Planet Hiker
2005-08-01 DJ Boi, Itacare, Brazil

"Hip-Hop, Reggae, Trance - DJ Boi!" Avishie announced with great importance. "Papel higienico. So guys, what's cooking?" Avishie had a belief that if somebody says something to you in Portuguese that you don't understand, all you have to do is say "Papel higienico" and that will get you out of the sticky situation even if toiletry has nothing to do with it. His other conviction was to strictly follow the rules of kosher. This meant that he could never eat with us (kosher rules dictate that meat and milk have to never come in contact with each other. So for example, a knife used to cut meat can not be used to cut cake, since cake has milk in it. Thus, he could not use anything in the kitchen since it was likely to be polluted. Never the less, every evening we (an American Brice, his Brazilian girlfriend Isadora, Hiron from Holland, my cousin Avik and me, along with Avishie) would socialize in the kitchen over the ritual of preparing food, occasionally supervised by DJ Boi.

DJ Boi, 5'4'' middle aged man with crooked eyes, never actually cooked anything, but he did like to make suggestions oh how to prepare shrimp (once we really did cook shrimp and that one occasion kept him coming back day and day after). I doubt that he was ever allowed to spin at a party either. The closest it came to was once I saw him hang around a CD player in a bar, watching some other wannabe DJ hooking it up to the amplifier. Never the less, he did like calling himself "DJ Boi". By the way, "boi" in Portuguese means a male cow that never develops horns... But somehow, he was proud of his nickname and Avishie only boosted his confidence while announcing "Hip-Hop, Reggae, Trance - DJ Boi!"

This particular evening my job was to pan fry the eggplant, Brice was doing his magic with the rice (we all knew that it was rice, but given the amount of spices he was mixing into it, it could as well have turned into Cream Brule). Avik and Hiron were in charge of grilling the fish. We all took part in scaling and cleaning it, but Hiron answered the challenge of building up the fire, while Avik did an amazing job of stuffing the fish with onions and lemons in such an appetizing way that we were ready to eat it raw.

DJ Boi made another appearance, time carrying a 24 pack of beer. "Today is my birth day" he declared, stuffing a few cans into the freezer. Avik and I did know that it was his birthday and earlier in the day we had made a few arrangements... We could have just bought him another case of beer, but instead we decided to give a boost to his disc jockeying career. There is a "bicycle guy" in Itacare who rides around on a bicycle, equipped with a microphone and a loud speaker powerful enough to rattle the walls in 200 meter radius, and announces what will be playing at the bars in the night. So we hired his services for half an hour to go around broadcasting "Hip-Hop, Reggae, Trance - DJ Boi!" The deal was that he would start at around 9:00pm in front of our hostel.

It was 9:15pm when we heard the loud speaker, still a few blocks away, but gradually increasing in intensity. Except for DJ Boi, since he had no clue what is coming his way, we all tensed up, waiting for the dramatic announcement. But the bicycle guy kept talking about what's playing at the Marine's tonight, without any mention of DJ Boi... "Well, may be he will kick it off next time he is around the block" I thought to myself. With having no other option, we all kept our cool, hoping that the element of surprise hasn't been lost.

About 10 minutes later, the bicycle guy came around again and out of nervousness I got up and stood in the doorway of the hostel to be able to make an eye contact with him, encouraging to start the show. But he only winked at me as he peddled by, continuing his propaganda about Fojo band at the Marine's... Somewhat disappointed I turned around only to face more grim faces. Brice was getting impatient as well but Isadora reminded him that this is Brazil and that things here are "tranquilo" - getting started at "9:00pm" doesn't really mean 9:00pm. It's more like "sometime in the evening". So we all went back to our posts, smirking about the fact that somehow, the tourists are trying to pull off pranks on the locals, as opposed to the other way around.

After another 10 minutes of biting nails, we just wanted the bicycle guy to say his thing and be done with it, as we were all exhausted by the anticipation. Finally however, I saw the bicycle guy sneaking up with a wide grin on his face, taking a full breath of air and at the top of his lungs roaring "Hip-Hop, Reggae, Trance - DJ Boi! Feliz aniversario!" At the first moment I pretended that somehow I am not paying attention to what's going on, but then I slowly turned my head to see DJ Boi frozen in shock, starring with his crooked eyes wide open. Then, of course, we all went up to him, congratulating warmly. Still in shock, DJ Boi rushed inside the house to avoid further embarrassment. Being sensitive to the situation, Avik suggested to signal that bicycle guy to stop, as the deed has been done. But I protested, pointing out that we did pay for half an hour of his time. Thus, the bicycle guy continued down the street, relentlessly repeating his phrase. As a consequence, various people starting stopping by our hostel to congratulate DJ Boi. So much so that he decided to come out of his hiding and greet the visitors at the door. He even began appreciating the humor and cracked a few smiles, after the bicycle guy cycled the block a few more times.

Having had enough, we went back to our dinner, but the bicycle guy must have enjoyed the ordeal himself, repeating the message over and over again for a good hour past the 30 minute limit. No one was more pleased than Avishie.

Photo by Mariola Box:

Photos by Avik Shavarshyan: