Samba-loving beach partying Brazilians will use World Cup to challenge stereotypes

‘There’s far more to Brazil than most people realise’ said Carla de Faria, the Secretary of State for Tourism and Investment as I interviewed her in Rio. ‘We’ve got Michelin-starred restaurants, world-class museums, great hiking, and we hope that the World Cup will provide an opportunity for people to discover it for themselves.’ Mrs de Faria, who was born in the middle-class district of Rocha, which is only 10 miles from poverty-stricken favelas where street kids dream of becoming the next Pele, went on to say ‘For example, the Sao Paolo Museum of Modern Art is currently running a new reading of the curator Paulo Herkenhoff which features, amongst others, works by Mary Vieira, Alberto Teixeira, and Raul Porto, as well as an oil on canvas by Leopoldo Raimo and two works by Maurício Nogueira.’ I gazed past her, and saw local Cariocas flirting and enjoying a Caiprinha in a beach-side bar. The politician, who was educated at Oxford and Harvard and was clearly wearing nothing but a candy-floss bikini under her Chanel suit, unfortunately had to cut the conversation short. ‘I’m expecting the vice-President of Deutsche Bank here in 30 minutes and I have to prepare my presentation’ she said apologetically. As I left and drove to the airport, I felt great joy at having met my very own ‘Girl From Ipanema’.