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0 Comments Greetings From 2014 World Cup: The Madness of Manaus, Brazil

Article written by Boris Bozic on the 20 Jun 2014 in World Events

Unless you’re from this region or a geography major, the likelihood that you’ve heard about Manaus would be somewhat remote – just like it’s location.  It’s an industrial city, in the middle of the Amazon.  How and why this location was chosen to host matches during the World Cup, is a mystery, at least to me it is.   A beautiful new stadium was built specifically for the World Cup in Manaus.  It’s seats forty thousand, and has all the amenities that we’re used to in North America, including beautiful hospitality suites.  But here’s the thing, there’s no local team that plays in the Brazilian top league. Evidently Manaus has a team that plays in the third division, and a few of the locals I spoke to about the future of the newly built monument indicated that hundreds, not thousands, of people attend these games. So what does one do with a brand new shinny stadium in the middle of a jungle?  No one seems to know.  It appears the stadium was built to host four games during the World Cup, period.  In an odd way it’s comforting to know we haven’t cornered the market on wasteful spending.

Here’s what I can tell you about Manaus, it’s not the most aesthetically pleasing city, unless of course you’re into the industrial rough edge look.  The rules of the road? There are none.  It’s amazing to drive around in cabs and laugh, cry and gasp, all in about 30 seconds.  After one ride my dad commented on the size of the tip I gave.  I replied, “We’re alive, it’s worth every penny”.  What the city lacks in looks, it makes up for in its citizens.  They’re also pleasant, and tolerant of us tourists invading their space and city.  I was taken aback by the service levels we received at the hotel.  One evening I was in the restaurant having a look at the menu, while waiting for my father to join me. I was really struggling with the font size on the menu so out comes out my iPhone, and my Flashlight App.  Out of nowhere the waiter appears with a step latter, he climbs it to the top wrung so that he can adjust the track lighting on the ceiling to give me more light so help read the menu. I was somewhat embarrassed, and I said “no, no, no, it’s not necessary”. Unfortunately I didn’t know how to say that in Portuguese, so I shrugged my shoulders and said, “orbigado”, thank you in Portuguese.  He nodded and moved on to serve another customer, the only time the waiter cracked a smile was when he saw the size of the tip I left.  Based on his reaction I may be an honorary family member, not sure, but he said a lot in Portuguese, and he seemed to be really happy.

Speaking of happy, pops and I were overjoyed by the result of the game we went to see.  Croatia 4 – Cameroon 0.  That was a good old fashion spanking.   We both commented that this was the least stressful game we’ve ever watched together.  We know it’s going to be short lived; the next game against Mexico is do-or-die. If Croatia wins they move on, if they don’t, they go home.  Very shortly my dad and I will be heading home, but first we head to Recife, Brazil, a coastal town that that will host the Croatia versus Mexico game.  So, muito obrigado Manaus, and Oi, Recife!

Until next time


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