So yesterday I praised the Metro system here in Brazil. Today I come to bury it. Yesterday it was a model of efficiency, today it was a confusing mess.
We started to morning at the engrossing Museum do Futebol. Brazil is futebol and their museum of Brazilian futebol history was a stunning tour from the past to the present. We viewed some of the great moments in Brazilian futebol history and some of the most heartbreaking. While most of the material was in our linguistic nemesis Portuguese it was very awe inspiring to see the history of the sport I love displayed in this manner. I even nailed a video penalty kick. Yes, I can still place them in the bottom left corner with ease.
From there we decided to head to today’s Fan Fest. That’s when the drama started.
First, we couldn’t get a taxi to take us to the nearest subway stop. See traffic is so horrendous here that taxi drivers turn down fares to avoid being stuck in traffic. They’ll actually find a spot to sit and wait out the daily traffic. That meant we had to find a way to get the subway. We also had to figure out which stop would get us where we need to go.
Using our thirteen words of Portuguese we were directed from the museum to the subway. We were told it’s not a far away walk by a taxi driver hiding from traffic. Well he lied. Sort of. It wasn’t a far walk if you didn’t account for the hills and the traffic obstacles. The hills were crazy and the drivers really don’t care for pedestrians much less semi lost foreigner pedestrians. In fairness to São Paulo taxi drivers, traffic was bumper to bumper for several portions of our hike. Actually, we twice passed a bus that was slowly working it’s way through traffic.
We finally made it to the station. Our efficient ride of yesterday turned into a mess of humanity trying to get to Fan Fest. You see today Brazil was playing Mexico. Every citizen of São Paulo was making their way too Fan Fest. Crowded train one passed us. Crowded train two passed without us getting any closer to the door of the train. Train three zipped by without the Scott boys but at least we made it to the front of the line. Finally we made it onto a train and down to Fan Fest.
We got off the train in our butterfly yellow Brazil jerseys ready to cheer on our adopted team, the Seleçao, as the Brazilian team is know here only to be greeted by a wall of police officers. Nobody else was entering Fan Fest. Everywhere we turned fans dressed in similar yellow jersey poked and prodded the perimeter of the Fan Fest area with no luck. Fortunately, we were able to navigate our way to a bar that was showing the game.
If you don’t know futebol is the religion of Brazil. Yellow-clad Brazilians of all stripes party to the rhythms of futebol here. I saw a three year old girl blast the TV with a stream of curse words at a Brazilian player’s error during today’s match. Brazilians love this game. Along with our fellow Brazil fans we jumped, sang and bounced with every shot and near miss. Unfortunately, the game ended in a draw. That did little to dampen the party though. Brazilians are a warm and friendly people so the festive air continued even though people were disappointed with the result of the match.
Speaking of warm and friendly, PDA is really part of the culture here in São Paulo. Everywhere you turn you see couples that are linked so tightly that they appear to melt into one being. It doesn’t matter if the couple is gay, straight or lesbian, nothing stops the PDA. Couples make out without any concern to what’s going on around them. A few times I was concerned that couples would start having sex right in front of us. That’s how passionate the expressions of love are here. It’s a little disconcerting for my somewhat American sensibilities.
Anyway once with made our way to the crowd of kissing and partying Brazilians to the subway we discovered the stop closest to Fan Fest was closed. Wait the stop that every visitor uses to get to and from their hotel is closed?!?!
The police presence here São Paulo during the tournament is immense. They were of little help though. Faced with being trapped we figured out how to get to the next closet stop only the discover that only the entrance closest to Fan Fest was closed not the entire station. Crisis averted. We’d make it back to our hotel to get ready for another day of soaking in Brazil.