My first blog post! Believe it or not, I moved to Belo Horizonte, Brazil, nearly 8 months ago, and have been meaning to start a blog since day one. As anyone who has spent any time in Brazil will know, this is one laid-back country (unless you include the roads…don’t get me started on that) so I’ve been following suit and taking my time.When people from back home in the UK ask where in Brazil I live, 99% of the time they have never heard of the city of Belo Horizonte. In fact, 99% of the time, Brits have only heard of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo; each said with varying extents of hilarious pronunciations, myself included. To the average Brit, Brazil is famous for football, beautiful women (they all look like Victoria’s Secret models), samba and carnaval. That doesn’t sound bad does it?
The truth is, I am learning that there is much more to Brazil than its reputation would suggest. Whilst it has recently slipped behind the UK back into seventh place in the list of the world’s biggest economies, Brazil has taken huge strides in recent years, and the rest of the world is starting to take notice. Brazil is hosting not only the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but also the 2016 Olympics, with several big events set to take place in the city of Belo Horizonte during both occasions. Being the host country is a huge honour, but one that comes with some equally huge challenges, not least in terms of security, but also in terms of catering for the huge influx of tourists, many of whom will visit lesser-known cities such as Belo Horizonte that simply don’t have the same experience of tourism or the infrastructure at present to cope with it.
In the run-up to the Games and beyond, I hope to use my Hypocritique Brazil blog to write about all things Brazilian from a foreigner’s perspective. I plan to touch on all aspects of life in Brazil and in particular, Belo Horizonte. How easy is it to get around the language barrier? What is happening in preparation for the Games? Which are the best local restaurants? What should you expect as a first-time visitor? When did I last giggle at the sound of a brazilian ordering a coke? And so on.
It is an exciting time to be living in Brazil and by sharing my experiences, I hope to encourage more people to visit this vast country with the big heart. I hope you will share your experiences with me too.