My Ego Speak
by Christopher Allen
stayed in just about every form of accommodation,
from pup tent to penthouse; and its been my
experience that the bed in a simple pensione can
be as comfortable as the bed in a four-star hotel.
I dont need luxuryjust a peaceful
place to rest my weary head.
a Portuguese colonial town 236 kilometers south
of Rio de Janeiro. Its known for being,
well, colonial. My travelling companion, Horst,
and I were getting bored in Rio, so
colonial crackled with excitement.
in Rio for a week, thus my Portuguese was stellar.
Id haggled with vendors on the Copacabana,
Id rented bikes, and Id even ordered
my caipirinhas after I couldnt feel my
tipsy lips to articulate my perfect Portuguese.
Essentially, I was ready for anything . . . and a
the old town of Paraty, we found a perfectly
acceptable hotel, and I asked the nice lady at
the desk if she had a room. She seemed reluctant
but showed us one anyway.
take it, I said. It met all of my (one)
criteria: bed for weary head.
blah blah blah, she said. Translation: Sir,
theres going to be a Brazilian country
music party outside your bedroom tonight. Are you
I looked at
Horst; Horst looked at me, expecting mewith
my stellar Portugueseto understand her. My
ego wanted so badly to comprende, so I looked
back at the troubled woman and said,
Well take it.
blah blah blah she rattled on.
Translation: Please try to understand, Mr. Ego:
The party will last well until the morning,
room is fine, I said. It looks clean
to me. Horst? If its clean enough for
Horst, its clean enough for anyone.
blah blah blah! she pleaded. Translation:
Sir, obviously youve never heard this band.
All their songs sound the same, and the woman
whos going to sing tonight is pitchy to say
the least. Did you say you were a fan?
hell is she saying? Horst demanded.
saying they havent had time to clean the
room, and shes so embarrassed to offer us
this one, my ego said.
take the room, Horst said in his Germanic-authority
blah BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! blah, blah, she
shouted at Horst, handing him the key to the room.
Translation: OK, you silly white boys, I warned
you. You want to try to sleep with this torture
blasting through your room like a hurricane until
five in the morning? Be. My. Guest. Youll
be praying for the Angel of Death around three
in a mood, I said. I hope theres
music in the village tonight.
Horst said. I want to stay up late . . .
maybe until 12:00.
oclock in the morning when the thunder
finally stopped, I rolled over to Horst and
whispered, I guess the problem wasnt
cleanliness, after all.
he said, I suppose not. Do you speak
I said. But my Spanish is muy good-o.
music is kind of catchy when you imagine someone
singing on pitch and a few million decibels