Cuiaba gets a touch of Hollywood

Cuiaba gets a touch of Hollywood

World Cup venue Cuiaba’s road network is undergoing a facelift of Hollywood proportions.

The charming provincial venue for Friday’s clash between Chile and Australia may be the smallest of all the 2014 World Cup cities, but it can proudly put in a claim to have the mother of all roadworks.

Fans emerging from the Green City’s airport this week were greeted by tarmac chaos -- an asphalt lunar landscape, but unlike the Moon, without the nice view of Earth.

A multitude of man-made craters -- a health hazard for any caipirinha-guzzling supporter -- mounds of sand, cement mixers, and heavily-laden trucks with claxons blaring, made life trying for the average hire car.

The terrain was more suited to a 4x4, or better still a Sherman tank. “It’s a mess,” taxi-driver Eduardo, a cuiabano, happily conceded. “But once it’s finished, it’ll make life easier for us.”

Like the city, Cuiaba’s brand new stadium, the Arena Pantanal, has endured its own frustrations, and even tragedy.