Brazil Mystery #2 – The strange sound-car – SOLVED!

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One of the irritating parts about life in Brazil is the existence of carros-som (“sound-cars”), which drive around with speakers strapped to their roofs, blasting advertisements for local stores, bands, or politicians up for re-election.

There’s one in particular that seems to park right outside the building where I give my lunch hour English class, radiating sound waves of extremely annoying “romantic” music and hawking the singer’s CD. Seemingly always on the days when we’re doing listening practice, too.

But there was one sound-car that passed frequently through my neighborhood, whose message I couldn’t identify. It played this weird, pseudo-soothing elevator music, punctuated by some sort of horn or alarm. No words, no ads, just the bizarre music arising out of nowhere and always fading into the distance before I could make it to the balcony in time to see what the heck it was.

One day, while walking home from work, this very sound-car passed me! It’s the Ultragaz truck, driving through the neighborhood and announcing its presence in case anybody needs a new gas tank for their stove. Brasilgas and other companies simply have the driver yell “GAS!!!! GAS!!!” as he goes through the neighborhood, but I guess this company decided to innovate and add a little musiquinha. Mystery solved!

I am so glad some Brazilian already filmed this and put it on YouTube so that I don’t have to embarrass myself by running after the truck with a camera: