Maracana at night
Brazil International Travel Trip Reports World Cup

(Fut)ballin’ in Brazil – Random Musings (Day 5)

Team Chang at Maracana
One last time unto the breach

We went to our second game today – again it was quite an experience though it was pretty similar so I won’t rehash it here. Instead, here are some random thoughts and musings about things I’ve noticed during my time here in Brazil which is regrettably coming to a close.

One note about the stadium – again everything was very secure and we felt very safe. This time we cabbed it to the stadium and there were no issues, though again we left three hours before kickoff. Although streets are blocked off they let cabs through to drop people off (or at least it seemed that way) – not directly at the stadium but by one of the nearby train stations. We did have a little issue this time – five of us were forced to throw away our “Team Chang Bachelor Party” custom made hats! What?

Supposedly the security guard thought that the hats were for sponsorships and Coca-cola, Visa, etc. do not allow that. Obviously with our lack of Portugese we weren’t able to explain that “Team Chang” is not a product for sale. A nice woman stepped in and helped translate; that helped us to get two of the hats back (out of the trash can no less) but this one security guard basically blocked us from taking the other three back out. Kinda messed up. Goodbye Team Chang hat…we hardly knew thee.

Maracana security
The last time I ever saw this hat

This leads me to another observation. I’m not sure if it’s the language barrier, the fact that they are sick of tourists, the fact that we wear stupid Team Chang Bachelor Party hats around, or what, but people have not been as friendly here as I imagined. Service is slow, I’d say 10% of the time we don’t get what we ordered, and some people sound downright rude. Now it is entirely possible I don’t understand what they are saying, but that’s what I’ve noticed. Yesterday I literally watched a waiter write the number down of something we were ordering and it never came (though we also were never charged).

But yes other tourists have been super friendly and happy, but native Brazilians not so much so – even down to simple things like smiling on the street. I don’t know, obviously it’s a small sample size, but that’s what I’ve noticed. I think it’s just surprising compared to my expectations. Though truth be told I’d be pretty grumpy if Boston was overtaken by a bunch of tourists who wear flags around all day like it’s normal.

Leaving the Maracana
How would I feel if my city looked like this?

We also ate at a Brazilian BBQ place that…tasted like the Brazilian BBQ places in the United States. If I was here with Jess we might have gone searching for something more “authentic”, or maybe the stuff in the US is authentic? I don’t know. I’ll say this – it’s definitely different traveling without my wife and I’d like to come back here someday with her.

One last outstanding issue – in terms of Cristo Redentor, you can cut like half the lines if you’re pregnant or have a baby with you or if you are old. I found myself thinking “Where’s Baby M when I need her?” when we were stuck in that huge line yesterday.

Anyway, today is my last day so I’m just going to take it easy and take in Rio for one more day. I’ll be back with some final reflections on the trip and maybe one last diary entry for my last day. Until then!

Maracana at night
The Maracana pitch at night

Other Posts in this Series

Getting Pumped, Getting Prepared

What’s in my wallet?

Travel Practicalities

Traveling Alone

Charlotte Chowdown

Finally Here! First Impressions

Match Day Impressions

Rest and Recovery

Waiting for the Big Guy

Random Musings

Fears Finally Realized on the Long Way Back

Post Trip Thoughts

Just an average joe trying to fly his family for less

7 thoughts on “(Fut)ballin’ in Brazil – Random Musings (Day 5)

  1. Reading your posts, more and more, I have the impression that you are having difficulties in grasping what Brazil is really like, I am afraid.
    You do feel safe in stadiums and tourist areas because police have been working additional hours and other police are being drafted from other cities to secure areas where tourists might be.
    In a country where homicides are in the double digit range, you can have an idea how the day to day really is; Now imagine all those areas that have had police drafted out to secure the tourists; Or care to think what it might be when these tired police working over hours, get their rest after the World Cup.
    In Natal, another city where FIFA holds its games, public transport is on strike for over two weeks – Before it was police forces and trashy collectors, I believe; Can you imagine a city where each two weeks some kind of public service is on strike.
    The city you are in, Rio de Janeiro, had yesterday Jun/25 a 4 year old child murdered by a random bullet, just one more dead among so many statistics. People still try to figure out whether the bullet might have come from the criminals or from the police, so many bullets were shot and for so long. Oh yes, trains were stopped due to riots, but for a carioca that is so usual…
    People are not sick of tourists; People start to get annoyed that tourists deserve security while the average national tax payer does not. Personally, I am fortunate to live in an area where there are tourists, so I can even stroll at night in peace; But in two weeks, after the World Cup is over, life will resume to the usual Brazilian way, so different from marketing prospects.
    Thus, I beg to differ, you are not experiencing Brazil; You are experiencing a FIFA version of Brazil. Please do not accept this comment as an invitation to visit the real Brazil, even inside Rio de Janeiro; It is not safe. Just open your mind to a broader experience so it does not look like so naive.

    1. I see, well that makes a lot more sense. I never claimed to be experiencing the real Brazil, I’m writing my impressions of my experience. Thanks for sharing yours.

      I think today’s match in Recife is a clear example of what you’re saying, the streets are flooded but the stadium is not.

      I hope your country gets the change it needs and deserves.

      1. Appreciate the prompt feedback.

        Brazil is not my country; I just happen to live here now, and have a great base for comparison having experienced different countries/cultures.

        Idea was just to send you some food for thought; Glad you appreciated and took it with a positive spin.

        Enjoy your Games.


  2. Hi, I subscribe to your blog via feedly but lately your pics show up as broken links in my feed. Just FYI. Great blog otherwise!

  3. Mothers with babies in arms (it’s usually marked as mothers, but can be either parent) also get to cut the lines at the bank, the social security office, the supermarket, and other places. All by force of law.

    Elderly people get many of the same privileges, plus they ride the bus for free in many cities.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.