Our first few days in Rio De Janeiro have been relatively relaxed in comparison to our schedule in Recife and Brasilia. After spending the first evening here getting acclimated to our new accommodations we spent the morning yesterday touring the downtown area of Rio as well as the popular Lapa neighborhood.. We stopped at many different locations throughout the city including a mosaic staircase, a work of Chilean-born artist Jorge Selarón. In addition to the mosaic, we visited a few different cathedrals whose architecture demonstrated the colonial influence of both the Portuguese and the French in Brazil.
While all of the sites we visited yesterday were interesting, what captured my attention the most was the graffiti that covers the buildings in Rio. While there were many elaborate works lining the streets, the ones that stood out most were the writings on many of the walls that read "Anti Copa." It isn't any secret that most Brazilians are against their country hosting the world cup. They feel that the money being spent on stadiums should be spent on improving the quality of life here in Brazil. Instead, funding is "Hardwired" into certain policy areas and only the remainder is spent on resolving social issues (Kingstone 172). While the Brazilians are justified in their hatred for The Cup, it is somewhat ironic. Just around the corner from one of the many "Anti Copa" writings there was a mural that spanned nearly an entire city block depicting the Brazilian squad standing around one of the stadiums in Brazil. It seems strange to me that the sport that this country loves the most holds the event that is currently high on the "hate list" of many Brazilians.
After a day of things we might learn something from, we spent most of today at Copacabana beach here in Rio. The ocean is a bit colder here than it was in Porto de Galinhas, but I don’t think anybody had any complaints. Many of us walked through the market located just off the beach before going to lunch at some of the restaurants located along Copacabana. We look forward to attending a soccer match at the Maracanã stadium tomorrow to watch Pedro's favorite squad play in one of the state tournaments in Brazil. This will be the site of the World Cup Final this coming summer, so regardless of the match result, everyone will have something to remember.
Kingstone, Peter, and Timothy J. Power. Democratic Brazil Revisited. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008.