Brazil

brazil

Brazil claims it will be ready to host the World Cup this summer. Whether this means really ready or Sochi-ready, there’s so much to do, you won’t mind waiting for the stadium to get finished or for running water in your hotel.

The beaches are amazing. The music is fantastic. The graffiti is as noisy and colourful as the street life it describes. Even the poor people are beautiful.

For people not interested in cramming themselves into a hot stadium with 50,000 screaming mad folk, not to worry. Accounting for football widows and widowers, every host city has planned special museum exhibits and festivals celebrating Brazilian culture and heritage. Just think, instead of dragging a reluctant partner to the weaving expo, you can chat with like-minded souls!

Sao Paolo is a foodies’ paradise. Influences are as diverse as the country’s geography: one can sample African and Portuguese food from the sea, beefy cowboy dishes from the interior, and Amazonian delicacies without leaving town. The country’s rich history elevates fusion into syncretism.

Gritty Recife is home to the best Carnival culture, the oldest synagogue in the Americas and maracata, a percussion-based rap-meets-funk-at-a-samba-party kind of music. FC Who?

Even if one does forget about football, it’s important to remember that Brazil is a developing nation.

Don’t drink the water. In addition to already-suspect water quality standards, the Sao Paolo regional aquifer is in drought stage, further compromising quality. It may not be as bad as Sochi’s ‘dangerous face water,’ but stick to the bottled stuff for drinking and cleaning teeth.

Foodies should expect a panoply of amazing aromas and flavours and prepare for possible side effects. Live larvae don’t agree with everyone.

Some restaurants ‘recycle’ bottled water. This means digging bottles out of the bin, filling them from the tap and upselling them according to the fancy label. Shudder. Stay away from anything you haven’t opened.

As in any travel adventure, get some good travel medical insurance. Though the jambu herb (also known as the toothache plant for its numbing properties) is an ingredient in tacaca, a mouth-numbing indigenous soup, one shouldn’t use restaurants for medical care.

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