RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – For those still getting used to the Southern Hemisphere calendar, and particularly in Brazil, the end of Carnival means the year can get started. Everything that has happened (or didn’t happen) since January 1st was part of summer vacation, and now after a shudder to release the Carnival ghosts, 2012 is ready to roll.
It is not true for everyone of course, the restaurants, hotels and hostels – those in the hospitality business (somehow that includes The Rio Times) – has been working double-time since December. With the boom in domestic travel, and strong foreign tourism growth (despite the high costs), 2012 Carnival broke all sorts of records for the city of Rio.
Now as we face the real beginning of 2012, it is time to put the plans into motion (or make some plans if you’ve been on summer break). From now, the 2014 World Cup is just 833 days away – kicking off Thursday, 12 June 2014. Maybe that still seems like a ways away, but there is a lot to do.
This week the national news was covered with images of the Antarctica Base that caught fire and burned down. It is still not clear to me what is happening in Antartica, why bases are needed there – science experiments and oil I imagine.
There was also a new oil discovery that will certainly inspire more multinational investments, as well as domestic. On the national political front, there were questions raised about where some Petrobas donation funds were going, and it seems like the 2014 campaigning is also getting started a bit.
On a local level, the Santa Teresa Bonde plan has been announced, putting the iconic tram street-cars back in action, also for 2014. There are many residents in Santa that are unhappy with the plans though, and it makes me glad I’m not a politician.
Another local bit of news is the closing of the General Osório Metro station in Ipanema and Copacabana Cantagalo station (the last two stops of Line 1). This is to allow for the expansion of the new Metro Line 4, extending to Barra da Tijuca, the stations will close for eight months starting in December 2012.
Again there are a lot of unhappy residents and commuters, and imagine trying to bus down Rua Visconde de Pirajá in Ipanema while the new station in Praça Nossa Senhora da Paz (Our Lady of Peace Square) is under construction. The new Line 4 is predicted to be opened in 2015, and again, I’m glad I’m not working in politics.
Now that 2012 has started, we’re excited to co-promote our first Happy Hour event of the year, along with the Gringo Cafe and the Meetup group this Friday. It also happens to be our three year anniversary for The Rio Times, which we are keeping quite but will certainly be toasting to Friday – hope to see you there.