Wednesday, June 18, 2014

So much fun - São Paulo

My footwear for the World Cup

So we are 6 days into the World Cup and I'm having a great time. I haven't been to a stadium and some of the games have been snoozers but it is way more fun that I had imagined. As I've mentioned before, I have been to one World Cup (South Africa-2010) and living near another one (San Francisco, USA-94) but there is nothing like being in the middle of Brazil during these days.

One of the groups I joined first in moving here 6 years ago is the International Newcomers Club of São Paulo. I am no longer a newcomer, but I'm still part of the club. Most of my non-Brazilian friendships originated in INC and on Monday, I joined a Canadian, a Scot and some Germans at the Goethe Institute in Pinheiros. Goethe is a school and an institute and some other lofty things but the main joy for us on Monday: they have a bier garten. And TVs to show the game. And lots of tall blond people about.

Bier garten

The Scot and I showed up about 45 minutes before the game and most tables near the TVs were already taken. We then spread out to save seven spots for our arriving friends (I will say that traffic has been a lot worse than expected on game days). And drank our first beers. There was also food there: currywurst (?), a lunch buffet, french fries but we ended up not getting any ourselves.

Frankfurter...I love that word. So much more fun than a hot dog.

There were a number of media outlets there interviewing  Germans about their predictions for the Cup. I am not a Germany fan. I am not "against" Germany either--a genealogy test two years ago revealed that I'm about 35% German origin so blood says I need to be at least neutral. I was there because I wanted to see the fun of the "home" team. And maybe have a few beers.

Two media folks wished to interview me (and the Scot) -- I have dark blonde hair and blue eyes and that seemed to be a clear giveaway that I am German. One journalist asked if I would do an interview even after hearing that I am American. I respectfully declined, thinking that it would be better to just be neutral under the circumstances. I admit I did go get the free Germany-Brazil t-shirt at the front door so as to fit in like a chameleon. 

I won't do a play-by-play of the match which was so kind as to provide lots of opportunities to jump up and down and yell "Deutschland vor!" I really love the sound of German but I quickly found myself incompetent at pronouncing anything. I even tried the language accelerator known as "more beer." Nicht.  

I hope I'll be able to attend more games with the "home" teams--what fun! No, not the USA which I prefer to watch at home, and Brazil which of course is THE home team. I mean Cote d'Ivoire and Costa Rica and France, and some of the little teams. Where are those fans? Let me know. 

Tomorrow we drive to Ouro Preto for the Corpus Cristi holiday (4 day weekend).  On Saturday, we are in Belo Horizonte for the only game that we are seeing live--Argentina vs. Iran. BH will suffer. He cannot cheer for Argentina and Iran is not one to cheer for either. We'll go in neutral colors and take our two kids (age 7) in Messi shirts for camouflage. Messi is one of the twins' heroes so he is simply over the moon at the chance to see him play.  The other twin is likely to nap during the game.

We'll deal with the 8 hours of driving, the long lines, the security checks and everything else so that the World Cup becomes real for our sons. And for BH's father, who at age 75 will see a World Cup game live for the very first time on home turf--he was only slightly older than the twins the last time the World Cup was in Brazil. 

Good times. Vai Brasil!


  1. That's the one thing that will bother me if Brazil wins the World Cup: not being there to enjoy the party. But, given the way they played last night, that might not be an issue... Fingers crossed!

    1. My concern is that Brazil goes out early. That's when I think we'll have major protests again. BH spent the whole game yelling at Paulinho and Fred and saying someone was playing on the wrong side or something. I understand little of the game, but the Mexican goalie was pretty incredible. There were a couple of very good chances but a man named Ochoa in the way...