets to Miami.

5) Lots of beers and shots of cachaça.

At the end of the night we had the location of Double Bastard Nathraichean (a hotel in Jardins!) and we went immediately. He was not surprised to see us and he started to explain that we don’t have to worry, that the business will take time, that he will respect our commission, etc.

– Your Scottish is almost a Brazilian . . . It will end in Pizza, Zé Mané told me.

– But we already dined, I am not hungry.

– It is an expression.

– And what does it mean?

– It means nothing will happen and everybody will be happy.

– Really?

– Yeah, that is one of our master strategies.

So, we dined again: Pizza. ■

Photo by Rob_Rob2001.

The print edition of The Best of Young Brazilian Novelists will be available from 8 November. You can pre-order here or subscribe to receive it before it reaches bookshops.

Down the Rabbit Hole by Juan Pablo Villalobos is published by And Other Stories.

Comments (68)

You need to create an account or log in to comment.

  1. show12345

    Fri Jun 06 08:10:59 BST 2014

    It is a state-of-the-art urban nightmare! Add the name of São Paulo to our Horribly Beautiful Things to See on Earth Manual, together with Bogotá and Mexico City!

    hiustenpidennys
    http://www.hiustenpidennykset.com

    #
  2. elsieward389

    Fri Oct 11 07:25:07 BST 2013

    This is a smart blog. I mean it.

    Just take a peek at <a href="http://www.solarank.com/">buy youtube views</a> for in-depth specifics.

    #
  3. steve7876

    Fri Dec 06 04:54:35 GMT 2013

    That is our first stop by at your blog! We're any crew connected with volunteers as well as starting a brand new gumption in http://www.supplementsdirect.com.au/ a very group from the similar area of interest. Your website supplied all of us helpful information to figure with. You've got done any spectacular employment!

    #
  4. BarbaraBass

    Sun Oct 27 15:25:51 GMT 2013

    Your blog provided us useful information to work on. You have done a outstanding job!
    <a href="http://vapestar.me">Portable Vaporizer</a>

    #
  5. AsmShir

    Mon Oct 28 13:41:52 GMT 2013

    Thanks for sharing this interesting Pizza based story with us. I have enjoyed reading and I really love the way you portray such subjects in a ligher way. Hats off to you Pablo...!!!
    http://isucceedonline.blogspot.co.at/

    #
  6. waqar

    Fri Nov 08 06:50:59 GMT 2013

    It's apparent you are dedicated to excellent writing. I truly related to the main points mentioned in this writing. This is really great original information...
    http://www.sawdagger.com/productcat/agriculture
    http://www.sawdagger.com/productcat/foodbeverage
    http://www.sawdagger.com/productcat/apparel
    http://www.sawdagger.com/productcat/jewelrywatches
    and here it is to inform you that Sawdagger is Business To Business Trading marketplace Directory for Manufacturers, Exporters, Suppliers, Importers, Buyers, Wholesalers, Traders, Products and Trade Leads..chek it out

    #
  7. antony erwald

    Sat Nov 23 12:14:05 GMT 2013

    This is a good article that i truly liked studying. It is not every day that we possess the probability to discover something like this. http://arena303.com

    #
  8. antony erwald

    Sat Nov 23 12:17:12 GMT 2013

    This is a good submit which I actually appreciated reading through. It is far from every single day i possess the probability to discover something such as this. http://www.cyberjudi.com

    #
  9. clipclo

    Thu Nov 28 06:45:41 GMT 2013

    Thats stunning...
    http://www.fconsult.ee/

    #
  10. clipclo

    Fri Dec 06 03:04:34 GMT 2013

  11. JoannPerry

    Wed Dec 04 05:51:02 GMT 2013

    Existing without the answers to the difficulties you’ve sorted out through this guide is a critical case, as well as the kind which could have badly affected my entire career if I had not discovered your web site, what is this?
    <a href="http://myfitnessweekly.com/buy-phentermine37-5-mg/">buy phentermine 37.5 mg online</a>

    #
  12. gingerbrooks900

    Thu Dec 05 03:51:07 GMT 2013

    Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic.
    http://www.pinterest.com/WeddingPins0net/wedding-hair/

    #
  13. clipclo

    Mon Dec 09 05:19:24 GMT 2013

  14. clipclo

    Tue Dec 10 05:15:25 GMT 2013

  15. clipclo

    Sat Dec 14 04:19:03 GMT 2013

  16. clipclo

    Wed Dec 18 04:35:59 GMT 2013

  17. Donald Higgins

    Sat Jan 11 17:45:36 GMT 2014

    First! The Cartozia Tales Kickstarter is still going sturdy, and we've included some truly superb benefits that I believe you'll all value. We now have prints of our unbelievable cover fine art and, more notably, DIGITAL REGISTRATIONS! This is an excellent, economical option for those of you that live abroad and can not commit to the significant delivery costs (I know, it's a discomfort), or individuals which simply don't possess that lots of physical comics. http://brandengineers.nl/

    #
  18. clipclo

    Fri Dec 27 04:38:29 GMT 2013

  19. robert

    Wed May 21 12:08:57 BST 2014

    I was surfing net and fortunately came across this site and found very interesting stuff here. Its really fun to read. I enjoyed a lot. Thanks for sharing this wonderful information. http://delirivm-cordia.blogspot.com/

    #
  20. MuazaLas

    Thu Jul 24 05:46:31 BST 2014

    Very nice blog and articles. I am realy very happy to visit your blog. Now I am found which I actually want. I check your blog everyday and try to learn something from your blog. Thank you and waiting for your new post.
    http://dhinicarnetta.blogspot.com/2014/01/idrpokercom-agen-texas-poker-online.html
    http://muaza-las.blogspot.com/

    #
  21. steve7876

    Wed Jan 15 12:46:06 GMT 2014

    Splendid backup in addition to image. Several returned glory with regard to his / her translator, Robin http://www.houltoninstitute.com/programs/agi-residential-daily-living-support-course/ Fulton. The actual beautifully constructed wording is Scandinavian it can be almost Scottish - any northern mix of dim in addition to mild.

    #
  22. show12345

    Thu May 22 13:59:36 BST 2014

    Ok, guys, here you go, the bad news: remember the possible business with our Messi-neutralizer for the 2014 Earth time football World Cup?
    long term storage
    http://vacupack.ca/

    #
  23. show12345

    Thu May 22 14:02:08 BST 2014

    Your website supplied all of us helpful information to figure with. You've got done any spectacular employment!

    minipack
    http://vacupack.ca/

    #
  24. magancalvin

    Tue Jul 08 12:03:51 BST 2014

    The first several months of my site there were no comments; just give it time; now they come in like crazy every day! Thanks.

    Buy Property in Portugal
    http://pureportugalproperties.com/

    #
  25. hoppa1

    Tue May 27 15:35:54 BST 2014

    We definitely savoring every single little bit of this. It is merely a great site and good reveal. I wish to appreciate it. Great job! You guys perform great blog, and still have some great posts. Sustain the good do the job. http://goo.gl/X6hZ94 http://goo.gl/WIYA2R http://goo.gl/bvJnfG

    #
  26. Joan4

    Mon Jul 14 19:03:35 BST 2014

    This is really what I was searching for. I am feeling joyful to came here.I would like to thank you for sharing such info with us,I like to advise you that Keep sharing such ideas in the future as well. https://archive.org/details/TaoOfBadassReview

    #
  27. zararaza1@hotmail.com

    Fri May 30 13:34:07 BST 2014

    His document is a highly effective review of the pre-crisis financial guidelines of both Mr Bernanke and his forerunner, Mike Greenspan. http://www.tierpoint.com/data-centers/spokane

    #
  28. zararaza1@hotmail.com

    Mon May 19 07:50:49 BST 2014

    Germans, Spanish, Japanese or Portuguese. And also the internal immigration flows: from Bahia, Minas Gerais, Goiás, Recife and so on. http://beautifulnaildesigns.com/11-simple-nail-designs-you-can-do-at-home/

    #
  29. samad.khatri@yahoo.com

    Wed May 28 14:23:30 BST 2014

    like a gigantic collage made of immigration flows: the descendents of Italians, Germans, Spanish, Japanese or Portuguese. And also the internal immigration flows: from Bahia,http://www.ceag-ag.com/text-your-ex-back-review-a-breakup-doesnt-have-to-be-forever/

    #
  30. show12345

    Sat Jul 12 09:06:41 BST 2014

    want to show you just one or two of the multiple faces of their country. And when I try to understand things by myself it seems that I am always wrong.

    mini servicing
    http://www.car-accident-repair-london.co.uk/

    #
  31. Berman923

    Tue Jul 15 18:56:14 BST 2014

  32. naveenmohsan@hotmail.com

    Thu Jul 24 09:24:27 BST 2014

    Granta 111: Going Returning, released in the UK nowadays, contains the first draw out of Indicate Twain’s forth-coming lifestyle story, which he forbade anyone to post for a century after his loss of life. http://canap--cuir-d-angle-convertible.newsvine.com/

    #
  33. show12345

    Tue Jul 15 01:43:06 BST 2014

    Minas Gerais, Goiás, Recife and so on . . . All of them coexist here under the nickname of paulistanos. To be an authentic paulistano you have to:

    perth website development
    http://optimiseonline.com.au

    #
  34. vncamera247

    Thu Jul 24 06:24:59 BST 2014

    Excellent is the only word i can give u for this wonderful blog, keep it up.
    I will come back again to read some more interesting things on this topic.
    http://vncamera.vn/camera-giam-sat.html
    http://vncamera.vn/camera-quan-sat.html

    #
  35. blackwater0002@gmail.com

    Sun Jun 08 09:10:46 BST 2014

    Enviroment Tester. It was exactly like the Green Planet before evacuation, remember? <a href='https://www.google.com.pk/search?q=timelytraffic.com&amp;ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&channel=sb&gws_rd=cr&ei=zBGOU7XEK8a0O8yXgbgJ'>Guaranteed Signups</a>

    #
  36. blackwater0002@gmail.com

    Mon Jun 09 07:56:43 BST 2014

    I really like the dear information you offer in your articles. I'm able to bookmark your site.

    Sound Insulation Testing
    http://www.leematech.co.uk

    #
  37. blackwater0002@gmail.com

    Mon Jun 09 11:43:18 BST 2014

    It’s like a picaroon, like a rascal, like a scallywag . . . but it seems that your Scottish friend spent so much time in Brazil that he is already a malandro.

    mobile responsive landing page design
    http://bannerslanders.com/

    #
  38. blackwater0002@gmail.com

    Mon Jun 09 12:51:08 BST 2014

    It is a state-of-the-art urban nightmare! Add the name of São Paulo to our Horribly Beautiful.

    event photos
    http://www.conferencephotographer.com.au/sydney

    #
  39. blackwater0002@gmail.com

    Tue Jun 10 07:42:53 BST 2014

    Then, at 17:30, guess what happened? Obvious: the traffic ceased! We were at Marginal Tietê Avenue.

    Best Cash Back
    http://bestcashback.net/

    #
  40. blackwater0002@gmail.com

    Wed Jun 11 07:27:52 BST 2014

    But we have to be in São Paulo, no matter the environmental risk, because this is where things happens.

    bestrecumbentbikereviews.net
    http://bestrecumbentbikereviews.net/

    #
  41. waterblack

    Sat Jun 14 15:55:16 BST 2014

    Superb is the only word i will give u for this amazing blog, keep it up. I will keep coming back again to read some more exciting things on this topic.

    Find trade schools at usatradeschools.com
    http://usatradeschools.com

    #
  42. blackwater0002@gmail.com

    Mon Jun 16 06:52:32 BST 2014

    Thank you for rendering these helpful, trusted, edifying and in addition cool thoughts on the topic.

    Get your training
    http://tradeschoolstraining.com

    #
  43. blackwater0002@gmail.com

    Thu Jun 19 08:06:58 BST 2014

    There are many instances where you tend to go for the wrong furniture.

    just saw Mr. Cornelsen on linkedin
    http://www.linkedin.com/pub/igor-cornelsen/40/308/868

    #
  44. alexmen

    Thu Jun 19 11:11:54 BST 2014

    Thanks for the post and great tips..even I also think that hard work is the most important aspect of getting success...
    in commercial real estate
    http://evgrieve.com/2014/03/ben-shaoul-linked-to-another-possible.html

    #
  45. alexmen

    Sat Jun 21 20:51:00 BST 2014

    trusted, edifying and in addition cool thoughts on the topic.....

    i phone screen protector

    http://www.amazon.com/Window-Armor-iPhone-5s-Protector/dp/B00HENW0V8

    #
  46. shahzaib11

    Sun Jun 22 12:45:31 BST 2014

    Good, We are so interested on this topic.following time I learn a blog, I hope that it doesn't disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to learn.

    papel pared

    https://papelvinilicoonline.com

    #
  47. alexmen

    Tue Jun 24 08:06:35 BST 2014

    Couples were asked to measure the capacity of the man's erect penis - if their answers were various, researchers took the average in the two measurements.
    University Alliance Login
    http://universityalliance.loginq.com/

    #
  48. alexmen

    Tue Jun 24 14:28:49 BST 2014

    I thought it was going to be some boring old post, but it really compensated for my time. I will post a link to this page on my blog. I am sure my visitors will find that very useful.
    Nelson Bailey
    http://301800.net

    #
  49. alexmen

    Tue Jun 24 15:01:46 BST 2014

    I will be waiting for you new blog about theming Drupal. Since I have to deal with Drupal a lot due to my work, I think this site will be much helpful to me. Thank you for sharing the information.
    Glasgow Computer Onsite Repairs
    http://glasgowpcrepairs.co.uk

    #
  50. alexmen

    Wed Jun 25 07:55:50 BST 2014

  51. alexmen

    Mon Jun 30 05:53:02 BST 2014

    I can’t speak french but the people are pretty awesome too..

    sdf-100a manual
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KWHYEBW

    #
  52. show12345

    Tue Jul 01 07:49:56 BST 2014

    Germans, Spanish, Japanese or Portuguese. And also the internal immigration flows: from Bahia, Minas Gerais, Goiás, Recife and so on . . . All of them coexist here under the nickname of paulistanos. To be an authentic paulistano you have to:
    Best Training at allphlebotomytraining.org
    http://allphlebotomytraining.org/

    #