Yes, that is the look of pent up joy. Waiting to exhale. Something's gotta give. The notebook. All of which are movies that you can watch, that will put the same look on your face.
I've said it before, I'll say it again! WHAT A GAME! As you may already know the US lost to Germany with a respectable score of 1-0. The soccer pitch was wet, the air was thick, and the arena was filled with tens of thousands of cheering fans from all around the world. My seat at this game was a category 3, which usually puts you in the upper section in most other arenas but here, I was 10 rows back, behind the goal, in the German section? No way. I was in the Portugual cheering section last game with only 3 Americans. So after some contemplation, another American and I decided to move to the AO (American Outlaws) cheering section on the opposing side. You guys asked for me to cheer loud @jack crane, I cheered louder! Standing the whole time, shouting for the team to get a goal! After 2 close chances in stoppage time, USA had qualified 2nd out of the group, advancing them to the round of 16 versus Belgium taking place today, July 1 at 5pm local time, 4 pm est.
So more details about this leg of my trip, where do I begin? On this day, a Sunday in Brazil. 630am: Breakfast at this lovely beachfront hotel in Joao Pessao, 2 hours north of the city Recife where the USA vs Germany match takes place at 1pm local time. 7am: my friends, who I met at breakfast the day before, were to leave headed south to the arena. I had met this couple, Aaron and Melissa, who were from Cerritos, practically neighbors! Super super cool people. Shoutout to Melissa, belated Happy Birthday! I had told them that I was planning to rent a car to head down to the match, but they offered to ride down with them. I am so fortunate to have them take me along for the ride down. We had took 2 cars to the match, met up with another group mixed with Brazilians and 2 Germans. The rain was relentless, pouring at times. On the way there, I had realized what kind of civil engineering this city was lacking, that could have been fixed with the FIFA funding. The streets were scattered with potholes where water has collected. Intersections that connected to busy highways were flooded. That day, it took us a solid 5 hours to arrive to the stadium parking lot, which has also not been completed. It's like in the middle of the construction, they just said 'fuck it. Big props to Aaron for driving the entire trip, in the rain, in a 5 speed Fiat, with 3 Americans, a Brazilian, and a cheeky German, Dieter. What an awesome road trip, despite all the rain, traffic and detours.
On the the hashtag part. So Rio. I had originally planned to finish the rest of my trip in Brazil in Joao Pessoa with the intent of training jiu jitsu like I had done in Rio. But the town I was in was not like Rio. There weren't many things within walking distance of eachother like places to eat, or being able to watch World Cup matches at every corner. I wanted to go back. So I moved my flight to get back to Rio on Fiday, leaving me an extra 5 days in Brazil. Best decision I've made since leaving for Brazil. Friday was ideal to travel because there were no games that day, setting up to the next day, the round of 16. On Saturday, I had reconnected with some other cool people I met in Manaus, from California. We watched the Brazil vs Chile match outside the Fan Fest, which was a packed house. 20k inside the gates and probably another 5 in the general beach vicinity. The game went past extra time, into a shoot out. Now, could you have imagined the pandemonium of a loss to the host country? We sure hoped not. Instead, Brazil was able to celebrate a shoot out victory to move on to the quarter finals versus Columbia. In my return to Copacabana, I could rejoice by having Starbucks for the first time in over a week! Places to eat at every corner, the city still bustling with World Cup fans, the amazing beach and weather, saudade Rio.
To wrap things up, Rio, is amazing. Brazil, your people are amazing. USA takes on Belgium, where I'll be watching at the Fan Fest on the beach. Hopefully celebrating a win! Cheers. Obridado, valeu.