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Memento Mori Not all those who wander are lost

My Travel Writing Scholarship 2011 entry

BRAZIL | Friday, 4 February 2011 | Views [395] | Scholarship Entry

If you didn’t already know, Brazilians love their beers extremely chilled and house them proudly in fridges that display sub-zero temperatures to entice customers to their relatively cheap botecos. The Devassa Bar on Leblon, a well-known bar that brews its own beer, was abuzzing pre-game with hip youngsters and football heads alike. Whatever mood you’re in, they have it: blond, red, black and Indian.
And then it all took a turn. From chilling-out to suddenly mayhem. Scalping tickets outside the Maracana is an experience in itself if you’re willing to wander around looking for a deal amongst the Brazilian Portuguese speakers. It’s hit or miss but if you’re desperate and willing to pay, then prepare to be blown away.
The atmosphere at the Flamengo - Fluminense (abbreviated to Fla-Flu if you’re in the know) game was simply off the
charts! Eruption was already brewing in the 82,000 seat Maracana stadium before
entering. A rock concert would have no chance at matching the decibels of the screaming full-grown adults.
It was, what the locals call, “a classic game”, where the two teams were
both from Rio de Janeiro and have existing bad blood since 1912—and then there’s us, the gringos (what Brazilians call foreigners) caught in the middle, not too sure which side to pick as all around there are fans from both team secretly eyeing the outsiders that have no idea how much is at stake.
Once inside and securely in your seat that will only be comfortable for a few minutes, due to sporadic jumps, shouts and applauses, you can actually feel the excitement tingling in everyone’s eyes and soul.
They are in a trance. Acceptable for a nation that grew up with football and has been more successful than any other team in the world with five FIFA World Cup and three FIFA Confederations Cup titles.
Some were chanting while others were expressing their emotion through dance. The sea of red and black of the Flamengo side greatly outnumbered the maroon and green of the Fluminense. And they knew it.
After each goal (two from each team) the stadium would tremble. Before you know it, the pleasant looking young lady next to you is screaming extremities and has become a back-seat coach of the team. Her and everyone else. Roughly 90,000 capacity-overflowed feet of die-hard football fans jump in unison trying their best to send their good vibes to the players. Torches emitting red flares and flags are waved frantically and off they go in Portuguese singing praise.
Half-time whistle blows, and back to the beers we go. It’s another action packed / lazy Sunday in Rio de Janeiro and an amazing experience for any traveler to try for themselves.

Tags: #2011writing, travel writing scholarship 2011

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