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.
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.
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!
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