So I tried a glass of Pitu, a local brand of cachaça. To me, it tasted weaker than vodka, but, drink being rare to me, I can't say for sure. I didn't order a vodka to compare, which might have proved enlightening, because we were at a bar, not a laboratory, thank you very much. The catch phrase for Pitu is Mania do Brasileiro, the Brazilian's madness, I suppose.
One of the little hipsters that accompanied us told me to be careful with the Pitu. The strength of cachaça seems to be a point of pride in Brazil. Although I stopped at one, it wasn't because I was in over my head. Don't kill yourself in one night, that's my motto. Draw it out a bit, take your time, enjoy yourself.
Mostly just drank beers. A popular way to order beer for a table of friends is to order a chopp (draft beer) in a huge cylindrical tap plopped own in the middle of the table. It's self-service. You press your glass to the white plastic spigot, and there's your golden ambrosia. I am not sure, but I think they call the apparatus itself a chopp. I drank cerveja -- beer, yes, but distinguished from chopp because served in a bottle. I told you this is a precise language.
I have no idea why I have spent all this time talking about drinks when the real pleasure last night came from the people. I alluded to a hipster, there were a few. One of my worst moments in recent history involved being stuck in a car with a bunch of hipsters in the back seat prattling on about how to classify various indie and post-punk musical stylings. The low point of the evening was hearing a bespectacled, skinny guy in a Western shirt with pearl buttons declare, "Uhh, I prefer older Modest Mouse" as if they were talking wine vintages, and with a tone of voice that seemed to say, "I prefer older Modest Mouse, which is all the evidence you need that I am a wise and well cultivated gentleman with superior taste." As much as I hate pomposity in general (especially when I notice it in my own behavior, I hasten to add), I particularly loathe the transformation of pop culture into some graded course in connoisseurship. It's only rock n' roll.
The Brazilian hipsters, if they should be so-called, were the opposite. We spoke a combination of broken English and broken Portuguese. Guess whose Portuguese was broken. Anyway, the conversation mostly consisted of listing various bands and singers we enjoyed. I believe that, during the whole night, I only mentioned two artists they didn’t know: Elliott Smith and the aforementioned Modest Mouse. The conversation ranged over oldies but goodies like David Bowie, Pink Floyd, the Beatles (I was reminded of how much I used to enjoy the Fab 4) to Belle and Sebastian, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, etc.
Also, Miles Davis, Coltrane, Louis Armstrong, and Sidney Bechet also earned high praise in the form of Ah! Yes! and Eu gosto, eu gosto!
It was a good night.