BACK FROM BRAZIL,
THE LAND OF BEACH, CARNAVAL & FOOTBALL
Deep into the night, the vessel of Tam Linheas, crusing over the charcoal dark of the Atlantic Ocean was carrying back the travelers who made it to the Brazil World Cup Adventure…
It was Saturday morning; the time was 2:00 AM in New York City, 3:00 AM in Rio de Janeiro and Salvador da Bahia. Altitude: not noted. Speed: 600 miles an hour. Total distance to cover from Sao Paulo to New York: 4773 miles. Flight time: about 8 hours.
Most of these pilgrims were asleep, after savoring an airline dinner. On board Tam, the Brazilian Airline, service is impeccable. But some non-dreamers were still awake, thinking, with a twinkle and a dimple, of their fantasy come true: being at the World Cup in Brazil, an happenstance that occurs every 64 years.
The adventure, a blockbuster at its onset, ended up as a triumph in kind. Indeed, 96 members of an elite corps of the Brave and Fun Army made a 10-day tour at the pandemonium called World Cup. They turned it into a keepsake, a memento, a message in a bottle to be told again and told again to their attentive and admiring grand children.
In a fast kaleidoscope of sounds and colors, a parade of venues, places and moments flashed in front of their eyes. Their brains regurgitated the images that kept them restless and sleepless during 10-short days of wonder in the Marvelous City and in the City of Alegria: Cristo de Corcavado, Plataforma, Sambadromo, the restrooms at Marius, Sugar Loaf, Tijuca, FIFA Fan Fest, Maracana, the VIP lounge, 40 Graus, Boi Petro, Pelourinho, Cidade Baixa, Cidade Alta, Mercado Modelo, the forro show, Yemanja, 365 churches, Praia de Forte, Guayajuba, Pink Elephant, Area Fonte Novo, Shopping Barra, Iguatemi Mall, Coliseum and the two dozen football games they attended…
They met the prettiest women in the whole wide wild world; they glimpsed at the girl of Ipanema, and all of them fell in love. They walked and swam on the most celebrated beaches on our blue planet. They remained speechless at the naturaleza and the beauty of a state called Bahia where Brazil was started. They held the art and the craft and they craved for it. They heard and listened to the history of Brazil and they understood.
They understood that Brazil, member of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) is a country of the future waiting, in the wings, for its century to come along. Its ecologic and sociological makeup is a preview of what the future of the Judeo-Christian nation will look like. Its economic output and its global reach are growing; its tomorrow will be a different day.
My connecting flight from Miami landed at EWR, in Newark, at 4:00 PM. I was missing the knockout game between Chile and Brazil. Will Brazil win the tournament it created? Will the Auriverdes, darling of a nation of 200 million and role model for the developing world, fail a second time to secure the sporting gain of their 11-billion-dollar World Cup extravaganza on home soil?
Mustafa was waiting at the luggage belt. On the back of the limousine, I too have a smile. Hopefully, no longer in my lifetime will I hear these friends and colleagues, those enticed to take this trip, insinuate that people travel to Brazil “because of the girls”…
Some tourists do, but most travel to the Land of Sun, Beaches, Football and Carnaval because of its rich culture, the friendliness of its locals, the promise of its economic performance, and the omnipresent artistic emanations in all Brazilian endeavors…
Once again, I traveled to a foreign country, I went to Brazil, I stayed in Rio and Salvador, and I returned with an inner sense of peace and recreation. I attended one more World Cup, which is a communion between 32 nations in jersey jousting to prevent war, raving it up in unison on the beach, at the fan zone, to keep world peace and curb racism.
Travel is the best of all universities, the Academy of Inquiry, the Institute of Knowledge, the College of Illumination, the Alma Mater of Empathy.
I thrive to be a Citizen of the World, a believer in all faiths, a disciple of all religions, an adept of all creeds, a human in the tradition of the Encyclopedist to whom nothing human should be foreign.
If Haiti is my homeland, Warrenville is my home, and the world is my patria. I am back at home in Warrenville, back to the rat race. It is so sweet to be back home.
Until the next adventure, it was The Traveller.
(The Traveller, Saturday, June 28, 2014)
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