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Published: June 20th 2014
I woke up and got breakfast at the hostel while bandaging my toes. JP dropped off my shoes. I packed everything up and got ready to go to the airport then took a little nap. Nico drove me and Markus to the airport. In the car we talked about our stay in Fortaleza, US politics, vegetarians, Manaus, and how he came to be in Fortaleza. Apparently he bounced around Recife, Natal, and São Paulo with a girlfriend working odd jobs. Then he met his wife who convinced him to come to Fortaleza. He started working for her at the hostel and then after a year they were married. Checking in and getting through security was easy, even without knowing Portuguese. I got a snack and waited for my flight. I chatted with a guy from El Salvador and on the plane sat next to a couple from Montreal. They also went to the Uruguay v Costa Rica game and are also going to the Cameroon v Croatia game. I landed in Manaus, found a taxi, and had him call my hostel to get directions there. This hostel was a lot warmer and open than the one in Fortaleza. It also seemed newer/cleaner. The first thing I did after checking in was find a drug store and get some insect repellent and anti-septic spray for my toes. I wanted to take the bus to FanFest to see the USA v Ghana game, but I only had 30 minutes until game time. Instead I found a square next to the Teatro Amazonas that had a stage with a jumbo screen and a bunch of seats. The Teatro Amazonas was huge and colorful. The building was salmon pink with cream columns and trim, and the dome roof was colored to imitate the Brazilian flag. On the way I got stopped by 2 guys from Oregon, Dominick and Max, who were trying to find the FanFest. I told them they wouldn't get there by game time so we decided to split a pizza at the nearby pizzeria, Splash. We watched the first half of the game there. When USA scored we were one of the few that cheered. I think we startled some of the locals. We watched the second half of the game at the jumbo screen. About half the crowd, which was mostly Americans, English, and Brazilian, was cheering for USA, a third for Ghana, and the rest didn't care. USA won!!! Freedom 2, Ghana 1. Dominick and Max didn't have a place to stay that night, but had rented a car. Their backup plan was to sleep in the car if they couldn't find a place. They had arranged to stay in peoples spare rooms or on couches for the other nights they're here. I invited them back to the hostel to see if any rooms were available, and luckily there were. After taking a shower and dressing my toe wounds we walked around and drank some beers for an hour or so. I convinced them to try and go on the day tour of the Amazon I'm going on the 19th. We met a bunch of people in the square and on the street like a Brazilian native who went to Boston College and is now in Paris working on his PhD on the impact the World Cup will have on Brazil and its people. Back at the hostel we met a couple that quit their jobs and sold their house to motorcycle through the US and Mexico, then sold the bike to hitchhike and bus through Central America, the sailed around Panama to Colombia, bought a bike and drive throughout South America, and came to Brazil for the tournament. They knew a couple that drove from US to Brazil and shipped their car around the Darian Gap. Another guy we met had been traveling around South America for 4 months. He biked around Chile, Argentina, and Machu Pichu in Peru before coming to the World Cup.
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