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A partial list of trace elements to be found at the bottom of my somehow-enduring affection for


Heat. Light. (In equal measures.) Passion-fruit juice, fresh-blended. The acrid smell of kerosene solvent, rising from newly washed tile sidewalks. The overburdened voice of soul crooner Tim Maia, reaching for the high notes on his 1972 classic "Você." The music of João Gilberto. The music of Gilberto Gil. The wordless communion of prostitutes and German tourists drinking caipirinhas on the Avenida Atlântica, along the beach at Copacabana, in the city of Rio de Janeiro. The city of Brasília, and its true creators. Carmen Miranda. Chacrinha. Brasil Legal. "O Amuleto de Ogum" and certain other films by Nelson Pereira dos Santos. One warm, chewy wad of cheese bread, please, and a Coca Cola. Many many many songs by Caetano Veloso but especially "Terra" (or maybe especially "Sampa", it's hard to say). Passion-fruit juice, with sugar. The beach at Porto da Barra, Salvador, around three o'clock on any weekday afternoon. The music.