Friday, June 18, 2010

World Cup and The Man With the Yellow Hat

Tuesday at 3:30 pm was Brasil's first game in the 2010 World Cup. We were over the top excited that we could be here for it!

Wouldn't you know, just one picture of all of us...and Gabs has her eyes closed!

Everything, with the exception of some restaurants/butecos where you could watch the game, shut down by 2:30 on Tuesday. With regards to Eric's work, the plant stopped the assembly line, the proving grounds stopped operations, everyone everywhere was sent home. I, for one, was not against my hubby being "home" 8 hours earlier than usual! We decided to watch the game in our hotel room, but go out for a walk after the first half and see what was happening. There was lots of horn blowing, whistles, yelling and general craziness before the game, but by 3:30 a rare silence fell over the city while everyone watched.

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.

And then, without warning, the truck driver took off at his usual lightening fast speed. With the girl still on the back! Her friends hollered and cheered and laughed, and all she could do was hang on and wave as the truck sped out of sight. (The truck eventually must have stopped and she got off, as we passed her walking back several minutes and several blocks later.)

(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!


Fruit said...

It's complicated to be brazilian and to love Brazil. I'm suprised that you don't find brazilians patriotic :).
I always hear the contrary from foreigners, it depends on each experience I suppose :)
I love Brasil and I'm *very* (with capital V) proud of being brazilian but I had serious thoughts of leaving Brazil to live in a 'better' place, where things were less complicated, an easier and cheaper life, honest politicians, better distribution of whealth, less violence and so on. This complex of inferiority happens because we are aware of such problems in our country compared to developed countries. And we are ashamed of some #brazilianfails like funk, prostitutes, transvestites (ahaha), corruption everywhere, the government, poverty etc. Sometimes we fail to see our good side. Until we leave Brazil and miss everything that makes it so unique. Like caldinho de feijão, cerveja and cheese on a stick at the beach with friends.
Yeah, brazilians love Brasil make no mistake, they just love complaining and not taking action to solve the problems. I know few brazilians who wouldn't declare their love for Brazil after listing 30 reasons why Brasil suck. Serious, its part of who we are and how we love ahah. LOVE the picture of you guys. Welcome back to Brazil, you guys look awesome! Congrats for bebê dois!

Bruno said...

Emily, I think you were very accurate about patriotism in Brazil. I'm glad you have another week in the city, you'll be able to see 2 others matches hehehe I do think it's a very special moment to be in Brazil, during the World Cup.

Justin said...

It was 2006 when I spent the summer in Brazil, so of course that was right in the middle of the last World Cup. When someone asked what my first impressions of Brazil were, she was shocked to hear that I found them to be a very proud and patriotic nation. I explained how impressed I was by all the Brazilian flags everywhere and the swarms of green and yellow t-shirts in every street. She just laughed and told me that Brazilians were much prouder of their football team than of their country :)