World Cup Diary Day 2: Meeting Fuleco ticked off wishlist
Yesterday we heard about how I began my epic journey to Brazil for this summer’s World Cup. And I’m glad to say I’ve finally made it!
I’ve already come across a few interesting sights as I acclimatise to the spiritual home of football (feel free to debate that statement) with bullet-proof taxis and meeting Fuleco just two of my recent highlights.
World Cup Diary – Day 2
Landed safely in Brazil (OK, this initial ramble is still technically day one…) and the maiden queue we encounter isn’t to get into the country but rather to take the obligatory snap of the first World Cup-related object we come across, which in this case is a roll-out sign simply staying “Welcome to Brazil”.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect in terms of a greeting but it’s all very exciting.
Through to pick up our bags and Rio Ferdinand is spotted milling around. “Look, it’s Rio in Rio”, quips a fellow carousel loiterer.
22:00 – Not quite sure how to interpret this, but the first thing the driver of our car asks us to do is tap the window. “Reinforced”, he says. “Old mayor’s car”.
Let’s hope we don’t get the chance to find out how effective our friend’s protective shield can be…
08:40 – (it really is day two now) – Watching the local news over breakfast. I’m sure I’ve seen a similar report before…
After breaking the news that today is going to be another sunny day in Rio, the presenters start talking to/about what I can only describe as a cross between a parrot and a Selecao-shirt sporting signing fish.
It’s a rubber fish of course (think Billy Bass) and it can only be taken on trust that the tune it makes is supposed to resemble some kind of World Cup song.
I’ll keep an eye out for one to give away as a prize…
11:45 – Francesco, an Italian SKY journalist has just talked me through hopes and expectations back home. Interestingly, despite the English media fawning over Pirlo, the Italian fans are critical of the midfield consisting of Veratti and Pirlo, not wanting ‘the thinking men’ to play together.
As expected, Balotelli is the key and the fans believe that if he doesn’t fire on all cylinders the team are likely to flop. I told him the betting suggested they should get out of the group. His response: ‘sure, but semi final is ok, no?’. At 8/1, I’m not so sure he’ll get his wish.
13:15 – *RIP-OFF KLAXON* after being pleasantly surprised so far at the cost of essentials such as beer, caiprinhas and other less important items like water, the first hustler enters the fray, trying to sell a Copacabana number plate, with my name on it (!) for just 50 Reals, the best part of £15. You can’t blame a guy for trying though.
13:30 – Stuart Pearce seen running at pace down the Copacabana, topless. Hats off to ‘Psycho’, who is clearly keeping himself in shape. He didn’t seem to show any signs of the heat affecting him – I wonder if the England players half his age can say the same.
14:30 – FAN WATCH – so far I’ve spotted fans/media from Germany, Chile, Argentina, Columbia, Australia, America and I can now tick Costa Rica off the list after sharing the lift with two gentleman who muster up enough English to say ‘we don’t know how Costa Rica do, but we think England the least good team’ (sic).
15:30 – And the first lower league team emblazoned St George’s is spotted. The gamble on Rochdale is foiled as Huddersfield Town land the money.
17:05 – Met Fuleco. I could come home now and the trip would have been entirely worthwhile. Not sure finance would agree though.
17:45 – I’ve plenty of stories about stadia, media centres and transport hubs not being ready in time for the World Cup, but how hard is it to get a bar open and trading in time.? I’m going 6/4 they don’t pull their first pint before Brazil are knocked out, or it ends and they’ve won it. Still, the beer ought to be cold in time for the Olympics..
21:00 – News breaking now that a 24-hour airport strike is about to start across Rio’s airports. Flight to Manaus early next morning not looking good.
21:05 – Reports from Manaus suggest that for those of us lucky to get there, half the city is without electricity.
22:00 – Latest on the airport strike – 20% of the workers are going on strike. On the basis that things are already slow here, it means it will just be slightly slower.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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