“You won’t see me anywhere near this place when the World Cup comes”
It was 2012 and I was at baggage claim at GIG airport in Rio de Janeiro.
I struck up a conversation with a middle-aged man in front of me. He had a PlayStation 3 in a bag and I wondered if he was selling it or giving it as a gift to somebody.
The World Cup was two years away and I was excited despite not knowing anything about soccer.
I’m an American. We don’t follow the sport like the rest of the world.
Yet, I was surprised that this American guy visiting Rio de Janeiro wasn’t excited about the biggest event in the world.
THE 2014 FIFA WORLD CUP
“It’s going to be crazy, Rio isn’t ready for an event this big. It’s going to be a mess.”
He was pessimistic about Rio and the rest of Brazil not being able to handle an event of this size. Years of visiting Brazil jaded the guy. He couldn’t imagine the World Cup being marvelous in the marvelous city.
But here he was in Rio again with a PlayStation 3 in a bag.
Something made him keep coming back for more.
Despite the crime, the poverty, the inefficiency of daily tasks, the pollution; this guy took a 10 hour flight to Rio de Janeiro. And I wouldn’t be surprised if he decided to attend the World Cup after all.
Brazil has been called the “country of the future”. It’s a joke because Brazil always seems to be on the cusp of becoming a world power. It’s permanently stuck at the “almost there” stage.
I’m sure you heard about Brazil finally getting over the hump during the 2008 recession.
Developed countries were going bankrupted!
While the American empire was falling, Brazil was rising and rising and rising.
The Brazilian middle-class grew at a record rate and everyone wanted to move to Brazil.
Fast forward to 2016
The world is watching as Brazil’s record economic growth has come to a halt. The unemployment rate is expected to hit double digits next year.
Expats are ready to move back home.
Foreigners with USD, GBP and EUR are loving the currency exchange rate.
And just like the 2014 World Cup, people are looking at Rio de Janeiro and wondering if it will be ready for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
I’m sure there are travelers who don’t want anything to do with Brazil during that time. I’m not one of them and I plan to be in town for the games.
But for guys who want to visit Rio for the first time in 2016, I recommend visiting BEFORE the 2016 Rio Olympics.
There are plenty of reasons.
- Less tourists, you don’t want to go to Brazil and hang out with nothing but foreigners like you.
- Cheaper prices. Food, accommodation, flights, etc will all be inflated during the time around the Games.
- Rio doesn’t really get cold but the Olympics will be during the “colder” months.
- Why wait to go to Brazil in August? That’s too long.
But if you do decide to visit Brazil for the first time during the Games, I think the Rio 2016 Olympics is going to be great.
Despite the water pollution, the new metro line delays to Barra and the terrible situation with favela residents being removed from their homes, Rio is still one of the best cities in the world. And the Olympics are going to be a once in a lifetime event.
Like the middle-aged man with the PlayStation 3, you won’t help but enjoy the chaos of Rio.
How To Prepare For Rio In 2016
If you’ve read just a few of my articles on Rio In A Week, you noticed the site is more than just a blog about Brazil.
I believe that anything can improve your life in a positive way. Even wanting to go to Rio for a week.
Many of you have New Year’s resolutions for 2016.
Perhaps you want to lose weight. Or make more money.
Why don’t you make a few goals related to visiting Brazil?
Brazil Goals For 2016
- Get In Shape – Anyone who really knows me, knows I’m a big proponent of working out and eating relatively healthy. You don’t want to be on Copacabana beach with a beer belly. No matter your age, there’s no excuse to let yourself go. And if you really want to enjoy Brazil, you need the stamina to move where the party goes. Look out for an article or two about my work out routine. You won’t catch me on Ipanema with a T-shirt on.
- Learn Portuguese – I’ve written many articles about why you should learn Portuguese. You don’t have to become fluent, but learning a few phrases shows that you respect their culture and you took the time to speak their language. Semantica Portuguese is an excellent online course that teaches you Brazilian Portuguese through videos. I use it personally.
- Study Brazilian Culture – Immerse yourself in a culture different from yours. Listen to Seu Jorge or Ed Motta. Watch movies about Brazil besides City of God! Grab this book about How To Be A Carioca. Check out Brazilians on YouTube like Juliana Selem. She is a Brazilian polyglot. Her channel is awesome. Diving deep into another culture not only teaches you about other people, but you also learn a lot about your own beliefs and whether you want to keep them or not.
- Save $$$ – Visiting Brazil isn’t free. A lot of guys mention that money is the biggest issue for not being able to go to Brazil. Not time, but money. I know a lot of guys are living pay check to pay check. But if you really want to do something, you will get it done. A trip to Rio doesn’t have to break the bank. I’ve written articles on how to plan a trip to Rio for under $1,000. Since then, I’ve found even better sites to find cheap plane tickets. Look out for more Travel articles about how to save cash but for now, plan how you will make and save more money so you can go to Brazil in 2016.
Rio In A Week Is 1 Year Old
This time last year, I bought the domain www.rioinaweek.com.Time flies a little too fast.
I started on WordPress.com and I had no idea what I was doing. My first article, 6 Reasons You Aren’t Successful With Brazilian Women, was a shot in the dark.
I read it and I cringe at the typos. Today, I would have written it differently.
But I wouldn’t dare edit it now. It’s a reminder of how far this blog has come. And how much more work I have to do.
I’ll keep this 1 year anniversary short because Rio In A Week doesn’t deserve a celebration yet.
But you do.
Thanks for supporting the blog, reading my emails and leaving comments on articles.
Rio 2016 is going to be a blast. Not only in the marvelous city, but on this blog too.
Happy New Years, be safe and see you in 2016.