I’m visiting Holambra in Brazil next week. My tour along growers, Veiling Holambra and the trade fair should give me a good impression of the main Brazilian floricultural industry. I’ve been looking forward to it for weeks. The country really appeals to me.
My love for Brazil dates back to 1982. The Dutch team didn’t qualify for the World Cup in Spain, so what to do, when you know that the TV will be showing nothing but football for a month? You choose another team to support. I chose Brazil.
With good reason. I’m a football lover. I love football that’s nice to watch and Brazil played beautiful, offensive and technically strong football in those days. Show was more important to Brazil than results, and the ‘Seleção’ was swinging across the pitch. The Europeans were introduced to a completely new style of football.
I remember names like Socrates, Falcao, Eder, Junior, Zico and Cerezo. Incredibly talented players with powerful, muscular upper legs, wearing skintight short shorts and bright yellow jerseys. They made it through the first round with impressive wins against New Zealand, the Soviet Union and Scotland.
But then something terrible happened. In the second round, they lost against Italy, you know: the team you can’t beat, because it will beat you. I was devastated.
Brazilian football has lost a lot of its old lustre over the decades that followed. They did of course win the World Cup in 1994 (USA) and 2002 (South Korea), with players like Romario and Ronaldo. But it was no longer swinging like in 1982. They were playing more European style, were more focused on results. It wasn’t as nice to watch anymore.
The past World Cup, in their home country, turned into a huge drama for the Brazilians. We all remember that semi-final against the unleashed Germans. I know that every country has its one word you should never say. In Italy, it’s the M-word, in Colombia the D-word. In Brazil, perhaps the C-word, referring to the corrupt politicians. No, wait, it’s got to be the ‘World Cup 2014’ word.
So, I won’t mention football when I’m in Brazil, I can promise them that. Especially since, as a Dutchman, you may as well keep your mouth shut about the most important side issue in life these days. Yes, we have our own traumas. We didn’t qualify for the Euro Cup, when almost every other European country took part. And we aren’t qualifying for the World Cup in Russia either. At least, Brazil will be there. So who am I, to bring up a 7-1 defeat? Nobody.
So much for football. I’m going to Brazil for the floricultural industry. The director of Veiling Holambra, André van Kruijssen, has organised a fantastic and intensive programme for me. I should be able to write some great stories about the floricultural industry in Holambra. I’ll get to see all the ins and outs of the auction, and visit several nurseries, the trade fair and some retailers. I’m going to blog about my adventures on the sites of Het Vakblad voor de Bloemisterij and Floribusiness, on a daily basis.
Such a programme demands a fair bit of energy, though. André made a special point of the fact I should be in top fit condition for the tour.
When I received his text message, I got a bit of a shock. When was the last time I did any sports?
It took me a while to remember. It was a really long time ago. In 1982. When I kicked a ball across the football field with muscular upper legs, wearing black, skintight short shorts and a white VV Naaldwijk jersey.