The rain which hammered down all morning here both woke me up and kept me indoors, meaning I had time to completely organise both my photos, and my Panini sticker collection.
In case you’re wondering, I need 173 stickers, and have already collected 18 of 32 jersey photos, (although I have already established that the toughest to find will probably be Cameroon, Greece, Honduras and Algeria: anyone have any friends from there in or around the Salvador area?)
Then the rest of the day was spent at the FanFest for a change, cramming in with tens of thousands of locals to watch Brazil struggle to a 0-0 draw thanks to a stunning display from the Mexican goalkeeper, and no thanks to a fairly lacklustre performance.
For the second game running, a Brazilian took a terrible dive in the area late on, this time the referee telling Marcelo to get up and stop cheating, (yet inexplicably failing to give him a yellow card).
This leads to the first of many thoughts on football and Brazil today:
-This is the World Cup, and is supposed to feature not only the best players and teams in the world, but also the best referees.
After two completely wrong offside decisions for Mexico against Cameroon, Belgium’s (and my Spurs’) Jan Vertonghen stopping a blatant goal-scoring chance and yet not being sent off, and those two penalty decisions amongst others, this week has already seen some of the worst calls I have ever seen in football. Go figure, as they say.
-Brazilian people wear braces on their teeth. A lot of them. And not just pre-teens but people of every age, shape and size. I haven’t yet found out why this is.
To be fair, I haven’t asked. I kind of like the mystery…
-As I type this, it is 10pm and there is a drum group banging the night away in front of my apartment, locals and tourists alike whirring round in football- and alcohol-fuelled ecstasy.
And yet my friend Frank wasn’t allowed to take his vuvuzela into the stadium for the Germany vs Portugal match yesterday.
How times have changed…
-Stopping in my nearby shopping mall to pick up a mega-pack of stickers for Frank and me, (I have him addicted now, which is great for my trading needs), we were told to hurry up, as the entire centre was closing for the duration of the match, and half an hour either side of it.
They shouldn’t have bothered…
-If you come to Salvador on Brazil match days, there is a queue which stretches all the way along the seafront and around the block.
Don’t tell anyone, but to avoid it, all you have to do is walk along the seafront, and up some stairs blocked with some sorry looking traffic cones at the end where bored looking policemen don’t even search your bags, saving you a three-hour wait.
This is my first use of a Brazilian word I learned early in my stay here thanks to a commenter on this blog: ‘jeitinho,’ or finding a way to get something done that you shouldn’t really be doing.
-With Brazilian substitute Bernard making his second appearance tonight, it got me thinking how funny it is that so many Brazilian players have 1930’s English names that would get you bullied at school.
The team is usually essentially made up of Roberts, Ronalds, Victors, Juliuses, Freds, Marcels and the aforementioned Bernard, (although often with an ‘o’ tacked onto them to make them more Brazilian).
Well, that’s all for today. By the time I publish this, (when the temperamental wifi at my wonderfully located but terribly looked after beachfront apartment hopefully comes back on), I will be heading to the bars and screens to watch the second round of matches continue.
Holland could be the first team to secure their place in the knock-out rounds already whilst sending Australia home; Chile could join them, and send out reigning champions Spain; and finally Cameroon and Croatia will both try to overcome first game losses to stay in touch with Brazil and Mexico.
And finally, it will be my grandmother’s 91st birthday.
Happy birthday, granny!