We bounced from Manaus on another riverboat, this would be the last of the river trip. 5 days 4 nights aboard the boat. We met some American folks headed downriver as well going to the USA ghana game. We made plans to catch up with them later on!
We arrived in Belem’ Brasil. The last city on the Amazon! Jack and I spent two days in Belem’ and the owner of Amazonia Hostel was psyched on our project let us stay there for free!! He runs sustainability projects in the amazon and wanted to reach out to us! Belém was a very cool city. There are very old style houses with huge mango trees lining the city streets! You can feel the jungle is still there! We enjoyed cruising around on bicycles and we checked out “the best bar in Belem” and met some cool locals. The city of Belem was kind of bummed not to get to be a host city for the cup for the Amazon, instead Manaus got the spot. Belem actually has football teams whereas Manaus doesn’t so what will happen to the stadium after the tournament…?
With only a week till the start of the World Cup we had to fast track a little bit. We took a bus from Belem to Fortaleza. This was a 30hour bus ride covering 1500km. It would have taken at least 2 or 3 weeks to cycle that far. The north east of brasil is a big desert! It was kind of cool to be back in the desert since I hadn’t been there since Baja!
Once we got back on bikes it was relatively flat cruising through the Brasilian countryside! There was lots of wind and the desert landscape was a nice alternative to the river jungle that we had been exposed to for the last 3 weeks!
After 5 days of cycling we arrived in Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, BRASIL! On the way into the city the local news reporters saw us and did an interview with us about our trip!
on globo news in Brasil!
We had arranged via warmshowers to be hosted by some locals! They live right by the stadium and have been amazing hosts. Jac and her boyfriend Moab have been hosting us. Moab’s mom make the best fresh fruit juices ever and we have been getting spoiled!
The world cup started June 12th we were down at the beach partying for the game! The last couple of days have been spent watching football, hangin at the beach, and partying! US Soccer hosted a night before party that was pretty wild! It was the most gringos I’ve seen in one place in the last 8 months!
For the USA x Ghana game Jack and I went to the fabric store and got some stars n stripes and made some flags! I didn’t want to carry all my USA shwag for the last couple months so we just made some of our own! Lots of crazy fans down here looking rad!
We marched towards the stadium! We only got about one block from our host’s house when some Brasilians at a pub invited us in for a beer. Naturally we obliged. A quick beer and a shot of Cachaça followed and on we marched! The USA fans were congregating about 3 blocks from the stadium and it was wild! RED WHITE AND BLUE everywhere! Singing our go to chant of “I BELIEVE!, I BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN!!”
Once we got into the stadium we continued to party! Dempsey scored in the first 30 seconds and it was insane! The roar of the crowd, the whole stadium shaking, it was amazing we were in ecstasy! We lost Altidore to a hamstring injury which was not good. After that the team chemistry was off. Aron Johannsson came on as a sub, but its always difficult to come into a match for an early injury and try to influence things. I think in the next match he will be more prepared. We were raging with the USA fans all game chanting, singing, and believing! Ghana had been pushing us back pretty hard taking pot shots from distance, then on 81 minutes Ghana equalized after much pressure! This dampened our spirits only slightly as the USA fans BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN!
Our belief paid off as German born 6′-4″ Hertha BSC defender John Brooks wrote his name in the history books with a commanding header off a Graham Zusi corner kick in the 86th minute!! Brooks is now a legend folks!! During the insanity that followed I got a entire beer poured on my head, lost my sunglasses that I had managed to hold onto during the entire trip, and ground scored a sweet USA scarf! We were bouncing up and down in the terraces waiting for the final whistle after that. 5 minutes of extra time were added which was about 5 more than we would have liked! The final whistle blasted after the last passer passed the last pass! WE did it! USA vanquished the demons that had been haunting us for the last few world cups! Ghana knocked us out of 2006 and 2010 WC and we wanted revenge! TAKE THAT GHANA!!!! WOOOOOOOOO!!!!! WE WANT PORTUGAL!!!
After the game we partied the night away! The next few days were spent taking it easy, chillin on the beach, and relaxing! Since we were staying in Natal we also went to the Japan x Greece game. It was not nearly as crazy and we were not nearly as drunk for this game! We were rooting for Japan during this match and went to party with the Japan ultras! Chants of Vamos Nippon echoed through the stadium. The game ended 0-0 but it was still a fun experience!
After spending over a week here in Natal we are planning on cycling down the coast to Recife for the USA x Germany game! The big one! On the way we will be checking out some chill beaches, and soaking it all in, Brasilian style.
Uma Nação, Uma Equipe
One Nation, One Team