With the first third of the World Cup 2014 behind us, it’s time to review the World Cup in Brazil. Not in terms of football (I’m not interested in football), but in terms of how the foreign visitor is experiencing Brazil and above all how the Brazilian is experiencing the foreign football fan.
Apparently the infrastructure problems in the host-cities and the failures in the organization of the FIFA do not overshadow the joyous experience of the football fans, who clearly enjoy the sometimes spectacular football shows. Above all it’s a pleasure to see the unification of the Latin American people via football, an integration that the politicians never were able to realise. The brazuca, the various flags and the hymns thrill and unify the Latin-American fans.
It is a delight to see the performances of the national teams from the Latin-American region. Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico and Uruguay will advance in the tournament (Ecuador is still a question mark), with the support of the fans, who feel at home. And the best of all is that the Brazilian finally starts to know and value his neighbours, the “hermanos”.
The Brazilian football fan might be disappointed with the performance of his national team, as according to an “energy consumption analysis”, he is switching off his TV-set even before the football match is finished, but the foreign football fan is enjoying his stay in Brazil enormously.
UOL Sport listed some examples of football fans of who Brazil can be proud that their country is participating in this World Cup. However, not everything is perfect and there are those who just came to disrupt the event. So UOL also listed some bad examples.
We start with the bad ones, who we like seeing to leave the country asap.
The English demolition activity
The English team lost their opening match of the World Cup, played in the Amazon Arena against Italy by 2-1. However the English didn’t lose the opportunity to vandalise the stadium in Manaus at the time that their team marked its only goal. The “euphoria” of the English completely demolished the handrails of the bleachers in sector 127 of the arena, the area occupied by the English crowd.
With a further defeat against Uruguay, fortunately, the English are kicked out of the competition, so that (hopefully) with their return to England no further demolition of stadiums and host-cities will occur. This type of football fan doesn’t belong in Brazil during this World Cup.
In its opening match in the Arena Fonte Nova, Spain lost with a whipping 5-1 to the Netherlands. Much of the Brazilian fans in the stands cheered the result. The heavy defeat of the Spanish debut in this World Cup sparked various pranks by the Brazilians, which angered the supporters of Spain. On the social networks, several residents of the European country made racist comments.
“These Brazilian monkeys, as you know, have nothing to do, but rejoicing in the defeat of Spain and make ‘ola’, poor people”, wrote one supporter. “Brazilian Monkeys, which starve the rest of their life”, said another.
Well, it’s good to know that with their second loss now against Chile, Spain can pack and leave the country. Good riddance!
Luckily there are also some very positive examples. The Japanese football fan is the absolute top.
The Japanese give an example
The Japanese were in the Pernambuco Arena for the opening game of Japan against Ivory Coast and made sure to leave the stadium bleachers free of trash after departure.
The blue bags that could be seen with the Japanese who were cheering for their national team during the game were used to collect garbage left on their side of the stadium after the defeat of Japan by 2-1.
Of course this, in the eyes of the Brazilian. curious and unknown behaviour attracted comments in newspapers and on blogs. Not ridiculing the Japanese, but putting the Brazilian in his place, as the Brazilian newspapers and blogs were the next day full of admiration and self-critique with a variety of cartoons.
The Germans imitated the Japanese
Two days after the Nipponese good example, the Germans staged a similar scene, but at the beach of Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro. After enjoying their beach party, the hundreds of German football fans gathered cups and took everything to the waste bin. They took their own glasses and also the ones of other people, encouraging others to do the same.
All those foreign football fans didn’t only arrive by air, but also in hilarious cars and buses that came from afar, sometimes after having covered thousands of miles to see the World Cup in Brazil.
For those who like cars, the influx of motorised foreigners to see the World Cup in Brazil is an opportunity to see exotic and eccentric models on the streets.
The Argentinian “El Arca de Moisés”
The Argentinians were the most numerous in Rio, waiting for the match against Bosnia, held last Sunday at the Maracanã Stadium. With them came motorhomes of all types: expensive, modern or improvised “trapizongas” (A Trapizonga is an old rustic antique machine made from wood with various parts made from stone). Among the passenger cars in Copacabana, there were the rolling anachronisms like the Fiat 600 or the Ford Falcon, remembrances of the “summer invasions” in the early 80s.
The Argentinian merchant Mosés Burat, 31, is the captain of the “El Arca de Moisés” (The Ark of Moses), a Mercedes-Benz LO-911, year 1968 manufactured in Argentina. Originally a city bus, the vehicle was already converted to motorhome when it was bought three months ago.
Aboard this “house-on-wheels” eight friends left the town of Mendoza in Argentina on June 7 and arrived in Rio just six days later, just in time to join the thousands of Argentinians who ‘conquered’ the Avenida Atlântica.
– We came without entry tickets and have to see what will happen – accounts Mosés.
A climate of uncertainty
A climate of uncertainty haunts a party of tourists who are staying in Leme in Rio de Janeiro. Since the kick-off for the World Cup, the waterfront neighbourhood turned into a makeshift parking lot for dozens of cars, vans, buses and motorhomes, most with Argentinian, Chilean and Mexican plates. Tourists were converting the streets in housing areas whose backyards are the sidewalk. They are indifferent to the traffic offences they were committing. Last Wednesday, a group of 26 Chileans, camping in an auto-bus, revolted when spoken to by a municipal guard. They said they would not leave the place, because they had paid BRL 200 (100 USD) to a military police officer and a parking official accredited by Embrapark, who offered the parking spot for five days.
– When we arrived, a young woman from the parking lot took us to a police officer, who asked us BRL 200 (100 USD.) Till now, we felt relaxed, because we paid whatever they charged us. If you don’t have the ability to receive people, then don’t organise a World Cup. Do we need to stay at the border now? – fired back the Chilean, without realizing that in fact it was a bribe.
Another group of Chileans did a better job.
The Chilean caravan
The previous days Chileans occupied Rio waiting for the football match against Spain at the Maracanã Stadium. A caravan of 800 (!) motorbikes, cars, motorhomes and trucks coming from Santiago brought 3,000 Chilean football fans.
Alberto Schmidt came to the World Cup with his wife and daughter. Afraid to make the trip alone, he created a page on Facebook. There, tens, hundreds and eventually thousands of people confirmed their interest.
– I thought it would be, at most, ten cars – confesses the organiser.
The caravan left Santiago on June 7 towards Cuiabá, for the match against Australia. On the 14th, the train of vehicles went into the direction of Rio. Space for so many people? Only on the pasture of a farm in Itaboraí.
The next destination of the caravan is Sâo Paulo, for the match against Holland. From there, the idea is to return to Santiago. That is, of course, if Chile isn’t advancing to the second round.
The French and “A Cup of World”
Even more impressive is the perseverance of two Frenchmen Eric Carpentier and Pierre Pitoiset. They participate in the organization “A Cup of World”, which promotes an alternative vision on playing football and launched a sociological project: driving from Canada to Brazil, and while underway, playing football daily along the road, recording on video the influence of football in the Americas.
For the trip, they chose a simple Citroën 2CV painted like a football. Its little engine with two cylinders and 602cm³ withstood the trip well, but the chassis bent when the car hit at high speed a speed bump in Peru.
No parts or workshops were available and it appeared that the journey would end there. But the French duo made it to Chile by fixing the steering column with a rope. In the region of Coquimbo in Chile, the local club of “Citroën fans” provided a reform in record time. From then on it was non-stop driving for 52 hours, crossing the Andes and northern Argentina to enter Brazil via São Borja in Rio Grande do Sul, arriving exactly 13 minutes before the opening game of the tournament.
In Porto Alegre, they could not obtain entry tickets for France x Honduras, but plan to be in Rio in time for the match against Ecuador on June 25.
– And, hopefully for the final at the Maracanã! – Eric said.
The Dutch Invasion
There are Europeans who brought their own land transport by shipping them to Brazil. This is the case of an English Bristol VR bus, year 1979, which turned coat and today is driven around painted in swirling orange carrying fans from the Netherlands. It is a veteran in the world of the World Cup, as it has already led the Dutch fans to the Cup in Germany (2006) and the one in South Africa (2010).
Landed in Rio, the double-decker bus took the group “Oranje Fans” to Salvador to the landslide victory over Spain. The next destination is São Paulo.
Other Dutchmen organized the rally “Oranje Trophy”, especially for the World Cup. There are 29 teams with modern big-trail motorcycles, vans and Opel and Mercedes models from the 70s.
The Dutch shipped the vehicles from the Netherlands to the port of New York. From there, they departed on March 23 bound for Brazil. That was already 25,000 km with stints in Salvador and Rio.
In Salvador, last week, was another Dutchman, Ben Oude Kamphuis, a therapist living in California, who came from there driving a Chevrolet 1955 pickup.
Four years ago, Spanish and Dutch fans met at the Soccer City stadium in South Africa which match was won by Spain with 1-0 in overtime and Spain won the World Cup. Among the fans, no resentment. The reunion took place on Friday in Pelourinho, in Salvador da Bahia.
The Dutch are known for their taste for parties and organization. The morning of the match against Spain at 09am traditional music of their country began in Pelourinho in the historic centre of the town and echoed throughout the region. Besides the Dutch and the local Bahians, the Spaniards were coming too. Around 11am, the Afro-Brazilian group Olodum took the stage. The party began in earnest.
The Bahiana Antonia Sá da Silva, 75, was passing. She heard the music stopped and soon had already received an orange Dutch scarf as present from the visitors. “They are too kind. Look here, it’s beautiful. It’s nice to see happy people”, she said as she walked home.
An estimated 3,000 football fans from the Netherlands were in the city for the match against Spain, reliving the final of the World Cup 2010 in South Africa.
Spanish medic Sergio Losa, 34, says that the overwhelming presence of Dutch fans over the Spanish, is due, among other things, to the economic crisis experienced in his country. Few of them circulated through the historical centre this morning.
“They (the Dutch) are very organized and know how to make from football a party. Here we are in the minority and it is beautiful to see them as well. It’s a very relaxed people. In South Africa it was the same”, he said.
And what about the non-motorised football fans?
The Lounge in Bus Terminal Novo Rio welcomes tourists
Brazilians and foreign tourists alike, who for whatever reason failed to arrange an accommodation in one of Rio hotels are not incapacitated. The first floor of the Novo Rio bus station, the area where passengers wait for the scheduled departure time now also serves as a place for tourists to sleep.
A carpet similar to synthetic grass and colourful cushions accommodate families and groups during the day and especially at night. A 60-inch TV, to display the Cup matches, was also installed at the site. In the early hours of Thursday, the space was too small. At least 60 people vied for a place in the lounge, while other groups scattered on the floor of the lounge in the bus station.
Chilean cousins Manuel Aravena, 24, and Felipe Adolfo, 22, arrived at the terminal at 1pm. They discovered the place, when they were buying tickets to Paraty, on the afternoon of Wednesday. After watching the match between Chile and Spain at the Arena FIFA Fan Fest in Copacabana, they tried to find an accommodation in the neighbourhood, but found it difficult because there were no places available or because the prices were above their budget.
– We visited some hotels in Copacabana, but they are very expensive. The rain also upset us, because we could not walk to look elsewhere. So, I remembered this place and we decided to come here as regarding to safety, we knew that we shouldn’t have problems – said Manoel.
He and his cousin embarked to Paraty at 21h on Thursday. He told that before departing, they already had scheduled a visit to Christ the Redeemer.
The movement of passengers in the Bus Terminal Novo Rio is intense during the World Cup, with an average of 45,500 passengers per day during this period. Tourists who came to Rio for the World Cup also enjoy other destinations such as the Lake District, South Fluminense and especially the Mountain Region (Região Serrana), according to a research released by the Brazilian Association of the Hotel Industry in Rio de Janeiro (ABIH-RJ).
According to the document, Teresópolis recorded almost 100% reservations, followed by Petrópolis, with 95%. The third most popular option was Nova Friburgo, with 80% of reservations. In the cities the neighbourhoods of Conservatória, Barra do Piraí and the area of South Fluminense, recorded a occupancy above 90%. There, the festivities of São Joâo (St. John) also were attracting tourists.
To close this happy review: What the tourist didn’t get to see. Just to bring you back to reality: