PostHeaderIcon Day 1 in Brazil – some addendum’s

Carl did a great recap post earlier. But, as he was stuck driving I got to navigate and stare out the windows a fair bit.

I luckily landed in Recife and walked off the plane and through customs in minutes. There was no line, no crowd and no problems. My weeks of stress before leaving about my Brazil visa were founded as they are not even letting you board the plane to leave without it.

Once there, I wasted a couple hours watching the people and making up fake accounts to access free wifi at the airport. After Carl arrived then fun began. He mentioned the issue with the language barrier. But it is a definite barrier. As much travel all over Europe I have done, I do not think I have encountered such a large percentage that speak no English. Now in saying that I am just as guilty as not speaking any number of languages.  My small Spanish barely helps at all. Out of three car rental ladies working, one had partial English.

Carl and I hit the road

We quickly went through a zone of town (to skip traffic) one would attribute to Call of Duty. Beautiful high rise buildings and torn up back streets near them. We navigated easily but were eager to make our way out. Strangely we had not even a stare at us but it is funny how the look of streets make you tense up. The mall was gigantic. I had read it was the largest in all Brazil, but you would never know from the outside. Since all the buildings seem to blend you couldn’t tell how massive it was until we got inside. It was very modern and once again a language barrier.  We managed to find the FIFA office, get tickets, get lunch and get on the road.

Empty World Cup ticket center in Recife

The roads… were let us say an experience. Giant car swallowing pot holes appeared randomly once outside the city a ways.  Inside the city was a maze of cars with no lanes a lot of the time and people on motorcycles going wherever they wanted. Even across traffic.  I mean totally 90 degree across.  Bicycles were prevalent and public transportation is heavily used.  Small stands selling anything you can imagine are everywhere. We passed every kind of neighborhood possible. From the low to the high everyone seemed to be supporting Brazil.  We rarely saw someone not wearing a Brazil shirt. From shacks, to stands to organized gated communities they were in full support no matter what other issues they are having.

The portable mifi Carl found was amazing so far.  It is set to work in all three cities and we only had a couple small dead spots so far. We chose to stay between two major cities to ease driving between games. It was a great decision as we are also away from the crowds. This being their winter makes the resort town we are in easily navigated (with GPS) and beaches for days.

Once we got outside the city we encountered tons of red light camera zones. They have plenty of warning and the drivers are used to them as they gun it between zones and then slow for the few hundred yards.  The drive was quite long as Carl mentioned through towns, rain showers, crazy driving and holes of doom. No wonder the lady at the rental counter was so deliberate in pointing out the Avis help line number a couple times.

giant potholes

The hotel we booked and paid for in full in advance (always scary) turned out to be right on the beach as promised and quite nice. Oh no English. Checking in was quite fun.  We managed later via Carls’ drawing to get moved to another room to see the beach.  Dinner by the ocean watching the Brazil game sealed the night. We also geeked out the room with Chromecast, Roku, wifi repeater, power adapters and more.

So why this addendum? The people here rightfully can complain about the money spent on the World Cup and not the infrastructure of the country. It needs it bad. The roads, the buildings, the economy. You name it. Stadiums and the cup will generate some tourism money but that is over quite quick. Not enough to make an impact or prepare them for the Olympics.

We have already had some fun on day two and will be writing that shortly.

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