Posted: 12/20/2011


     Well, whats that all about? Nothing to do with my blog actually, except it looked really nice on all the posters plastered on billboards around Rio de Janeiro. PUSS IN BOOTS- the movie.

     Despite the temperature, Rio is geared up for Christmas like the cold cities in the Northern hemisphere, with trees, Santas, decorations and food for a family feast-although it might be at the beach.

     Two and a half years until the FIFA 2014 World Cup, but not much sign of renovation and construction, except at Maracana and the Port of Rio. The latter is a bit dilappilated  as I remember visiting Barcelona a couple of years prior to the Olympics there. There are lots of freight cranes, containers and the like, but they hope to make it more of a tourist port with large cruiseships-at least by the time of the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics.  Its across the road from the gigantic long distance bus station, and 5 minutes from downtown Santos Dumond Airport on the bay.

      Richard Texeiria, former son in law of Dr. Joao Havelange, is under indictment for various bribery  and money laundering charges and has been 'sidelined', while RONALDO has been put as the figurehead in charge of the World Cup LOC, although yesterday, FIFA President Sepp Blatter says that he himself will take a  moreactive interest. Brasil and its infrastructure is behind in planning and construction with the twelve World Cup cities, but I don't think it is as bad as it seems.

       At the recent world football forum I met representatives of all 12 cities and regions at their booths. It was held at the Copacabana Convention Centre next to a fort and jutting out into the Atlantic on a promintary between Copacabana and Ipanema beaches.  BAHIA, and its host city Salvador was the most exciting, with traditionally clad, or underclad, guys and gals offering local food and drink and having a spectacular samba dance group entertain us. Also in the North-East with its fantastic beaches, dancing and music we have Fortaleza(CEARA), Natal (RIO GRANDE DO NORTE), and Recife (PERNAMBUCO).

       At the extreme South of Brasil we have Porto Alegre(RIO GRANDE DO SOL)  and Curitiba(PARANA). Curitiba has been declared the best place to live in the country and it's transportation and environmental standards are a role model. Its the biggest city in the South and probably less well known to international visitors, although it has many immigrant populations. Porto Alegro is the home of the Gauchos, being near to Argentina and Uruguay and its two famous football clubs, Internacional and Gremio. Since the 2014 FIFA World Cup will be held in the southern winter, the climate is more suited to visiting European fans and teams, with snow and rain a distinct possibility.

      One town that was making a play for teams to train was Bento Goncalves, in Rio Grande do Sul, and a couple of hours or so north of Porto Alegre by road. I spent lots of time at The Wines of Brasil booth and sampling the products of with its CEO Julio Cesar Kunz,  and with Morgana Miolo at Lots of wine tours, restaurants, waterfalls and outdoor activities in the region. I am going to attempt to visit. Capital Brasiliero do Vinho.