Amidst hiccups, Brazil gears up to samba

Efficiency rubs shoulders with lazy reluctance in Rio, but with a little over 48 hours left for the Olympics to commence, there is promise of a bright spectacle over the next two weeks.

Visitors pose for a photograph with the Olympic Rings at the Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro.   -  AP

Brazil is going through some turbulence, as one of its most populous cities, Rio de Janeiro, prepares to host South America's first Olympics. And the world is watching with anxiety.

Having successfully hosted the FIFA World Cup two years ago, the XXXI Olympics is the second major tournament for the South American nation, which is grappling with issues on every conceivable front. Every person in Rio knows that the city is throwing a big party to the world. People are up early in the morning and working hard to ensure a better profile for Rio, and Brazil as a whole.

In pleasant weather, the buses ply at rapid pace even as the Olympic lane ensures super service for the visitors, assembled from 206 countries.

With the finishing touches still being given, the organisers are doing their best despite the constraints that are mostly to do with the resources.

Small things are not taken care of very meticulously even though they do not cost any money. The accreditation validation takes quite a lot of time. The international and domestic airports are treated differently even though the athletes, officials and media are still arriving.

Indifference

The buzz of the Olympics is more on the walls than in the voices of the people. Of course, they are warm to a great extent but there is a marked indifference among many with regard to the extravaganza.

Things move at a slow pace, as in a government model. The transport is a big chaos. There are no buses to go to many competition venues, and thus the media is handicapped. Of course, when the buses do run, they carry just one person or sometimes none. The frequency may not be very encouraging, but is expected to increase as the Games open on August 5.

The security looks thin, but efficient.

There is no clarity on various fronts, but things get done miraculously. The hills are shining with lights — like stars in the sky — trying to dispel any gloom. The setting looks splendid. However, there is a certain dampness overall and it is not solely because of the frequent drizzles.

Some of the volunteers, who manage to speak English, light up with a hearty smile as they go about their task in a helpful manner, appreciating the need for proper hospitality.

Efficiency rubs shoulders with lazy reluctance here, but with a little over 48 hours left for the Olympics to commence, there is promise of a bright spectacle over the next two weeks.