Rio Round-Up: A fan’s view of the two sides of Brazil

Charlie Hatch, right, with his Dad Charlie Hatch, right, with his Dad

Tuesday, June 17, 2014
9:21 AM

Charlie Hatch, 19 pictured, is a Norwich City fan from Cincinatti, Ohio. He is going to group stage matches in Recife and Natal, to the east of Brazil, with his father and sister. This is what the experience is like in his own words.

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To put it simply, there are two sides to Brazil. One side, with beautiful people on beautiful beaches, is the side FIFA and the government want tourists and the media to see. The other, which sadly, is the majority, is an impoverished nation, lacking infrastructure and portraying itself as a developing nation.

In the last week, I’ve found myself walking down the line that splits the two.

Perhaps the most important thing to take away from Brazil thus far is the effort on everyone’s part to deliver the most enjoyable tournament possible.

Safety has never been a concern for us. Staying in Brazil is just like anywhere else: when you go out, use common sense.

The roads can be a problem, and turn into a warzone during rush hour - or anytime, really. Brazil is a place where the streets have no names, literally.

Me and my Dad landed in Recife from Miami, and are staying in the easternmost city in the continental Americas, João Pessoa. Once you wander out of the aeroporto, any chance of communicating in English goes with it.

But that doesn’t mean the Brazilians aren’t willing to work with tourists. Most have gone above and beyond to deliver the best hospitality available.

On the first day of the World Cup, the local paper here had the headline “Sim, temos problemas” — Yes, we have problems.

Yes, Brazil has its problems. To be honest, I’ve noticed a lot more here than I did in South Africa in 2010. But Brazilians are very loving and emotional people, and are showing the world that they can handle the tournament.

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