Blossy in Brazil: A despatch from Croydon Guardian's man in Rio
So this is pretty weird.
A few weeks ago I was sitting in Trinity School on what was turning out to be a near 24 hour shift waiting for the election results to be announced in Croydon.
Fast forward to today and I am preparing to head down to Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro this afternoon to watch Brazil play Croatia in the opening day of the World Cup with thousands of Brazilians.
Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time with Coun Mike Fisher and Coun Tony Newman, but I think things have worked out for the better. Well for me and Tony anyway.
So back to more important matters, the World Cup in Brazil.
Before I flew out to Rio I had this pre conceived notion that as soon as I landed and got out into the city I would find everyone having one big football party.
I mean that is what we do in England right? Dust down those TVs, make sure the HD cables are working, get the bags of ice for the beer buckets and get those BBQ manuals ready.
So when I was walking down Copacabana last Tuesday with the sun beating down at a nifty 29oC, I was pretty surprised to see not much going on apart from the usual stuff you would get in the most touristy part of a city.
Was there a World Cup going on? I mean there was some scaffolding up for the incomplete fan zone but other than that there was no buzz, no atmosphere.
You all have probably seen the protests on TV in various cities in the country from Brazilian residents against the amount of money that is being spent on this World Cup.
After speaking to various people, it became pretty clear that many here are pretty angry. Angry that millions is being spent on football when they feel it should be spent on education, health and such like.
Anger: Many Brazilians are protesting about the public money spent on the World Cup (photo: Planet Sport)
It is an issue which will crop up again in these blogs as the World Cup goes on.
I have always seen (and so do many others I suppose) Brazil as the kind of romantic home of football. The history of this footballing nation is outstanding.
With that in mind it is a little disappointing I suppose that football has been very much in the background in the lead up to this year’s tournament. Again, I always thought Brazilians lived for football?
Perhaps the best way to describe it was by one fan who said to me: "Perhaps in the past people saw football as the most important thing in their lives as many of them were like us.
"But now, when millions are struggling to afford simple things in life, people are thinking there are more important things than football and more important things that need government investment."
A week from this conversation you get the sense that finally people are immersing themselves in the atmosphere of the World Cup and I am certain the atmosphere tonight will be incredible.
But there are many many underlying issues which will come back to the surface very quickly once the party is over.
For the next two months Andy will based in Rio de Janeiro working on daily radio show Planet Sport for a charity called 2kPlus.
He will be producing mini-features focusing on the city of Rio and matters beyond football, from a look at the city’s favelas to exploring the Tijuca forest to learning how to bodyboard.
Listen to the show here.
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