Come June 2014 and many in the city would love nothing more than the Brazilian visa stamped on their passports.
For about 60 Calcuttans, the journey from Bengal to Brazil during the football World Cup will turn into reality, thanks to a tour company’s plan of leading an expedition into the Amazon rainforests during the soccer spectacle.
While the sight of Messi scoring a goal or the majestic long-beaked toucan soaring into the sky may be priceless, the cost of the package is expected to be at least US $5000 per head or Rs 3,25,000 (at current exchange rates).
The tour has been planned to coincide with the World Cup to allow football-crazy Calcuttans get a glimpse of the agile footwork of both Neymar as well as the endangered jaguar.
Rong Route, an adventure tourism company, and wildlife photography organisation Jungle Beckons have joined hands to bring the fortnight-long football-meets-forest show. Registrations remain open till October 10.
The two companies had earlier organised an African safari to the Kenyan forests in 2008. Actor Sabyasachi Chakraborty, an avid wildlife photographer who was a part of the Kenyan excursion, will be flying to Brazil as well. He has been to taken on board to promote the initiative.
“As a nature and animal lover, it has always been a dream to visit South America to experience the forests of the Amazon and the World Cup will be the icing on the cake,” Chakraborty said.
Tentatively planned during the first two weeks of June, the tour will consist of a group of 60. The World Cup kicks off on June 12.
The group will travel to Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paolo and Manaus, all of which will host World Cup matches.
The wildlife part consists of an expedition to the dense rainforests of the Amazon in northern Brazil, followed by a trip to the vast tropical wetlands of Pantanal in the west.
“The forests will present a chance of spotting the rare Amazon river dolphin or the black spider monkey among other wonderful animals,” said Pradosh Ranjan Saha, editor-in-chief of Rong Route’s travel magazine.
While Sabyasachi is keen on capturing the exotic hyacinth macau on his camera, wildlife enthusiast Manash Datta is hopeful of seeing a jaguar. “The only thing that stands between the trip and me is money, which I’ll hopefully be able to manage,” said Datta, a bank executive.
With the rupee taking a tumble, tour organisers are worried that the currency exchange rate may put their programme in the woods. “This is an opportunity of a lifetime and we are trying to rope in sponsors,” said Surajit Saha, the tour co-ordinator.
There are a few words of caution by the organisers to temper the frenzy of the trip.
“This is neither a leisure trip nor a family vacation. The excursions will be long, arduous and occasionally uncomfortable because of the terrain,” Chakraborty said.