City Blogger: World Cup on the horizon
- 28 January 2014 10:04
- Posted by @ViewFromABlue
Brazil. The perception of paradise. The home of parties, beaches, football and women in bikinis. The sun shining down, a caipirinha in hand, Christ the Redeemer towering above, the dream life.
The venue for this summer’s main attraction.
Just a tantalising few months away, the World Cup looms on the horizon. Although players may say their attention is focused solely on domestic matters, they would be twisting the truth if they hadn’t allowed themselves to think ahead to the grandest of all competitions. They’re not alone. Fans will no doubt have already booked trips and can look forward to watching their teams in the most glorious of settings. Those covering the tournament for work should feel energised by the country. It is a privilege to be there.
As a student of Portuguese, I was fortunate enough to spend a few months in Brazil in the summer of 2012. Having flown 10,000km across the world, alone, with no work lined up, no contacts and just a hostel to await me, it was a daunting experience. And yet, it took barely any time before I had fallen in love with the place.
It may have been the people. So warm, so friendly, so effusive. Laidback and relaxed. Open and caring. Chatty and enthusiastic.
It may have been the food. Tasty and exotic. Typical and packed with flavour. Hearty and enticing. Feijão e arroz (beans and rice), pão de queijo (cheese bread), açaí (berries), brigadeiro (a chocolate treat) and many more.
It may have been the weather. Our summer is their winter. Jumpers, coats and scarves for them. Sunglasses, sun cream and insect repellent for me. Cue suspicious glances in my direction as a pale Mancunian dared to venture outside in shorts and flip-flops when the weather was a mere 28°C.
It may have been the vibes. Charming, cool, safe. Despite the widespread worries about crime and violence, I neither saw nor experienced anything.
It may have been the sights. São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Iguaçu Falls. Parque Ibirapuera, Copacabana Beach, Sugarloaf Mountain. Christ the Redeemer. Imposing and breathtaking. Dominating and daunting. The base on which the statue rests is the size of four Costel Pantilimons. And that’s just the base.
It may have been playing football on the beach with Brazilian children and referring to them as famous footballers. The kid who was strong and tackled well became Vincent Kompany. The quick mover with a silky touch in midfield was named David Silva. And the one who missed a penalty was Phil Jones.
It may have been the conversation about Sergio Aguero’s goal against QPR with a taxi driver: his impersonation of Martin Tyler’s “Agueroooooo” lasting a good twenty seconds.
It may have been a stranger on the street wearing a City shirt with “Glauber Berti” on the back.
It was all that and plenty more.
Forgive me the slightly personal account but it’s hard to put into words the extent to which I enjoyed my time there. Arriving as a timid nineteen-year-old, it was an intimidating, unknown place. Now, I couldn’t recommend it enough.