Dennis Janson: With the World Cup in full swing, recollections of a chance meeting with Pele

Stunned by the normalcy of it all

CINCINNATI -- Brazil as most of the planet knows by now, is hosting soccer’s World Cup and is capativing viewers across the globe. 

Brazil is a haves- and have-nots country. During a visit in 1973, I couldn’t help but notice that the hills above the tony Ipanema, Botafogo and Copacabana beaches were festooned with cardboard and tin shacks, housing an entire population of the latter.
   
   Amidst this squalor and desperate poverty, I witnessed one of the most civilized outpourings of adulation one could imagine.
   
   During the course of my stay, I made the acquaintance of a young lady named Cleo Rebeiro who worked in the gift shop at the Rio Sheraton. Her father was an ophthalmic surgeon and she’d learned English while accompanying him on a teaching sabbatical to Vanderbilt University some years before. She fine tuned it working in a Kentucky Fried Chicken during her two years in Nashville.
   
   A native Cariocan (Rio De Janeiro resident), she served as guide, interpreter and friend for my two buddies, their wives and myself. She told us where to go and where not to go. What to eat and drink.

And eventually what had to be seen to be believed.

That came our last night in Rio.

WCPO Insiders can find out what they got to see and why, to this day, it sticks with DJ.

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