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Friday, October 2, 2009

Okedokey! So Rio is the Place. What next?

We are all on cloud nine now that we know Brazil has made it to the final cut and beat Chicago as the host for the 2016 Olympic Games to be held in Rio de Janeiro.
It is a hard-won victory.

Rio de Janeiro, the Wonderful City, has always been on the headlines and is known for its majestic beaches and its quaint favelas, or shantytowns. The case that was made was genuine. You come up with a map and graphic and establish that South America is strange to Olympic Games. Hello! Why send it to North American or Europe?

Once thing is certain: The mad dash now to bring the city up to snuff and conform to international standards is about to begin. There is a lot that has to be done. Infrastructurewise. You know the drill. People who have visited the tropical paradise will tell you that being in Rio is a constant rush of adrenaline. You cannot shake the feeling that you are about to be mugged and subtracted of your camera or credit card or your bathing trunk. I have met people who sadly did have that experience. in Rio, rarely should you advance out of your hotel room bedecked in diamonds and Louis Vuittons – be simple, be local. Wear the fabled Havaianas sandals.

It is sad I have to write about this but it is the plain truth. However, I have also met people who have been to Rio and had the time of their lives. Rio is famous not only for its sandy beaches and natural beauty and the blue of its seas but also for its bars, clubs, restaurants and samba dances. There is a lot of everything for everyone. Suppose you decide to attend a religious service in English, you just check the date and time in the local tourist literature and head to your nearest temple where you will feel right at home.

Also, if you would prefer to party till you’re fit to drop, again, the possibilities are endless – gay or straight or pan, or what have you, Rio is your place to be. A soccer game, football match, as we call it? I am sure you have heard of the Maracanã Stadium. About time too since we are to host the 2014 World Cup. My home town, Porto Alegre, is in the game, too. And so is Rio.

In search of more emotions? A trip to the favelas for a first hand, or eye, look at how the poor make it through the grueling daily life of a shantytown. Boom! Has anyone been shot? No, never heard of any tourist being unwittingly sent to the next world at the Favelas. Locals? Please! Ask your cousin who's been to Rio to tell you about it. I have friends on Facebook who have taken a day trip to the hills to see the high and lows of the fabled makeshift abodes. An unforgettable experience, obviously.

And today, a tearful President Lula described why Rio is the right choice:
“I’m sorry I’m happy and you’re sad. But you have been happy many times and we have the right to be happy now. We only needed a chance to show that we are able to do it. Rio has been through a lot. For a long time, it has only been in the papers for its police pages. We now want to show the sports pages. I truly, to the core of my heart, want to thank each and every one of the delegates that put us in the 2016 Games”.

Can you top that?

The Video speaks louder than words, however.

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