Final Considerations


The repeated reappearance of the vendors of chegadinho in areas where they typically walk would probably raise suspicion if they did not carry the drum on their backs and play the triangle to announce their arrival. But practice has paved the way for the acceptance of their presence, because it is coded. While the sound of the triangle reminds residents in wealthy areas of their most idyllic childhood memories, it also gives hawkers access to the more controlled areas. These sonic walkers may be slow, but their presence is long-lasting. They not only cross the thresholds between the public and the private, but also do so with some grace. In the early twenty-first-century Brazilian city, the selling of chegadinho – with their own sound, flavor and speed – does not mediate between the world of the living and the dead, as with the distribution of biscuits on the medieval streets of France; instead, it mediates between worlds that coexist within the same metropolis.


Considering that “only hegemonic actors use all networks and territories” (Santos 1994: 26), the passage of street vendors of chegadinho through the streets of Fortaleza is a kind of approaching game. The sound-centered practice consists of a type of space appropriation (Augoyard [1979] 2007; de Certeau 2009) that allows a happy and fortunate approach between inhabitants of completely different socio-cultural backgrounds in the same metropolis, which is one of the most economically unequal in the world.[22] Most inhabitants, those who move slowly, seem to be “marginal.”[23] However, faster and slower flows are closely intertwined, entangled. Acoustically marked by the sound of triangles reverberating against and through the city's buildings, this specific territoriality, as has emerged within this study, allows us to observe how horizontality (“the foundation of all daily lives”) meets verticality (“vectors of regulated hierarchical integration”) (Santos 1994: 25).


What we see is that two people meet each other amid the various rhythms of the city; these people tune in to each other, each one somehow enchanted by what the other has to offer. One of them has something that the other is missing. Without these differences, there would be no reason for a successful meeting. Thus, I conclude that vendors and buyers of chegadinho unite in an act of communion through the arrival of the thin biscuit and the sound of the triangle. They commune because they do something together, something mysterious, contradictory, and complex – as cities also tend to be.