The very night of my arrival to Belo Horizonte, “The Town Where All the World is a Bar,” I found myself in the good company of a long-time friend and his energetic co-worker (now too a close friend), with beer on the table, samba on the radio, and dusk an immature night refusing to grow up. The next night more beer and friends; the third night the same. By the fourth night it became obvious, to my inflated ego’s dismay, that no one from my social scene was celebrating my arrival—the foreign cyclist who braved highway traffic to visit them was just a welcome addition to the celebration of something bigger, more important, more permanent than the culture of sidewalk tables and plastic koozies. And until they put a finger on exactly what the merriment is all about, they’ll keep on talking and drinking, laughing and cheering to good health as the days unravel toward the future.
This New York Times article talks about the same constant “party feel in this off-the-radar screen hot spot” that I felt upon arrival and have embraced for two weeks now as only Brazilians and Brazilian-wanna-bes can.