JFK to Buenos Aires.
Buenos Aires to Rio.
Rio to São Paulo.
It took nearly 24 hours, but I finally arrived at my first destination inside Brazil for the World Cup, 2014. I was tired, I was jet lagged, but napping is for cruises. Fuck that. This is Brazil and my first stop is São Paulo, the largest and most metropolitan city in Brazil.
By the time we showered and changed it was time for dinner. The rest of the group doesn’t arrive until tomorrow, but the few of us who were here headed out to Vila Mariana for dinner and drinks. It was amazing. The streets were flooded with people from every corner of the globe. While we ate this ridiculously good traditional steak dish, Picanha, you could overhear the chants from the crowds showing support for their country. But beyond it all, the thing you could here most clearly was the sound of music. You could hear the Samba.
One of my favorite parts of traveling around the world is listening to locals play music. While culture comprises language, food, religion, social habits and more, I still think you can boil a country’s culture down to it’s music. It s a common platform, played through the same potential combination of rhythm and tones – and yet every country’s sonic identity is so different. To put it another way, almost every country in the world has some form of a percussion instrument and some form string instrument, yet no two countries seem to produce the same sounds or rhythms from these instruments. The long twang of the Indian sitar differs so much from the German cello, which sounds nothing like the ukelele of Hawaii. My favorite music cultures, however, are those of Latin America. From Mambo to Samba, to Salsa, the music is so simple and yet so full of life.
As we walked the streets of Vila Mariana, the Samba slowly took over the night. Some bands were set up on stages but others seemed to just form organically around a table. People would circle around the musicians singing along, dancing, drinking and having banter back and forth with singers. The only sound that seemed to over take the music was that of laughter. But even that seemed to come in the rhythm of the music. Not to sound corny, but it kind of gets you high. The music in Brazil, and it’s only my first day here, is the most amazing part of this country. Music seems to inspire everything here, from their dancing (obviously), to their fighting (capoeira), to even their futbol (their team is known as the Samba Boys). It’s something that I don’t think I’ll tire of throughout my time here. Besides, I can’t imagine there’s a better way to meet a few mulheres than by being the gringo who will dance with them.
That’s it… day 1 over. The boys land tomorrow and the real trouble begins.