Thought I’d go to the Fan Fest to watch Brazil play Chile in the first of the round of 16 games. Based on stories I’d heard about the Fan Fest the last time Brazil played, I thought I’d better get there early so, 90 minutes before kickoff, I walk through Fan Fest security with barely a wait.
I wandered around, watching the people and taking pictures. To right you’ll see a shot of the beach from the Fan Fest and if you look carefully you’ll see that I caught a helicopter which had been flying around the crowd.
All the same corporate promotions were running. Sony had people zip lining in front of the big screen. The Coca-Cola had a Wii like game where you moved your arms and legs in order to make an avatar run down a virtual field and score a goal. A Brazilian bank called Itau had a game where you kick a ball at a target and if you hit it you win various knickknacks but to play you had to fill out a form that looked like a loan application.
The crowd for the game was reasonable but no where near as packed as I expected. I claimed the high ground, a spot at the base of the fort on the bay side of the peninsula where I could get some decent pictures. This was a fortunate choice since about midway through the first half some rain blew in from the ocean and building kept me mostly dry but, of course, this meant a bunch of people wanted to come watch the game right next to me and none of them were attractive young women.
As halftime approached the rain increased and while it would not be enough for me to abandon a RailHawks match, I didn’t feel the need to hang around so I walked back to the apartment for the second half.
When Brazil scored the go ahead goal I remembered why I preferred to watch their matches from the apartment. The city erupted in noise then abruptly silenced as Howard Webb, the English referee, disallowed the goal.
The game went to a penalty shootout and, while I probably wasn’t as stressed as the natives, I did not want Brazil to go out this early. I was standing throughout the shoot out, not really pacing, but wandering from the balcony to the television and back. My TV had about a quarter to half second delay from some of the others in the neighborhood. A wave of noise would crest over the balcony when a Brazilian scored or when Julio Cesar, their goalkeeper, would make a save.
Brazil won and I felt like I was in the Fan Fest anyway except out here the fireworks are much closer.