Today we went and picked up our tickets, after some sunny pool time, we hopped in a taxi and went to the cultural center to get our tickets. It doesn’t make sense to me that the ticket center is so far away from the stadium. It was a simple process to pick them up much like an airport you just slide your credit card and your name pops up, then the ticket prints out. We caught a bus back into the city center. This was our first time on a Brazilian bus. They are rough, the roads have many dips and tight corners throwing everyone on the bus around. I white knuckled the bars to keep from falling into someone. We got off the bus much earlier than needed because it was so rough.
There aren’t many times that walking in the heat is better than the transit but this was the time. We have now moved to a hostel, we booked this place when we were in San Fran looking for anywhere to stay to help validate our visa applications. We arrive at the hostel and take off to the Fan Fest that FIFA has set up on the Rio Nergro river. This river flows directly into the Amazon. We will be watching the US vs Ghana game on the big screen. There is a big area set up for viewing and the cost is free. USA won the game!
It was a tight game where our last point to win was a header into the goal. We bussed it back to the hostel, this bus ride was not as rough to the other one, but we were thoroughly entertained by a crew of England guys singing and chanting loudly on the bus ride back. The internet is good from what we have read, so I’ll spend some time posting blogs and buying plane tickets home. I really cannot believe it is time to get our tickets. Only one month to go. I will get the chance to meet my new niece, Annalise and see the kids. People talk of Hawaii like it is a vaction for me, and it is for many people but if my sister lived in Alabama I would still be going to see her at least once a year and maybe more because it wouldn’t be so spendy. I have had a lot of trouble with the internet and buying my tickets have been a pain in my butt. I get to the last stage of purchasing and the internet goes out. Maybe I will try at the next place.
We quickly passed into another time zone, all the World Cup goers we saw at the airport were getting onto our boat. This is exciting. We took a short tuk tuk ride to the boat lunching area and checked in our bags. Drank a bit of coffee and moved onto the next phase of getting onto the boat. Our bags were checked by policemen thoroughly. We had read that they nearly do everything but a cavity search but not for us, just a quick check. I don’t know any Portuguese, so when the policeman said anything I smiled with my teeth, I didn’t understand him. He was super nice and helped me repack my bag and even zipped the zipper on my fanny-pack. It is interesting during situations like this, if I were to get asked any serious questions in Portuguese I would look like I didn’t understand and smile cute. Mateo didn’t look so innocent and had his bag searched more thoroughly than I did.
I was surprised by the view of our boat it looked like a large speed boat, I know we purchased tickets for the speed boat but this is the Amazon I didnt expect this boat. When I stepped on, a cool satisfaction happened, the boat was air conditioned. Now I have to pleasantly worry about the cold not the mosquitos. I have been bitten so many times on this trip I just don’t like itching my skin.
We stopped at many small villages and ports to drop off and pick up people. The Amazon is so big many rivers flow in to it and it just gets bigger and bigger as it gets closer to to the Atlantic. I made many bracelets and once I found out I had Brazil colors I made many more. I gave one to this Colombian guy I was sitting with he was excited to get a bracelet.
The guys from England on the boat were fun and loud. They were really excited for the England game going on the day we arrive. Sleeping on the boat was hard. It was a sold out boat so there was little room to sprawl out. I even got kicked off the floor, how is that possible? The next 12 hours were hard we got woken up for breakfast at 7 am and fed bread and butter and really sugary coffee. The last time we had really good coffee was on our bike tour in Bogota. We finally showed up at the port in Manaus. It’s football time now! It is also Portuguese time, I am really getting familiar with Spanish and now we switch! It’s time to use our hands and feet really to talk. We flag a taxi and get about a kilometer from our hotel before the traffic gets really thick after sitting at the same light four times through we decide to get out and walk the rest of the way to the hotel. Our hotel is surprisingly nice, it’s really relaxing to feel safe I didn’t think we would. Everyone has told me about pickpocketers and crime that will surround the games. We will still try to be safe but the rumors haven’t been true. We marched down to the stadium and the first round of road blockage we made it through but the second round they really did want our tickets to let us get any closer to the stadium. We turned back around and were heading towards one of the many bars we had seen before that were showing the game. We pass this large red barn that had looked like it was once a business. They were selling beer and showing the game in the back yard. We passed by slowly and looked at the screen. We continued to walk and then we heard a guy yell something in Portuguese. He was inviting us to watch the game, we slowly moved into the back yard area and found a distanced seat.
At half time we walked and picked up some cookies and soda for me. When we returned we sat in more of the circle of the screen and people. I couldn’t believe we somehow made it into some Brazilian folks back yard, watching the game only a kilometer from the first World Cup game in Manaus. I still feel like we are in Colombia for some reason. After the game was over Italy beat England. We went and got some pizza in a good location to watch the crowds flow out of the stadium. This was our first time ordering from a menu and we had no clue how to read and our sever didn’t speak a lick of English or Spanish. We ordered a pizza half one type half another blindly and hoped for the best. Our pizza came out half covered in roasted garlic half covered in ham, egg, and vegetables, this was the Portuguese special. As we walked down the main exit road away from the stadium, there was not a taxi in sight and the ones we could see are going the wrong way and into thick traffic. There they were, two moto taxis waiting for us so we both put on helmets and got on the two motorcycles and had them take us to the hotel. It was strange riding behind someone other than Mateo. Swerving in and out of traffic, we made it back to the hotel safely and quickly. We finished our night dancing in the hotel pool.