Demons and Wonders
|I spent the next two days just trying to soak up the
experience of being in São Paulo again. I walked everywhere. I
didn’t have money for taxis. Besides, walking made me feel more
in touch with the city.
I reunited with Livia Furlan, the wonderful young woman I met on the plane 20 months earlier. We had kept in touch through e-mail. Seeing her again was probably the most surreal experience of the entire trip – even more surreal than a movie premiere or being on television!
We had a nice lunch and got caught up on what had been happening in our lives. She was studying law. In December, she would take the test that Americans call “the bar.” If she passed the test, she would be a lawyer. Meanwhile, she was working in a corporate legal department.
I also met a new friend named Henrique. He is a collectible toy dealer and the king of Glasslite action figures.
We had been communicating online for months, ever since I won a Glasslite Dracula figure from him on Mercado Livre, a Brazilian auction site similar to eBay.
We could never figure out how to complete the transaction. I could not figure out how to send the money to him, and he could not figure out how to send the toy to me.
Well, no problem. I would just fly over there and pick it up!
I’m sure he was surprised when I e-mailed him to say I was on my way to São Paulo!
On my way to meet Henrique for lunch, I accidentally ran into Livia again! How strange is that?
I was really happy to be making friends in São Paulo. I hope I see them again.
I didn't do a lot of touristy sight-seeing, but I did finally make it to the Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP). Located on Paulista Avenue, the MASP is probably the greatest art museum in Latin America. The distinctive, elevated building is a São Paulo landmark. Inside are works by Raphael, Monet, Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Bosch, Picasso, Dali, Ernst, Warhol and many more.
I was especially excited to see the Bosch painting. It was the first time I'd ever seen any of Bosch's work in person.
Across the street from the museum is a famous park called Trianon. Mojica used it as a location for AWAKENING OF THE BEAST. It is very lush, dense and tropical, almost like walking through a rain forest. (If rain forests had paved walking paths, benches and iron fences.)
You feel isolated walking through Trianon. It has an eerie, jungle-like atmosphere, even with the sounds of traffic filtering through the trees.
Dennison told me the park is also famous for being the home of a demon! People have reported seeing a one-legged black boy who appears and disappears out of nowhere. I asked if he was the ghost of a once-living child.
Dennison said no, he is a "demon" called the Saci, a mythical creature that exists to cause mischief.
The Saci is part of Brazilian folklore. But Dennison said people claim to have actually encountered him in Trianon Park.
But there was a catch – the Saci in Trianon only comes out at night!
The park is spooky enough in the daytime, let alone at night. But I wanted to see the demon! So what did I do? Why, I did what any sensible person would do. I went to Trianon Park at night, alone, and searched for the demon!
In a thunderstorm!
Yes, it was pouring rain. Lightning flashed. There I was, alone in the darkness of that spooky park, peering into the shadows, trying to glimpse a malformed ghost child. Would it make that throaty crackling sound like the boy in THE GRUDGE? The only way to know for sure was to find it.
I became very wet, cold and tired. I think I saw a few male prostitutes and homeless people, but no demon child. Darn it. And monsters usually like me! I don’t know what went wrong this time.
Maybe he was scared of running into “Young Coffin Joe.”