The Rain Game
The morning of the USA v Germany match, I laid in bed at the Olinda hostel for a good hour before getting up, hoping the torrential rain outside would stop. (Spoiler alert - it didn't.) Finally I got up, got dressed, and wandered over to breakfast. The dining room was packed, so I headed to the lobby to see if I could find a place to sit. Instead, I found a group of Americans getting ready to brave the elements. I decided to scarf down my pineapple and tag along.
The first few taxis we managed to hail refused to take us to the metro station. It was the $tadium or bust for them. So we sloshed through the pouring rain and ankle-deep water to a busier street, where finally, we found a cab. After a little more transportation drama, we ended up buying our tickets to the stadium. By this point, the other girl in the group, Shelby, had found an extra poncho in her bag and immediately became my best friend forever by offering it to me. We got on the crowded train, dripping giant puddles on the floor. At the other end of the line, it was time to catch a bus to the stadium - well, to a random spot a mile from the stadium. And so we continued to walk through the deluge, till we got to the American Outlaws/U.S. Soccer pre-party.
Germans, at the USA party, what?
We crammed ourselves into what little space was left in the bar. My plans to do my makeup in the bathroom were thwarted - it was flooded too, and not with water. (Gringas and our toilet paper...) Pretty soon it was time for the march to the stadium, though the rain made it more of a long trudge. Shelby and I stuck behind for one final Caipirinha and the guys left without us. Fueled by cachaça, we soldiered on.
Once inside, we went to check out Shelby's seat (I wasn't even going to bother looking for mine). It was in the middle of a German section! I convinced her to follow me to the USA fan section. We ended up running into the only person in Brazil who was checking tickets, but I just smiled and pointed to "our seats". It worked, of course.
The guys ended up in the row right behind us, and after some reshuffling, the six of us ended up standing in front of four or five empty seats. (Their occupants had decided to try their fortunes elsewhere as well.) The people on the other side of us were super accommodating - yay, USA fans! It was a nice and rowdy group, just what a rainy game needs.
While we lost to Germany, 0-1, we went through to the next round thanks to Portugal simultaneously beating Ghana. The fans in the stands knew long before the players, as people would check their phones and yell out updates. It was nice to see the moment when the players realized we'd be going through as well.
It was a long and muddy trek back to the buses, then the train. Locals stood outside the station and cheered for us like we were world-famous footballers. I figured out how to catch a different line to the airport (you weren't supposed to transfer, but nobody checked) and then got on a crowded bus back to Porto de Galinhas. The hour-long trip took two and a half in the flooded conditions, and I didn't have a seat. The number of American and German dudes who grabbed one before me, I can't even... but the locals were aghast at this lack of chivalry and made sure I got one eventually. Back at Casa Branca, I changed into dry clothes and started rebooking my flights and hostel - we were going to Salvador!