The cachaça I had at Hortelã was exquisite, far surpassing any I had in the bars of São Paulo or Rio. This Brazilian liquor, pinga, made from sugarcane, is mixed with lemon and a bit of sugar. This sharp and refreshing drink is shared by Brazilians before and after meals, laughing, talking, shouting, singing, and repeatedly emptying their glasses. The festival is in February. It’s almost Carnival time. The excitement is already palpable everywhere, and it’s during these times you really feel, “This is Brazil.” Peeling shrimp, downing cachaça, and loudly singing “Música de Carnaval,” everyone joins in. “Here we have cachaça and water. Yes, that’s all we need,” they sing in a monotonous tune, patting each other on the back, uniting hearts as if they were blood, becoming one. Everyone becomes an amigo (friend). In Brazil, there was cachaça, there was music, there was samba, there were amigos. And one more thing. There were many kind-hearted women. My angels. Brazil was always a land of “festival.”
– Yoshiya Nishimura / GTP-4