Just got back from 8 days in Brazil.  It’s summer time there so it was great to be in warm weather after the recent cold weather and massive snowstorm in DC.  This was my third trip to Brazil in the past 15 months.  As with the past trip, it was a combination of vacation and a few business meetings.

I’m developing my sports relationships in Rio de Janeiro since it’ll be a key and important market in the sports space with the World Cup coming there in 2014 and the Summer Olympic Games there in 2016.   The futbol season was over so we didn’t make it to a game but I still have great memories of seeing Flamengo play at the famed Maracana Stadium on an earlier visit to Rio.  It might be the greatest soccer stadium in the world.  The enthusiasm and joy of the Brazilian fans at a futbol game in Maracana is unparalleled in the US.

In addition to futbol, they love to play volleyball in Brazil, including a version where you can’t use your hands — instead, they volley by hitting the ball with their head, shoulders, knees, chest, etc.  It’s quite something to witness.

The legendary beaches are also pretty spectacular, including Ipanema, Leblon and Copacabana.  We also had a great time visiting the beach at Barra.

The highlight of the trip was attending New Year’s Eve on Copacabana Beach.  I went with a group of friends to a NYE party in Leme, but then we went down to Copacaban Beach at around 11:15 to witness the fireworks display.  It was an incredible show — huge fireworks in the sky as nearly 2 million people celebrated the arrival of the NYE.  I’ve been told it’s something one should try to witness at least once in their life — I can now see why.  One word to describe it — WOW.

I enjoyed the time there, particularly the warm, sunny weather, but it’s good to back home.   It’s back to building to continuing to build the new sports business, teaching (the semester at Georgetown starts next week) and philanthropy (tons of board meetings coming up).

My best New Year’s wishes to everyone.   May 2010 bring you good health and happiness.  Happy Ano Novo!