Our Undiscovered Country
Trip Start Jun 16, 2006
23Trip End Aug 15, 2006
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So I have only spent a couple of days now in Brazil, but I remain thoroughly convinced that it is our undiscovered country. South America is truly underappreciated in the world, and Iīm confident that Brazil will be among the key economic players in the 21st century among nations. It has a population of 180 million people, making it the 5th largest country in the world. It has a geographic size comparable to the area of the United States and endless natural resources to boot. You can read in the Economist that it has put up consistent GDP growth rates of 3% a year, not a small figure for a rapidly industrializing large country
This is not to say that Brazil does not have its fair share of social problems. You could talk about the painfully obvious disparity between the rich and poor--the blatant concentration of wealth in the hands of the few. You could also talk about Brazilīs environmental and health problems (it has one of the larger HIV infected populations in the world). But to be truly fair, you would have to mention Brazilīs progress in the past two decades. Brazil has displayed a commitment to modernization, take for example the fact that it has the largest fleet of ethanol burning vehicles in the world. Talk to most Brazilians, and youīll find that they possess an uncanny optimism about the future that is quite refreshing. These are people who know how to have a good time, whether itīs playing football, going to the beach, or dancing and singing samba. There are more important things in life than worrying about how much money is in your wallet.
Now, Iīm not going to write about what it is like to be an American traveling in the world, because frankly it is so damn cliche. Instead, Iīm going to write about what it is like to be a person who has traveled a great deal before, but who travels to a new place and still encounters new experiences (just as cliche I know).