Getting my first feel of Brazil. Wow!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

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THE World Cup is underway and has been turning heads ever since the first couple of matches.

Everyone should be very glad that this World Cup is as prolific as it has been, as it makes for a very entertaining spectacle. Many people in Jamaica have already stated that this World Cup is far better than the previous one in South Africa as more goals are being scored and upsets have been non-stop.

Take for example the Spain vs Netherlands match as few, if anyone, expected the Dutch to beat Spain 5-0. Another standout shocker would be Costa Rica, who have qualifed out of a group of three former World Cup winners.

It's now June 20, and I have made my way along with my family to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil for the World Cup, and it was not easy. The trip started with a two-hour plane ride from Kingston to Panama, then we had to wait for about six hours for our plane ride to Brazil, and this is where things got hard. Can you imagine being in a place for six hours and not being able to text your friends, check social media or even instant-message your girlfriend? Everyone in Jamaica is always on their phone, whether they have service or not, and I am also one of those persons who is constantly on the phone.

Well, being in a place for six hours with no Wi-Fi and no service really takes a toll on you as you can only talk to your family and listen to music for so long. I even tried meeting a new person, but the language barrier quickly prevented me from carrying a conversation with her.

After that long wait in the terminal came the worst plane ride ever -- another six hours stuck in the same seat with no chance of getting up as you're in the window seat and everyone else is sleeping around you. The plane ride was overnight and we arrived in Sao Paulo at about 5 o'clock the next morning. By my estimation, most persons got in at least an hour's sleep on the plane, but it was I who had not slept for the past day and was calling for a bed.

So it would be my displeasure hearing that we had a third flight to catch from Sao Paulo, thinking we were done for the day. My mistake.

After a one-hour flight to Rio, things started to pick up. My family captured a taxi to take us to our apartment where we would be staying for the next three days. On my way to the apartment, passing various exciting views, I noticed that at every single stoplight there was a police car stationed, something we are not used to in Jamaica. Upon reaching the apartment and taking a walk around my new surroundings, I realised three things: One, thousands of people were here for the World Cup; two, how close I was to the FIFA Fan Zone and three, the multitude of beautiful girls walking around.

I was surprised at how much better this trip had become from realising those three things. The FIFA Fan Zone was set along the famous Copacabana Beach so that people could just walk in and watch all the matches on a giant television screen, while enjoying the atmosphere of the World Cup. The Fan Zone has bars, zip lining attractions, live performances, posters with all your favourite players, and you could also take your picture with the World Cup trophy.

The biggest attraction was probably the official FIFA store, which carried apparel from every team in the World Cup, from jerseys, shorts and hats. The Fan Zone was my first experience in Brazil and the experiences should get better as I was due to attend the first match of my World Cup schedule, Belgium vs Russia on June 22.




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