After spending a few days in the whirlwind city of Rio, my friend and I headed to a much smaller and laid back town, Buzios. By bus it takes about 2 hours to drive from Rio and it is along a very scenic route so if you aren’t taking a quick nap, you can enjoy the view. Once we arrived, we realized how small the town is and that it has only one main road that goes throughout. We walked up and down the road until we found our hostel that was conveniently located and met our very friendly and helpful host. We spent our first night getting to know the other people in our hostel that were from England, Uruguay and Argentina, and later a group of us went downtown to explore a bit of the nightlife. Since it was winter, it wasn’t as busy as I had expected. Many restaurant and store owners thought that because of the World Cup there would be many tourists that would travel to different cities but Buzios seemed pretty empty. Apparently my friend and I arrived a few weeks too late, since it was rumored that Leonardo DiCaprio arrived in Buzios on a yacht and rented out a club for himself to which he invited a bunch of ladies inside to join him. I guess better luck next time.
The most memorable and important part of Buzios are the beaches. There are over 20 beaches that all have a different views and activities to do there. We were lucky that our host was so kind to drive us around town to the different beaches and recommended some excellent food. We had the most amazing fish that was prepared right on the beach. It definitely was a great tourist destination, that being a place where we could relax. After a few days there, in such a tranquil town, it was almost easy to forget that the country was filled with tourists for the World Cup, that was until the semifinal games began.
It was a cloudy day on July 9th so we couldn’t soak up the sun at the beach. Instead our only plans were to watch the Brazil vs Germany semifinal game; the game that would determine who was going to the World Cup Final. We dressed in our Brazil gear and went off to lunch. As we walked down the street, passersby shouted “Vai Brasil!” and honked their car horns. It was apparent that everyone was excited for the game and if there was only one thing that I had learned in Brazil, it is that Brazilians love their country and they love soccer. When the Brazilian team had games, it was a national holiday so everyone had off of work. Who wouldn’t love game days then?
After having a delicious buffet lunch, where I piled high all the food I could possibly want, the winds picked up and the sky turned gray. We headed back to the hostel and asked the host and a couple from England where they were planning on watching the game. We all decided to drive into the downtown area where there was a small plaza that had a big screen. When we got there it was already filled with people so we decided to go to a nearby restaurant. As we were walking, it began to drizzle and that is also when the first goal of the game was scored. Germany was up 1-0 and we hadn’t even found our seats yet. A few minutes later, Germany scored again and the rain kept coming. I had to use my Brazilian flag as a tarp to keep myself dry which I soon realized was an omen for the game. Well, you already know how it ended. Brazil suffered the worst defeat in World Cup history, losing 7-1. People around us just sat in shock and eventually were so dumbfounded that they were applauding every time Germany scored. At the end of the game I was glad that we had gone to another city because I couldn’t imagine what Rio would have been like. That night everyone sulked as they returned home in the rain and for the first time since I had been in Brazil, the city went to sleep.
The next day was quiet. People went back to work and didn’t bother discussing the game. A few days later I realized that people weren’t really disappointed. Yes, Brazil lives for soccer but they were realistic about their team. They knew their team was young and inexperienced and they could not compare to the rosters of years past. Also, because of the social and political issues that arose about hosting the World Cup, many Brazilians said they were glad that Brazil lost, in a sense that finally the pressure of winning and the constant advertising for the games was over and done with. I had read an article during my stay there that talked about how the members of the national team were feeling so much pressure to do well that the coach had called in a psychiatrist to talk with the players. I understand why the Brazilian people didn’t want to host the games that were not in the best interest of all, and I can’t even imagine what it would be like to walk on the pitch and play the game of your life. However, Brazil had a good run and Germany later became the world champions. So if your team is going to lose, I suppose it is better to lose to the best in the world.