So it's all over! In case this blog is your only source of information on Brazil (please please diversify a bit if this is the case!), the country is no longer in the running for the world cup, and was defeated by the Netherlands yesterday. A commenter asked me to provide some perspective on the general mood of Brazilians here...
Yesterday when the game ended I was on the beach in Leblon, having watched the first half at home. Firecrackers went off signaling the end of the game, which I was keeping up with in real time on my blackberry.
Rio went quiet. Traffic slowly increased but the normal horns and hubbub where nowhere to be seen or heard. A group of fans dressed in yellow and green huddled closely together and slowly meandered up and down the promenade quietly. Mr. DRL and I were out and about last night and people were out, many still in jerseys, but it was generally quite quiet. Click here for a gallery of raw emotion on Copacabana.
As far as answering the question about who's to blame? This is kind of funny. Well, everyone from Paulo Coelho to my nanny is blaming Mick Jagger. Yes, you read that right. He professed his support for the USA, then England, then Brazil. Many Brazilians are blaming him. And also now asking him to throw his support behind Argentina. Even OGlobo is reporting on the Jagger jinx. It's apparently one of the biggest topics on Twitter right now too.
Taking the heat off the rolling stone, Dunga, Brazil's coach, says the biggest responsibility for the loss falls on himself.
A conspiracy theory also exists, well, at least in the taxi we were in - our driver last night had another theory about the root cause of
yesterday's loss. He claims that he has proof from ITAU (a bank in
Brazil) that the Brazilian players were paid to throw the game. Ok then.
So what happens now? According to my baba, many Brazilians will now cheer for Germany.
Sadly, the Dutch Consulate was attacked by some misguided disappointed fans after the game yesterday, and the consul himself was injured on the hand by an explosive. Disgusting. He is obviously quite a big person though and is downplaying the incident, which you can read about here.
As a quick aside and follow up to yesterday's post about the commercial side of World Cup - I found this article online and had to laugh at the quote about business declining by 50% during games where Brazil is playing. Um, 50%? Really? Because I could have sworn it would be more like 100%. Literally everything shuts down. It should not come as a surprise to these business owners... you can't make money if your doors are closed, people!
Good news, funny news, sad news, silly news aside, what it all comes down to for me.... Though it would have been wonderful to experience Brazil winning the world cup here, it was fun while it lasted and inspiring to witness the passion of the people and their love for the game. It will now make it all the more sweet for Brazil to win in 2014 on home turf.
I've mentioned how the streets are empty during world cup games. It's not just the streets, it's also the bars. I remember before I moved here, reading up on Brazil and its inhabitants, reading somewhere that as a foreigner or tourist if you were to ask a Brazilian where would be a good place to watch a big futebol match they'd shrug and suggest the bar of your hotel or hotel room. This now makes sense to me - I think the vast majority watch these games at home. Even many of the botecos (pubs) are closed during games. This shocks me! Yet you see people crowded around tiny TV sets in newsstands or those little hole-in-the wall lanchonettes. There is a TV set to the right above the stand of magazines in this shot:
Not that it's somewhere I'd think people would watch the game, but McDonald's is even closed during games.
But, then again what do I know? Apparently the post office is a popular place to watch games. But like I told you, during BRAZIL games, it's closed. Blurry pic but you can see the TV behind the counter.
I suppose that my mindset from when I was a bartender/server hasn't changed - back home an event of this scale would mean mad money. But not if everyone's staying home!
Some companies have capitalized on world cup, Havaianas and Ralph Lauren are two examples that come to mind. Both have product representing a variety of countries - way to pick up more business! Brilliant, I'd say...
The Canadoca's "GRAMS" took care of her on Tuesday so that Mr. DRL and I could take in the Brazil vs. N. Korea game on Copacabana at the FIFA Fan Fest. Mr. DRL arrived about an hour before game time and got in no problem. I arrived slightly later and friends of ours who had arrived ahead of me set up shop on the beach, so I joined them.
I left my apartment about five minutes after the game began. I can't explain the silence and tension in the city. There was no one on the street. No traffic. Stores were closed. Establishments serving those watching the game were the only ones open, and for those first minutes at least, everything was still within those I passed. It was emotional; I felt like crying! I'm not really into futebol, but I am really into experiencing this.
When I arrived on Copa, there were thousands of people. Watching the game. Pretty much silently (though the speakers were BLARING), and the yellow, green and blue crowd was sooooo still.
Watching on the outside of the Copa FIFA Fan Fest is awesome. You can get chairs from vendors, beer from vendors, watch the crowd, take a swim... although I hear they have KONI in there...
Mr. DRL left the Fanfest at half-time to join us. It took him awhile, and the second half had started by the time he made it near where we were. You'd think in a crowd so huge it would have taken forever to find him but when he was the ONLY person moving, it didn't. Crazy.
There was a bit of ruckus to report - during the half-time break, a big crowd of screaming people came running towards us - we kind of backed away but really didn't know what was going on or what to do. Then a Brazilian fellow who was behind us said it was just a fight and we saw loads of police heading into the center of the crowd. Mr. DRL happened to be on the other side of the giant crowd at the time when the police pulled out a kid with a gun... we're assuming the incidents were one and the same.
As much as Rio gets a reputation, really this could happen anywhere. Inside the Fan Fest, there is security preventing such incidents.
Of course, in the second half, the game and crowd got very exciting with the two goals Brazil scored!
I will post many, many items on world cup, just need to get organized... I will post about the special edition world cup Gilette razor, the special edition world cup pringles, the M&M's. The Brazil colored streamers hanging from nearly every building, the Brazil-flag covered VW bug, the painted faces. The fact that Mr. DRL and the rest of Rio's business community get extra time off to watch Brazil's games. The fireworks and how on earth I am going to get the Canadoca to sleep when on a normal day here in "quiet Leblon" we have three noise makers (one on rain, one on babbling brook, one on ocean waves, all on full blast) and an air conditioner going to get her to sleep. So far, so good ;) But Brazil hasn't played yet!
But what an energy in the city - something to unite everyone - it's amazing. So grateful to be here to experience it.