1. Bangu Football Club - The HUFC of Rio...
Above: Bangu fans understand the ways of Meadow Enders.
Rio is home to four footballing powerhouses. Botafogo, Vasco da Gama, Fluminense and Flamengo have all won top honours, but who wants to be a glory hunter? Any true Hereford United fan would be much more at home at the Moça Bonita in the working class suburbs. Bangu, who were started by English fabric factory bosses in 1904, play way down the Brazilian footballing pyramid but still embarrass the big boys in the Rio State Cup – sound familiar?
2. We've got Hay......in Rio it's Paraty Literary Festival.
Fans of the Hay Festival will be interested to know that Rio also attracts some of the brightest brains to open up the minds of others. This year’s event will see Glenn Greenwald – of Guardian fame – and Vladimir Sorokin speak in the beautiful colonial town from July 30 to August 3.
3. Forget pick your own - it's all about....Fruit juice bars.
Rio might not be blessed with “pick your own” farms but the city is home to some incredible juice bars made up of ingredients that simply cannot be found in Hereford, not even in our new Waitrose. Cupuaçu and mangaba are two personal favourites but the best is açaí. Pale imitations can be found in the more cosmopolitan areas of the UK, but they do not come close to the pure rush of drinking the purple slush.
4. Barbecue heaven
Brazilians love their meat. And while the Hereford breed may not be as widely known as in neighbouring Argentina, carnivores will not go hungry in Rio. Brazilian barbecue parties stand out through their lack of salads while the restaurant chain called Rodizio does “eat all you can” offers where waiters bring numerous meat skewers to your table and carve away.
5. Looking for an ice cold alcoholic something or other?
You will struggle to find a pint of Strongbow in Rio – which is a shame because they only take on liquids that are on the verge of turning into ice (even red wine). Lager is the main choice of which Antartica Original is my favourite. Hold onto your glasses though, because if the beer temperature increases, the waiters will simply throw it away.
6. Shopping - make sure you dress to impress...
Those impressed by the Old Market development, might be in for a shock when they see the size of Rio’s shopping centres. Barra Shopping and Rio Sul dwarf Hereford’s newest offering. But, be warned, Brazilians dress up to walk through these air-conditioned chain-filled giants. Wearing your speedos and Reebok Classics will not go down well.
7. Five-a-side/football tennis
Astroturf pitches do exist, but surely you can wait until you return to the Hereford Academy to don the moulds. You are in Brazil, the sun is out and you are on the Copacabana! Get involved in some five-a-side or head tennis. Improve your touch though. You cannot blame a bobble in this game.
Rio’s Commercial Road can be found in the district of Lapa. Start the night at a pé-sujo – spit and sawdust – before entering one of the many live music venues playing samba, funk and Brazilian hip hop.
A night out in Hereford won't be quite the same after this...
9. Hill/mountain walking
Fond of taking the air on the Cat’s Back and Hay Bluff? Well Rio has some great walking challenges of its own. The Christ the Redeemer statue can be reached on foot while the equally impressive Dois Irmãos landmark is also accessible for those with a head for heights. The routes are less than straightforward though, so it’s a good bet to hire a guide.
10. Useful phrases
Brazilians love to practise their English but you might need a bit of Portuguese if you want to chat to locals after the game in a pé-sujo. Here are two phrases that will get you on your way.
- Odeio pênaltis – I hate penalty shoot-outs.
- Cara, pelo amor de Deus, Hereford fica na Inglaterra, não no Pais do Gales – Mate, for the last time, Hereford is in England, not Wales.