We have reached the final week of World Cup 2014. Are you at the edge of your seats wondering whether Brasil will triumph over Germany? Or are you, like me, just waiting for The Netherlands to win during penalty kicks after a grueling 120 minutes of play that yields a thrilling 0-0 tie? Perhaps you’re waiting for the rumored coin toss (the one that makes the final determination after the penalty kicks fail to determine a victor) to end the whole 2014 tournament? But soccer! How the WHOLE WORLD loves soccer. Except… a casual observation that World Cup tourists are, with few exceptions, men. Flag-wearing, beer drinking, responsibility shirking, hypermobile men.
And when the stadium crowd is zoomed in on, we inevitably see women (a tumblr please?). For some critiques of the Cup, including who actually is able to attend games, see UBC geography grad student Carolyn Prouse’s blog.
But seriously, I’ll be sad to not have soccer interrupt my day. Nate and I casually watched many games, whether by popping into corner lunchonetes to check the score, or by having the afternoon game on as we worked at the kitchen table. We also seriously settled in for a good number of games, arriving atleast an hour early to bars to watch more popular games, Nate decked out in one of his many knock-off jerseys. We watched the first game between Brasil and Croatia in the outdoor plaza in Santa Cecelia on a tv fit for a modest living room. Eager fans honked noise makers (see lower right) at every possible moment, manifesting energy for their team and drowning out any narration, which was, of course, in Portuguese.
Brasil v. Croatia–Can you see the screen?
We also went to the FIFA Fan Fest in São Paulo and weeks landed at Recife’s Fan Fest (post soon) almost by accident for the USA final game.
São Paulo Fan Fest
The last three weeks have also been marked by the presence of a rotating cast of World Cup AirBNB visitors who are also renting the place we’re living in. Johnathon, Sean and The Paul’s were all from England. Unpronounceable H from Croatia slept on the couch for a few days, and Gregory from Russia is now living at Nate’s former house with Clueza. Two men from India, and a third unrelated guest, also from India came at the same time that our host, Angela came back from Rio for a few days. The house was bursting with humans (2+1+2+2=full house). Without fail, atleast one male guest in the apartment wore an intolerable amount of Axe body spray and left the toilet seat up. Despite my distaste for being the only female guest, these visitors made the house more lively and fun: beer and soccer in the middle of the day, and an education in World Cup lingo, players and game statistics.
As a relief from all the soccer matches (atleast for me), we’ve gone to a few museums, and took a day trip to Embu das Artes which was a 45 minutes bus ride from the center city. In Ibuerapuerra Park we went to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC) where we saw Transarquitetônica. I took about 1000 pictures until I got disoriented and realized Nate had likely emerged from the exhibit hours ago.
We also went to the Museum of AfroBrasil, the Museum of Sacred Art and the Estacao Pinoteca, which houses a history of the dictatorship alongside art exhibits. At the weekly Bolivian fare, we we ate soup-filled empanada-like pastries, bought Nate a Corinthians jacket and watched these dancers.
In between 1PM and 4PM games at the São Paulo Fan Fest, we managed to go to the top of the Martinelli Building and catch this view of the city. SP stretches in all directions, with highrise towers miles out from center city and mountains at the far far reaches of what the eye can see.
And finally, a photo of an early morning ride on the Minhocão. We woke up a few Sundays ago to hundreds upon hundreds of skateboarders taking over the road below the Minhocão with their weekend leisure ride. Minutes later they reversed course, turning onto the Minhocão for their ride back to Praça Roosevelt where they normally skate. Imagine a hovering helicopter, or thousands of tiny wheels on pavement and you’ll have the curious buzzing sound just right.