Goodbye Brazil. Thank you for being a wonderful host during a glorious month of soccer (or football). World Cup 2014 has ended after 64 matches with Germany crowned as the champion.
Thank you for sharing your country with the world and with us as we traveled up and down the coast, to the Amazon and back. São Paulo, Natal, Manaus, Recife, Salvador and finally Rio de Janeiro.
We loved our journey and documented all we saw: from the United States doing better than expected, to the tough living conditions in several host cities, the beautiful and controversial stadiums, the protests and the hopes of redemption after Brazil’s disappointing World Cup collapse. (We also forgive you for the difficult hotel Internet connections.)
There are so many good memories. We enjoyed your food. Tapioca, moqueca, acarajé and the fresh-squeezed orange juice seemingly for sale everywhere. The cab drivers (who round fares down!) always so friendly, full of advice and careful to fill out the receipts completely. And thankful for that one cabbie from Manaus who took us deep into the Amazon jungle for dinner and stayed to eat with us because he knew we’d never find a ride back to town.
Of course without our Brazilian-based assistants (Paula, Fernando and Catherine) none of this would have been possible. For being our translators, our fixers, keeping us out of trouble and helping us find the interesting voices and places we highlighted in our coverage.
So while the NPR sports crew exits, our Brazil correspondent Lourdes Garcia-Navarro will continue reporting on the stories here — especially as we look ahead to the 2016 Rio Olympics. See you again soon, Brazil. Abraços.
(Photo by Russell Lewis/NPR taken 7-6-2014 in Rio de Janeiro)