This was the scene at 4:30 Tuesday afternoon between halves. A typically very busy street, deserted. And everything locked up.
The only place you actually saw evidence of habitation in this city was anywhere with a TV. People filled butecos and flowed out into the streets - which was fine, since no one was driving around anyway.
One place we walked past had a young crowd that was particularly lively and obviously enjoying all the "special edition" cans of cerveja - and lots of them. Things got even livelier as we approached and a garbage truck came rolling up. They didn't seem to be actively collecting trash, more just cruising around and getting people excited. They stopped in front of the buteco and started blowing whistles like crazy. The crowd went wild, chanting and cheering, and one girl hopped on the back of the truck with the municipal workers.
(I should also mention we weren't the only ones with funny hats and headbands - I somehow managed not to get any of those in the "crowd shots" I took though!)
Brasil scored their first GOOOOOOL of the game while we were en route back to our hotel to watch the rest of the second half. The city erupted from its quiet slumber. Fireworks, horns, yelling, the entire city made one collective roar. And I nearly jumped out of my skin when some sort of firecracker was thrown into the street right next to me - it was really, really loud!
From the moment Eric put on the hat I had picked up for him, I couldn't stop giggling when I looked his way. He reminded me of someone, but I couldn't think of whom. Halfway back from our walk it struck me: The Man With the Yellow Hat!
He was less than thrilled by my comparison. But seriously, put Gabriela in a monkey suit and the resemblance would be too obvious to deny. Hmmm...Halloween?
Brasil won their first game, 2-1. But after all the predictions of a 3-0 shutout, everyone was pretty somber post-game. They get serious about futebol here, especially World Cup Futebol! So a less-than-stellar-win might as well be a loss in their book, it seems.
Brasil, as a whole, doesn't usually strike me as an overly patriotic nation. And I don't mean that as a criticism, more just an observation after living here 2+ years. BUT, when the World Cup rolls around every 4 years, that changes completely. Everyone is flying Brasil flags from their car windows, people who normally aren't even soccer fans (yes, they do exist here) are excited about the games, businesses and high rises are covered in green and yellow streamers and flags, green and yellow clothing and paraphernalia are everywhere. I have even seen flags that translate to "I am a Brasilian, I am a champion". For two years, Brasilians often looked at me in disbelief when I talked about how much I loved it here. For two years, I was frequently disheartened by what seemed like a national inferiority complex. So it is incredible to see Brasil so excited, so patriotic, and I feel incredibly lucky to get to be here for at least part of it and experience it firsthand. I can only imagine what it's going to be like when the games are hosted here in 2014!
Our trip has been extended an extra week, as Eric still has a lot going on here work-wise. The best part of that extension (not including 7 extra days of my breakfast being prepared for me each morning and 7 more opportunities to visit my favorite ice cream shop)? We'll be here for another game!