Posts Tagged ‘Sao Paolo’

Romancista!

Friday, August 10th, 2012

There are times I wish I could be more forthcoming about the nuts and bolts of the work I do on these overseas jaunts. Often I feel (correctly) constrained from violating client confidentiality, but on the other hand, if the client is talking about me, well, I guess it’s okay for me to talk about me, too. With that in mind, here’s a picture and blog post from the website of Y&R Brazil, the Brazilian branch of the worldwide ad agency Young & Rubican, and that’s who I’ve been working for here.

Quite the art shot, huh? I couldn’t have conceived such an indulgence better myself. And here’s what they had to say about me (how’s your Portuguese? Mine is nonexistent, so I hope they didn’t say I sucked.)

“Romancista, escritor, roteirista de séries de TV como Married with Children, professor da UCLA e fera no pôquer. É isso aí, John Vorhaus é um cara cheio de talento e está aqui na agência para  dividir sua experiência com os Youngs.  Na pauta do workshop Ferramentas Criativas, estão criatividade e storytelling!”

As far as I can tell, I’m a romancista. Well, okay, I’ll buy that… whatever it is.

Apart from imparting my wisdom, I actually carved out a little time for sightseeing, notably from high at0p the Banespa Bank building in downtown Sao Paolo.

And if you get the impression from this that “downtown Sao Paolo” goes a long way, trust me, you don’t know the half of it. Here’s the other half.

And there are at least two other other halves beside this one but, well, you get the idea: big, big city. Skyscrapers as far as the eye can see — and traffic that boggles the mind. I thought we had it bad in Los Angeles, but Sampa teaches me that, really, I know nothing of traffic. But this is a cool place and a deeply vibrant one. As in so many countries, there’s a friendly rivalry between the main cities of Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro (which I didn’t get to visit this time, but damn well will next time). It’s clear that if you want to have a professional career in the place where everything is happening, then you have to be in Sampa, just like in America you can love San Francisco or Chicago all you want, but if you really want to be in the center, it’s LA or NY for you. This thought is not lost on Brazilians: hence the sprawl; hence the traffic. Everyone is here because, uh, everyone else is here.

And by the way, while the rest of the world is struggling with recession, depression, concession and regression, Brazil is rocking. Consensus is that this country is riding a rising tide of prosperity. Optimism is palpable. It’s great to see. You almost can’t be here and not be happy about the road ahead. It’s uplifting.

And if you’re not uplifted enough, how about a little sugar to start your engine? What you see here is fresh sugar can about to be squeezed into a cup for your drinking and sugar-rushing pleasure.

And… sigh… there goes my diet.

And… sigh… there goes my visit. Tomorrow I fly home, after a whirlwind week (well, less) in a place I’ve immediately fallen in love with and am already plotting a return visit. This city and country are special, and the people who live here know it beyond doubt. I’ll close this post with a picture of a bunch of people you don’t know, but there’ all my new best friends, and I look forward to seeing them again.

More later,  -jv

Everything Old is New Again

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

Well, Campers, here I am in Sao Paolo, Brazil, and I’ve just come in from having a big walk around. I can’t tell you much about Sampa, except that it’s unreasonable large and that parts of it remind me of Tel Aviv (riotous street scene) and parts remind me of Bucharest (a little more attention to smooth pavement, please). What I can tell you about is my inner weather. All day long I’ve been haunted by the (good) feeling that “everything old is new again.” Maybe it’s because I’m on a new (to me) continent and in a totally new (to me) culture, but I can’t shake the feeling that this is really like the old days for me (like 1998, ’99), when these overseas jaunts were still a novelty and the mere act of being in a strange place was enough to get me seriously off. Followers of this blog will know that I’ve lost that feeling from time to time. It’s not that I’ve become jaded, except, okay maybe a little bit I have. Anyway, for some reason this place strips all the jaded away, and I’m walking around with the sense of wonder of a much younger man.

Just in passing today I noted the difference between being younger and being older. I fancy that it’s worth sharing here: Being older means you know more and care less. I don’t know if that’s true or not. It sounds like one of the (many, many) things I say that sounds like it might mean something and then you look at it closely and realize, hey, not so much.

Here’s one thing I know about Sao Paolo: people make eye contact. It’s weird and disconcerting if you’re not used to it, but you can be walking down the street and find yourself being “recklessly eyeballed” by all and sundry. Now me, I’m a reckless eyeballer from way back, but I’m so used to that being a one-way relationship. Here, out on the street, people are checking me out as relentlessly as I them (so much so that I sometimes think they’re flirting which, alas, they are not). I was told that this was the case, but didn’t believe it until I saw it with my own, er, eyes. Why it should be I cannot say. Does it speak to an open and connective society, or just a general prurient interest in one another on the street? Dunno. I’ve only been here a day. Maybe by tomorrow I’ll have it all sorted out.

In the meantime, two pictures. This first is from my hotel hallway, outside the elevator.

And that’s good advice, no? Note that this warning has been required by municipal code since 1997. I guess there were a lot of elevator accidents theretofore.

This next shot is from a toy store here in Sampa, and it just tickles me that the game that informed my childhood a damn long time ago is still out there doing its thing, forcing people to choose between the Rota Segura (the safe path) and the Rua do Risco (the risky path). Same as it ever was, my friends, same as it ever was.

For me the Rua do Risco. Always was, always will be. Because everything old is new again, and as long as I follow the unsafe path, no matter how old I get, I will stay new, too.

More later,  -jv

On The Road Again (Again)

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

Well, Campers, I haven’t been overseas in almost 8 months and that’s kind of a record for — oops, I forgot my trip to Oslo in April. Okay, I haven’t been overseas in almost 4 months, which is no kind of record at all. This time I’m bound for Sao Paolo, Brazil, and I’m excited about this trip because this will add both a new country and a new continent to my resume. I will now have worked in 29 countries on 5, count ’em 5, continents. Ya-hey!

This is also an unusual trip because I’m going to do a job I’ve never done before: I’m tasked to breathe life into a cartoon mascot for a food company (can’t tell you more — would have to kill you). Well, I haven’t worked the advertising side of the street since I was 25, so this will be a real change of pace. Nor have I ever done exactly this sort of creative consulting gig before. So it’ll be “making it up as I go along” as usual. Doesn’t scare me. That’s how I roll.

As usual, I’ll be flying blind, arriving in a city I know virtually nothing about. A quick image scan on Google seems to indicate that the houses are pretty…

but the land is mostly magenta…

And covered with tall buildings.

But, one way or another, I imagine I’ll stumble along. I’ll only be there for 6 days, so no chance to chase my usual buzz of ultimate frisbee in foreign climes, and probably not poker as well. Ah, well. I’m hoping to get a little sight-seeing in, but frankly I won’t work too hard to arrange that. When you’re completely new to a place, everything is a sight to see, and even the most prosaic walk can be eye-opening. Well, I’m bringing my camera, so my prosaic walk can be eye-opening for you, too.

More later, -jv