Category Archives: 2014 World Cup

What… Just… Happened…

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. 20140702-073141-27101739.jpg

20140702-073141-27101359.jpg

20140702-073142-27102752.jpg

20140702-073144-27104593.jpg

20140702-073143-27103689.jpg

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!

20140702-075002-28202222.jpg

20140702-075002-28202072.jpg

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.

20140702-074255-27775681.jpg

20140702-074255-27775302.jpg

20140702-074253-27773195.jpg

20140702-074254-27774165.jpg

20140702-074256-27776054.jpg

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).

20140702-074522-27922010.jpg

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.

My British day (Fourth and final game)

I’m currently writing this blog on the beach. It won’t post now, I’ll have to get wifi (3 days later…). But it’s coming to a close (maybe?) and I had a free moment. I’m currently watching this: 20140626-201837-73117502.jpg
While doing this:

20140626-201927-73167958.jpg
And also watching this:

20140626-202009-73209564.jpg

So no I didn’t see England play and no I’m clearly not in England. But there’s an English boy (also a tourist) that I ran into a couple times and we decided to go to the Iran-Bosnia game together. No one else bought tickets, I didn’t just go to say I went to the World Cup as many have. Not anymore, I would’ve sold it. I actually love being there and watching (crazy to hear me say that, I know). The game was a great time and we had a blast.

20140626-202107-73267733.jpg
I swear he was enjoying my company. The whole stadium looked a lot more empty than usual. 48,011 were in attendance for this game.

20140628-184324-67404433.jpg
After the game we hung out around town all day and had a great time. We found our Canadian friends from earlier and spent the night out with them.

20140628-184436-67476704.jpg

20140628-184515-67515874.jpg

I believe that we will win…

USA AINT NOTHIN TO FUCK WITH

For the big game against Portugal I hung out with my Brazilian friend for the day. We went down to the dock a bit before heading down to the boardwalk. I’ll really miss our dock probably the most… 20140623-202508-73508475.jpg
After we went down to one of the more westernized sports bars. Instantly we ran into Americans. We were adopted into their table just as quickly. There was a ton of us total at the table, probably 25, and no one knew more than 2 people prior. It was neat how quickly everyone came together.

20140623-202845-73725664.jpg

20140623-202845-73725787.jpg
Most of them had already been to an American game (so jealous) and knew all the chants. So rowdy, and it was SUCH a good game. Well, more or less despite the last 30 second tie. It got to the point that locals at the restaurant started videotaping our group because of our extreme enthusiasm. We stopped at another bar up the street for more shots then went to Pelourinho (the samba night place). Well this week is “São João”. It’s a holiday to celebrate the interior and farms and do the square dance (but Brazilian samba version). So in Pelourinho they had a massive concert, hundreds of people. It was fantastic and I had such a fun time again finally.

My 3rd World Cup game!

This time it was France vs. Switzerland. 51,003 people. I didn’t get a ticket ahead of time but tried to see what I could find… Easy as pie. Got a ticket within minutes for only 45USD. OOOKAY! 20140620-194241-70961148.jpg
Due to it being in Brazil and no one giving a shit we managed to find 4 seats super close and sit together. The game was (another) blow out. 6-2. I swear I’m bad luck or the stadium is cursed. The seats we found were between all the French fans who went ALL out.

20140620-194507-71107537.jpg
It was a pretty fun game, I’m really glad we got in!

20140620-194508-71108417.jpg

20140620-194718-71238947.jpg

My second game!

Well today was weird. It was Germany vs Portugal and I went with just one of my friends. Cristiano is hawwwwwt.

First off, what I learned about Germany:
-German is absolutely nothing like the English or any of the Romance languages so I couldn’t understand squat.
-They rage, hard. Extremely fun people.
-Lastly, they’re really hot.
-I need to go to Germany.

I had a seat in the lowest bowl completely surrounded by Germans on one side and coke on the other. Coke had these kids decked out, head to literally shoe, in Coke gear. They sat on their phones almost the entire game and looked really uninterested. They did cheer once when they were given, what I presume was, free coke. I was also in the last row, people stand around the last row a lot if they have shit seats. Which means people were constantly breaking my personal space and giving me a headache. Needless to say, I’m in a WONDERFUL mood.

20140616-163524-59724042.jpg

After the game I couldn’t find the kid I went with. After being hit on by everyone from a 40 something from Minnesota to one of the workers I gave up and walked home. When I was talking to one group the one guy only knew how to say “fuck her, baby” in English. That was it. We had a great convo. Did I mention walking in there was a man who I assume was working standing up on this platform yelling into a megaphone “Linda Linda..” At girls. That means pretty/beautiful/gorgeous girl. Like, what? Anyway, out on the street there was something like a carnival going on. “Like a carnival” is the key there. There was a band playing, capoeira, guys on stilts, and a lot of strange things I didn’t understand. Like this giant robot.

20140616-164450-60290329.jpg

My first World Cup game!!!

2 teams
6 goals
48,173 fans
4 of them asked to take pictures with me
3 others tried for kisses
1 bought me a beer
Amount of fun I had? Priceless. Infinity?

(Lolol sorry I’m lame)

But really if you told me 2 years ago I would be at a sporting event alone in Brazil, jumping up and down, screaming, drinking over priced gross beer without once checking my phone or time… I would never in a million years believe you. In fact no one probably even believes me when I say “I watched the whole game”. Okay, so I admit I’m pretty bad at routing for teams, despite being in Spain colors it’s just too much fun not to cheer for every goal when you actually don’t care who wins… España vs Netherlands, they’re both great!

The stadium is less than 2 miles from our house so we just walked. Traffic was bumper to bumper, some buses even turned around, made everyone get off, and said they were going somewhere else bc it was so useless. When we got there all around the stadium plaza was different things set up by sponsors and that alone was really cool. We met a bunch of Spaniards running around with a flag with “doggie” (use your imagination, and get it in the gutter). They were hilarious and sweet though.

20140613-202209-73329681.jpg
I went with 2 other girls and we all had seats far from each other. Before you start worrying (mom) I felt COMPLETELY safe the entire time. We got to go down to the bottom at the start though and get pictures.

20140613-202011-73211908.jpg
Everything I brought was tucked away on my body but the two other girls brought purses and we were all completely fine. Seriously the whole “Brazil is dangerous” thing is really “Brazil can be dangerous if you are an idiot, don’t be an idiot.” Also the stadium was SOOO NICE. All the things you hear, at least in Salvador at Fonte Nova, are dead wrong. My seats were in fact there and the entire structure was completely finished and extremely easy to navigate.

20140613-202302-73382661.jpg

So for anyone ever going to a World Cup in the future:
1. You don’t need your ID of any sort. They barely checked the tickets whatsoever.
2. There were tons of empty seats all over and it turned into a free for all. Do whatever you want.
3. It really doesn’t matter what you wear. I saw some random shit that had nothing to do with the game.
4. If you are a white American girl, even though you’re safe, you will be hit on. A lot. Like a disgusting amount.

Which brings me to the final topic I wanted to voice my opinion about (rant): what the hell people? I thought other countries had had enough of Americans… I mean as far as our dominance on the culture of the world, our cockiness in general, and our involvement with other countries: we’re not exactly the nicest country to say the least. I would be sick of us… But no. Despite the fact that I was with two beautiful girls, Asian and Latino, I managed to receive most of the attention with my pale skin, light hair, and light eyes. As I mentioned in the beginning random men were coming up to me asking for pictures, one guy even bought me a drink. Granted I know I’m decent looking, but it was definitely because my skin. For gods sake there were signs all over the World Cup “say no to racism”. It’s the 21st century and that’s still necessary, pathetic. I didn’t realize just how precisely I look like the picture-esque American either. It’s not just white, kids from New Zealand, Australia and the UK seem to have a similar reaction when I see them out here, it’s the “USA” thing. One kid from England even tried to pretend to be an American, losing the accent to talk to me at a club. I love people of all color and cultures… I usually think they’re more beautiful in fact. I just think it’s so stupid, I’ll never be able to fully wrap my head around it.

VAI BRASIL!!!!!!!

Today the World Cup has officially begun, and it. Is. Awesome. We woke up, showered, put on our yellow, and began the day. 20140612-210735-76055939.jpg
In the residential streets there was little yellow and we were confused… And then we got downtown near the beach in Barra. We couldn’t pass a single Brazilian without them screaming BRASIL at us from about 2 on. Might I add we got caught in torrential down pour on our way there, so we were nice and damp the entire time.
FIFA has these incredible “Fan Fests” set up throughout the different home cities. It was this huge fenced in area next to the beach with a massive screen. There was super intense security, they did a metal detector check but I think it was mostly in case of riots.

20140612-210423-75863163.jpg
(That’s Nicole from our group going through.)

Once inside, it was absolutely amazing. The screen was high enough that anywhere in the massive crowd you could see the game. Plus we just had a great spot.

20140612-210726-76046582.jpg
We stayed the entire game. I can honestly say I hate almost all organized sports. If it involves running I usually don’t care. Except soccer. I was so into the game the entire time. Brazil played Croatia and Brazil winning definitely helped the atmosphere… The entire crowd had quite an aura and awesome “one-ness” about it. I didn’t see a single person not wearing something Brazil.

20140612-210936-76176346.jpg
Something that really struck me was how badly they boo’d the president. At the beginning they were showing the stadium and the players. I had goosebumps it was so amazing how lively and passionate everyone was. As soon as they showed their president though instantly Brazilians all around us boo’d and boo’d until they went right back to cheering for the players. I’m quite worried for what will happen if Brazil loses the cup at any point, I hope its never when I’m there anyway. At the same time, I want them to just so the people finally revolt hard enough that something is done about the corruption and a change is made for the better of the country.

On a lighter note, thanks to the Brazilian open container laws as usual it was also a huge drinking fest. The games are sponsored by a popular beer here so that’s all they were selling inside along with coke. I’m pretty sure coke intends on taking over the world to be honest.

20140612-211451-76491568.jpg
As amped as I am from this, I’m more excited for tomorrow. Look for me on tv during the Spain vs Netherlands game tomorrow. I’ll be the tiny dot in red in the tippy top corner.