1. I am never traveling with anyone ever again. The past 8 hours have been out of a dream and I know that if I was with anyone else they wouldn’t have happened. (I’m totally going to regret saying this and get mugged in 5 minutes… Knock on wood.)
2. Everything. EVERYTHING happens for a reason. I don’t believe in “fate” or “karma” necessarily, but I do believe if you make the most out of every situation you won’t regret your decisions.
I’m currently in the airport waiting for my flight to Manaus writing this. Despite all the “wifi” signs: total lie. No wifi. I should’ve been waiting here, moody and annoyed, about 5 days ago. Instead I’m high on life with a massive skip in my step. Missing my flight was maybe my best choice yet. As I said before, I had insane food poisoning so it wouldn’t have been worth the money anyway plus I really, really needed to chill and veg out. But I had been a total vegetable barely leaving my hotel rooms for about 3 days now and I started craving human interaction. I had checked out of my hotel at 12 but my flight wasn’t until 12:10am the next day. I figured I would just chill in the lobby, watch the two games, be lame, use the wifi, etc. Well whatever was out there decided that wasn’t happening and the universe was done with my vegging and needed me back in the game.
The hotel let me check my luggage so I wouldn’t have to watch it. I was looking at the menu at the hotel restaurant when a boisterous American passed by me “ITS ALL GOOD, GO FOR IT. I PROMISE!” On his way back I questioned him a little more, with little doing he pushed me in the door and I found myself with a plate of food at a table with him and his friend. They were getting amped for the USA game and I was despondent. All I wanted to do was attend a Brazil and/or USA game (don’t mean to complain, I realize how incredibly lucky I already am). It just sucked being in Salvador, right there, my flight in hours, and the USA team being a half an hour taxi ride away. They encouraged me enough to at least debate going, sharing a taxi helped a lot. Low and behold I turn around to see three men at a table with a sign “selling USA x BELGIUM tickets”. If that’s not a sign (which I don’t really believe in but…) I don’t know what is. (It was totally logistically bound to happen.) I bid the guy down and within 20 minutes of my quiet afternoon I was dressing myself in American flags, beer in hand, on my way the game. Wait, what? Yeah that happened.
The game was… Amazing. I don’t care that we lost, any soccer fan could tell you it was a hell of a game. We were so close… Right there… Anyway, no more fretting.
We were one of three major USA fan section. Due to the stadium not being too big and the sections all being close, when one section started up all three were together, echoing through the entire stadium. People don’t kid when they say how intense USA fans are. Any Brazilian will tell you, we are number one in national spirit. We were in the front of our section too so I even got to lead some of the “I Believe” chants. I had thousands of people chanting along with something I started. It was truly unlike anything I have ever experienced before. The other games were fun and amazing… But nothing like this. Fuck yeah, ‘Merica!
And since we’re Americans we can’t just make things easy either. Granted this is already Brazil and you get away with so much we have to push it to the limit (cause we’re Americans, duh). Look like you know what you’re doing and people leave you alone… Went in the wrong entrance, stood in the wrong seats, and cut all the lines. Still we have to push it.
In the stadium you HAVE to sit. Well we’re Americans, we stand for games, we stand for our country, and only the threat of Brazilian jail made us sit. That and the fact that we were the smallest section so they knew they had the best bet of control.
The game ended in good time and I was on my way to the airport! 44% battery, no converter, and 2.5 hours to kill. I was still way too amped to even think about this. I found a “Budweiser booth” which promised charging and free wifi (ha… ha).
I saw some one had a converter with multiple outlets so I asked to use it. I ended up finding two Australian travelers and used their charger while hanging out with them. Quickly over time 5 Brazilians jumped in the conversation and we had a whole group hang out. But anyway, back to the craziest story I’ve heard yet: the one Australian was from Iraq and have moved to Australia when he was 5. His parents were abused by the past rulings (dad lost an arm) and they trekked 7 days walking to Iran to get out. He didn’t like to into detail but I had never meant someone from Iraq before and lightly pressed for details. He kind of murmured over it and made light since he wasn’t old enough to remember any of it. He could’ve been lying, I mean he did speak some kind of language to me that was definitely from the Middle East. But either way: that’s insane. The people you meet when traveling, especially I’ve found being alone permits the best situations, are the most unique people. They’re incredible and part of this entire experience is just meeting all these crazy new people along the adventure.