(That would be the famed Copacabana Palace in the background.)
You gotta love livin’ in Brazil. (We sure do.) Especially now. Things are going our way.
The economy is strong. The middle class is expanding. Brazil will be hosting the 2014 World Cup. And now Rio will host the Summer Olympics in 2016.
Feel the love. “Live Your Passion.” (The slogan for Rio's Olympic bid.)
Luiz and I spent the day on Friday (Olympics decision day) on the beach in Copacabana along with tens of thousands of other enthusiasts. In an “only-in-Brazil” moment, the city of Rio declared a holiday, for all municipal workers, to promote pride and enthusiasm for getting the Games. Go to the beach!
We were there. LOTS of people. Lots of enthusiasm. Lots of energy.
The moment the decision was announced the sand on the beach jumped a meter into the air. People screamed. People danced. Arms waved and feet leapt. Confetti from cannons showered sparkles over all of us. The blazing afternoon sun lit up a sea of Cariocas proclaiming their next step into the prosperous world. “It is our time.”
What a joy. What an opportunity to be among the throngs.
Too bad a pick pocket got my wallet and cell phone. I hate when that happens.
But everywhere we go people are thrilled. I have asked many friends if they think the money needed for the Olympics could be better spent (as some commentators are saying) on schools or roads or police training. Without exception people say it is not an either-or situation. The Olympics, they think, will definitely be a net positive for Rio, if not also for all of Brazil.
(And I got to meet President Obama and his secret service!)