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  1. It has been a week now since we arrived in Rio de Janeiro so I thought it was about time to get the blog up and running.

    Andy in front of Carioca signTom on the beachDuring the course of this World Cup myself (Andy Bloss - left) and Tom Ellis (right) will be exploring Rio de Janeiro finding out what this city is about through a series of five minute features for Planet Sport.

    From beach life down on Copacabana to exploring Tijuca Forest to taking part in futsal projects in one of the favelas we will be trying to get a real taste of Rio. As with all trips (and I suppose it is the journalist in me) I tried to do a bit of research before I flew out.

    The one thing I found most fascinating, and now find even more fascinating since I have been here, is the concept of being a ‘Carioca’, the word used to describe those who live in Rio de Janeiro.

    My first thought was I want to become one, mainly because it sounds pretty cool but also because so far the people of Rio have been nothing short of brilliant. Of course this may change after two months here but everyone just seems to show a real zest for life.

    Copacabana beachWhether it is helping me with my awful Portuguese (I am getting there) , buying a paper from a street vendor, dancing with people in the street outside a samba bar in Lapa or chilling out on Copacabana beach (also known as the Carioca’s playground), everyone has been happy, helpful and most interestingly for city folk laid back.

    Love Rio vanHaving lived in London all my life, I don’t think I have often been up town, especially on the tube during rush hour and felt chilled out. No worries here though. Down on the metro you are greeted by the sound effects of forest birds chirping away, waterfalls and the cool breeze of air conditioning making your journey quite blissful really.

    One lady said to us: “The carioca way of life is a mix of cultures. The most important thing is to be happy, we are normally very happy. We know how to receive different cultures and different persons and this unifies us. We are always smiling.”

    And what about those who are not ‘native’ Rio residents? Well there is still hope for me to become a carioca according to one expat who lived here in Rio for nearly 10 years. “You will always be a gringo but if you say to someone you have been here for ten years or something then they say 'ahhhh you are a carioca',” he said.  "So you are a carioca in some ways but just a gringo friend in other ways. It is a bit of a weird one.  “I suppose the main thing is the carioca has a spirit of living in the moment and enjoying it as you never really know what is going to happen next. All the tourists that come here will see how people will go out of their way to help them.”

    For the short time I have been in Rio both of the above descriptions fit in pretty well with what I have seen.

    Samba bandYes life is pretty laid back here, the perfect example being the fan zone being half finished on Copacabana beach with just over a week left to go until the first match.

    And yes sometimes that can be a bit frustrating when you are in a rush or if you want to get things organised in a certain way I can guarantee you will have to do it the Rio way or no way at all.

    I am not fully in tune yet with how to live life as a true carioca, as there are still so many things I need to see and do in this city.

    Hopefully though, by the end of our project here in Rio, I will perhaps be a little less south London and a little bit more carioca.