The advertisement from the supermarket around the corner screams: G Barbosa, our kind of cheap! Downstairs at the LGBT bar, a husky voice sings a Bossa Nova song so perfect I give up trying to decipher the sex of its singer. I’ve come to love all these sounds. The sound of men, huddled on the streets selling all sorts of things- from cane juice to the latest pirated version of Avatar. Sometimes yelling at each other, other times laughing, telling jokes, indiscreetly trying to pick up the pretty girl that just walked by.
There are also the sounds of the women- fanning their faces, walking by on the hot sand trying to convince you to buy shrimp or boiled peanuts or a fresh sandwich: one for three, two for five. From down the street, the loud forró plays from a car being used as a speaker: “Yes, I’m going, my woman doesn’t own me…” If you don’t like the song, you’re out of luck. This is music for the community. No one will call the cops, no one will complain. Instead you’ll hear people walk by, singing and dancing along to the hit of the moment. Some, like myself, will pay attention to the lyrics and at times snort at their absurdity. Then I’ll start tapping my toes along to the beat.
This is the Brasil I know. These are the sounds I miss, when I’m sitting in my living room and the silence is so deafening because I can’t hear the waves and the sound of life happening all around me.