This is not a complaint, because most of us Brazilians have already complained about Brazil holding the World Cup, so rather I thought I’d give you some updates live from São Paulo, in special to the friends and subscribers who do not live in Brazil. Please note that this blog has no political associations, I am the blog admin who happens to be a Brazilian living in São Paulo, and my sole intention is to provide information (in English).
The opening game (Brazil vs. Croatia) will be here in São Paulo at Arena Corinthians on June 12, just three days away. For those who are not soccer fans (including myself), Corinthians is the Brazilian soccer team with the largest number of registered fans, so much so that they have built a whole new arena for the team. And I am glad to report that the fire department has just approved the Arena! Yes, it sounds a bit “last-minute” to have a stadium approved in what concerns its safety, but that is how (unfortunately) things work around here.Ok, true, some of the sitting areas are still provisional, but it is no surprise. And instead of the 68 thousand seats, there will only be 61,6 thousand. My apologies, I have no idea about the other 6,4 thousand seats.
And it will be a holiday. Why? Simple: so people can stay home! Not because the city stops when Brazil plays (it does, you can’t imagine what traffic is like when millions of people drive home to watch the game), but rather because demonstrations against the WC are expected and what better way to avoid them than a holiday, right? I hope this tactics work, but if not, I hope the demonstrations ae peaceful.
Anyway, the subway system is on strike at least until Wednesday, one day before the game, and if the union does not get to an agreement with the government, there will be a “plan B” so people can get to the stadium. Don’t ask me, nor any other common Brazilian: we have no idea what “plan B” could be. So that you understand, São Paulo is a huge city and Arena Corinthians is located at Itaquera district, on the East part of town. Just this district alone has a population of 200,000 plus people and it is somehow distant from downtown São Paulo, and this is why the subway is essential.
What’s the mood here? Contrary to all previous World Cups, this time it pretty much feels like we are not holding such a massive event. Streets are not painted, there are no flags hanging from windows, people have mixed feelings and are not very enthusiastic (so far), but as the games start, things might change for better.
Despite the public demonstrations that hit Brazil last year (it all started because of a price increase in public transportation, which did not happen, and went on to other complaints) and which was covered in detail by the media around the world, there has been a very positive reaction and campaigns on social media as to being the best hosts possible for those who are coming to the games. We Brazilians are (I think) well-known for our hospitality, and that is what people want to emphasize. Nonetheless, as in any major city, please do take the usual precautions.
The latest news mention that Brazil’s President(A), Dilma Rousseff, will not make the usual speech at the opening game, nor Joseph Blatter, FIFA’s President. They both learned what it feels to be booed by thousands of fans at the Federation Cup and will not risk it a second time. See video:
If the information is correct, it will be the first time ever in a World Cup where nobody declares its opening. Instead, Brazil’s President should address the public on national TV and radio, quite convenient I might add.
Funny fact of the day: the bus that would take the Mexican team to train ran out of battery and players had to go the field by taxi. On the bright side, people had a better glimpse of the Mexican players 🙂
Feel free to ask questions!
And let the games begin!