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Published: June 15th 2014
A correction from the other day, the FanFest at the beach where I watched game 1 had 32,000 people.
Thursday night me, old Chris, and new Chris went to Dragão do Mar, which is the local bar strip (equivalent to Fayetteville St in Raleigh). The bars and clubs here close around 4, but the special after parties that are invite-only last until sunrise. Tuens out we got invited to one. By the time we got back to the hostel it was 7:00. After a quick rinse I passed out.
I slept until about 12:30 and watched the Mexico vs Cameroon game. Mexico won, which I didn't enjoy 😞 BOO MEXICO! New friends Humam, from Canada, Markus, from Portland, Daniel, from Uruguay, and a guy from Scotland, along with George came with me to find some food. The layout of the city makes no sense because the restaurants are few and far between on the main streets around our hostel. After walking for a while we decided to just go to the FanFest to watch Spain vs Netherlands. There weren't nearly as many people there for this game but the atmosphere was still exciting. Spain got the crap beat out of them which wasn't expected. Maybe if the Netherlands won by 1 or 2, but by 4? Damn. Anyways we went from there to a side street hole in the wall local place that was self service. I had some fish and rice. The fish was over cooked, which was good from a safety stand point, but the taste was par. We stayed there to watch the Chile vs Australia game. I was cheering for Aussieland but alas they couldn't do it. The rest of the group went to a bar while Markus and I walked back to the hostel to get some rest.
Woke up this morning and did a short body-weight workout to get going. First World Cup game here I come! I realized that in the 4 solid days I've been traveling I've only eaten 8 times, which is different from the 4-5 meals a day I eat in NC. I met two more Americans , Michele and Lucas, who are siblings from San Francisco. After a shower Humam, old Chris, the Scot, George, myself, and 8 of the other Uruguayans staying at the hostel left to try and find the FIFA bus that goes to the stadium for free. I was the only one in the group cheering for Costa Rica. It took forever to find the bus but the streets looked like a mass exodus of Uruguayans. There were very few Costa Ricans to be seen. It took the bus an hour and a half to get to the stadium. We drove through a bunch of favelas.
BTW let me note that Brazil is definitely a 3rd world country. I thought it wasn't, but it is. The whole city of Fortaleza is in poor condition. Everywhere but the 4 or 5 main streets looks run down. The only difference between the favelas and the rest of the city isn't the poor conditions or how it looks, its that the favelas are run by drug lords and criminals. It might sound weird or hypocritical coming from a privileged white American's mouth, but coming from a traveler who's done his research and traveled on foot through both the good and bad parts of America, even some of the worst, I can say that poor living conditions, the state of poverty, the staggering level of corruption, and the ever rising homicide and crime rate makes this a 3rd world country. And this is after discussing this with several locals and having come from one of the only 2 cities in NC to make the FBI's top 100 most dangerous cities in the US. Although that shouldn't deter people from visiting because in the good parts it really is quite beautiful and the majority of the locals are welcoming. Just make sure you do you're research and prepare before you come. And if you're a stupid person or a stupid traveler (if you have to ask then you probably are), then don't come.
The whole bus ride was filled with Uruguay chants. They taught us Americans the words and what they meant. On the bus me and old Chris met 3 Canadians from Toronto and one of their fathers who's from Chile. I asked them if they were excited for the women's World Cup to be in Canada next summer and they had no idea that it was. Idiots. The bus dropped us off a ways from the stadium and on the way we stopped at a burger joint for lunch. This place looked dirty. As in too dirty to operate legally in the US, and I've been to plenty of Waffle Houses. It was 3 women grilling on a portable flattop stove. They never washed their hands or wore gloves and the service was sluggishly slow. It looked as if food poisoning was a definite possibility. However, it's now 12 hours later and my stomach is fine. We established a meeting point for after the game and me and old Chris walked to the stadium. This thing was freakin huge! The design was really cool and the infrastructure around it flowed well. Inside I took a panorama of the whole city and I got to see the Uruguay team bus arrive. My seats were halfway in between midfield and the baseline and the highest in the stadium you can get. There was an opening to the outside behind my head which provided a nice cool breeze for the whole game. My view was almost the same angle as the TV, but it was closer and being there gave me more depth. I ended up sitting next to the American from DC that JC and me met in the São Paulo airport. The vast majority of the fans in the stadium were from Uruguay. There were only 3-5 Costa Ricans within shouting distance of me. It was louder and more fun than any football game I had ever been to, even the Clemson ones. The official attendance of the game was 58,679 people. And everyone was really into it, unlike football were its mostly just the students doing the cheering. After the game old Chris, George, and myself met back up and found new Chris and his Uruguayan friend. We walked to the burger joint from before to eat dinner and watch the England v Italy game, for which I was the only one cheering for England. At halftime we went next door where a family of 8-10 were out on the sidewalk in plastic chairs watching the game. We had a few beers and watched the second half with them. After the game we got a taxi home. Hailing it took forever and eventually we had to get into the road to flag one down. We stuffed the 6 of us in a cab meant for 3 and went back to the hostel. We sat around and watched the Ivory Coast vs Japan game. I found out that new Chris, Michele, and Lucas are gonna be in Brasilia while I am and are going to the Portugal vs Ghana game also! Small world. The Germans in the hostel were getting drunk with Markus. Apparently they convinced him to go shot for shot. At the end of the night Markus was able to walk and talk and make his own way around while the Germans were pretty much invalids. USA 1, Germany 0. A bunch of my new friends in the hostel found out I was a chemical engineer and were surprised because I seemed too crazy, outgoing and "just out there." When we all turned in new Chris and Michele ended up getting together, if you catch my drift. Which I'm not sure how that worked in a hostel bunk bed in a room with 18 full beds.
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