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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Mentalism and Fortune Telling in South America... (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

David Thiel
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Western Canada...where all that oil is
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It is our last afternoon in South America. I am sitting in the lobby of our hotel in Santiago, finger picking my way through this post on a very strange keyboard. And I am thinking about how profoundly different people here seem to view fortune telling and, I suppose by extensión, mentalism in general.

We always try to go in the opposite direction from the tourists on these trips because the REAL trip experience is wherever they are not.

It is not uncommon to see one booth selling leather goods..another selling souvenir crap that all seems to be coming from China anyway...and a skinny guy in a tunic laying out tarot pátterns on a card table.

I always stopped to watch them. Another interesting facet of travel here is having absolutely no ability to speak or understand Spanish or Portuguesa. But I do know my way around a tarot deck and I have at least a basic idea how they work and what they mean.

I noticed several things that all three guys had in common. They all were dressed in an East Indian fashion, although they weren´t East Indian. All three were skinny. All three worked on small card tables. The going rate for a fortune was anywhere between eight and twenty US dollars and I only saw locals buying. All of the customers were female. No surprises there.

The women paid rapt attention to the fortune tellers. I kept seeing cold Reading in action because, while I didn´t understand the words, I did recognize the signs: the fortune teller says something gently, the customer shakes her head uncertainly and the fortune teller amends his previous statement like it was all a misunderstanding. As he speaks, women nod and make the same affimative sounds I´ve heard from North American women. Some things are the same all over.

I also noticed that standing and watching someone having their fortune told will draw nasty looks from the reader and the readee so I had to be circumspect in watching. But it really was fascinating.

I brought a few things with me, along with some effects that are "propless" that I could use when I wanted to and I got very much the same reaction. Obviously drawing dupes had to be used instead of written words (since I can but the reactions from the péople living here were similar and very odd. They expected me to know what they were thinking of, so the reveal did not draw the same reactions I would get in North America but there was also an instant and honest respect granted.

American culture is EVERYWHERE here. Movies and TV shows, some dubbed and others with Spanish subtitles rule the TV. So what effect do you think drew the biggest crowds and the loudest applause? Director´s Cut. While I needed to communicate the basic idea in pidgeon Spanish, the effect reveal got reactions that were right off the charts. One fellow showed his card to all the people standing around him and they all stopped to watch me carefully. As I teased out the reveal they got more and more intense---and when I revealed the answer (I, Robot in case you care) the whole crowd applauded and I felt like David Blain in front of an L&L audience that had been forcé fed crack.

Very gratifying...and a great way to connect with people.

I had planned a longer post...but this keyboad is making me nuts. I truly loved being here. I enjoyed the péople and the more laid back way they seemed to view life. I liked the completely nuts way they drive in Argentina...I liked the open smiles and the way each person I spoke with really took time to try to help me. Also unusual was being in a place where most people don't speak English and I find TRYING to communicate a delightful challenge. I like not having any way to identify what kind of tea I have chosen for breakfast -- figuring out stuff like "wáter with bubbles" is >"agua con gas."

This is a very special place.

Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.
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Seattle, WA
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Profile of mastermindreader
Excellent, David. Glad you are having a great time. You deserve it!
Keith Raygor
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Naples, FL
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Great writing and reading, David. Thank you for sharing this, looking forward to hearing more.
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I always enjoy reading your posts, David. Thank you for sharing this.
...what if I could read your mind?

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Mallorca (Spain)
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Profile of george1953
Great reading as always David, as I am in a Spanish resort some things strike a chord with me.
By failing to prepare, we are preparing to fail.
Nestor D
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France (Paris)
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Great reading : thank you Smile
Slim King
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Eternal Order
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Sounds educational while being fun!!! Smile
THE MAN THE SKEPTICS REFUSE TO TEST FOR ONE MILLION DOLLARS.. The Worlds Foremost Authority on Houdini's Life after Death.....
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Thanks, David. I enjoyed reading this.
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Profile of DrTodd
Cool. I have enjoyed performing in Latin America too. I had the good fortune of performing in Mexico and Chile. Very different audiences and different reactions. I share your observations David, although I can speak Spanish and Portuguese. I like how you found ways to use the medium of performance to communicate with the audience despite the language limitations.

Thanks for sharing.
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