Tuesday, June 15, 2010

We woke up relatively early, as it must have been habit now. We got breakfast at the restaurant on the 5th floor, bringing back happy memories when we saw it. After breakfast, we went to get some money from the ATM. It was humorous to see that the bank itself would be closing down at 1:30 so that everyone could go home to watch the Brazil game.

We walked over to Ipanema to a bar we visited in 2008, Garota de Ipanema, to watch the Portugal-Ivory Coast match. They technically weren't open until 11:30, but since it was already 11:00 and we didn't want any food (and they were watching the match too), they let us in. Shortly before they "opened," all the employees sat down to a big table to eat together, which looked like a nice practice. Their food also looked good - a huge helping of meat and potatoes.

The Portugal-Ivory Coast match was good, but there was no scoring. We had planned to stay there for the Brazil match, but the place wasn't that busy, so we walked back to our hotel. We saw that the hotel was hosting an event for the game, and we checked out the 5th floor, but it didn't look so fun. Then we went up to the roof, but that didn't seem to have a good vibe either. From the roof, however, we could see the FIFA Fan Fest, and it looked really lively, even 90 minutes before game time.

We decided to try out the FIFA Fan Fest, and there were several thousand people there. We couldn't understand anything (our Spanish, while poor, is much better than our Portuguese), but that probably made it much more interesting. At least half the people had yellow jerseys of their favorite player. The crowd seemed excited, but also antsy. Once the game started, not much happened. North Korea was playing good defense, and Brazil couldn't manage to score. There were some close calls, but no scoring in the 1st half.

While we were enjoying the vibe of being with 5000 other fans, our feet and backs were tired of us standing, so we went back to the roof on our hotel. It was easy to cross the street. Despite being one of the busiest streets in Rio, there was literally no one driving on it. From the roof, we had a really good view of the screen at the Fan Zone, and could even hear everything. The second half was very entertaining - Brazil scored twice, and the place went crazy each time, with lots of cheering, horns, and fireworks.

Once the game ended, the real party began. Surprsingly to us, the game itself was apparently was just a prelude. It would be as if everyone in the US went out after a Super Bowl party to a much bigger, much louder, after-party. A samba circle broke out on the sidewalk right across from our room, and soon there were hundreds of people around it. Also, the Fan Zone had a concert after the game, and people who didn't even watch the game there came to watch the concert.

The game ended at 5:30, and the partying went on until around 10pm. In the room, we watched a little bit of "6th Day," but left halfway through when our stomachs told us we were hungry. We wandered around looking for a place, and ended up at a place called Informal. It was pretty good considering we were walking around aimlessly. After dinner, we just back to the room and crashed.