I love Rio. Ok, it's dangerous and there's a lot of poverty but it's also beautiful beyond belief. And winning the World Cup in 2014 and hosting the Olympics in 2016 will change Rio, Brazil and South America forever.
Brazil is growing quickly, it's the worlds 5th largest economy and their ample resources of coffee, oil, soya and steel mean they are well equipped to face any recession. They've got a president who's tackling poverty through education and culturally they're on fire. From music, film, design and architecture to engineering, fashion and pharmaceuticals.
Over the past 10 years Brazil has been quietly turning into a world superpower. What it needs now is a world stage. The World Cup and Olympics are the perfect occasion. Brazilians love to throw a party, that's what they do. It'll be carnage, the country will stop work, you wont be able to get served in a bar or restaurant, the cities will grind to a halt, that's how seriously they take it. And what The Olympics can bring to a city like Rio is priceless. Tackle poverty, crime, pollution, congestion and generate mass regeneration and national pride.
Great stuff. Er, well, mmh, there's just the small job of creating the stadiums, infrastructure, transport links and the Olympic village to host these events. And after experiencing first hand how amazingly incompetent carioca builders are, i suspect there will be a few chewed finger nails, a lot more grey hairs, and some seriously frayed nerves between now and the opening ceremony. I'm not sure that wearing flip flops on a building site would go down well with British heath and safety officials, neither would the statutory post lunch two hour siesta, or their complete lack of respect for scaffolding, hard hats, or any other object that is likely to save lives.
But hey, this is Brazil, and it'll be one hell of a party, that's for sure. We'll soon forget about the wonky tiling, dodgy plastering and shaky ceilings. It won't be finished, or straight but at the same time, it really won't matter. It'll be a huge success, it'll make Rio the destination of choice for the next decade, and hopefully do some good and end the terrible poverty.
I'll be there, that's for sure.