Road to Natal, & USA x GHANA !!

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!

Amazonas sunset

Amazonas sunset

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…?

 

Belém Brasil, last stop on the Amazon

Belém Brasil, last stop on the Amazon

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!

Brasilian, desert?

Brasilian, desert?

 

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!

 

19th flat for Hen

19th flat for Hen

camped out at truck stops.. free showers and cafezinho  (coffee)

camped out at truck stops.. free showers and cafezinho (coffee)

 

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!

225 Days since leaving San Diego, arriving in Natal Brasil, Dunas Arena, designed to resemble the giant sand dunes in the area

225 Days since leaving San Diego, arriving in Natal Brasil, Dunas Arena, designed to resemble the giant sand dunes in the area

 

 

interview with univision

interview with univision

http://g1.globo.com/rn/rio-grande-do-norte/bom-dia-rn/videos/t/edicoes/v/americanos-atravessam-o-continente-para-assistir-jogo-dos-eua-em-natal/3411078/

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!

Jack and Moab, our amazing hosts in Natal. Moab and his girl friend have bike toured in Czech Republic and Austria!

Jack and Moab, our amazing hosts in Natal. Moab and his girl friend have bike toured in Czech Republic and Austria!

Nova Descoberta neighborhood where we stay

Nova Descoberta neighborhood where we stay

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!

US Soccer night before party!

US Soccer night before party!

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!

hangin with the Ghana Black Stars!

hangin with the Ghana Black Stars!

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!!”

Where you go, we will follow!

Where you go, we will follow!

USA fans gather before kickoff

USA fans gather before kickoff

Just before kickoff!

In the Dunas Arena

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!

I Believe!

I Believe!

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!!!

USA 2 - Ghana 1 ! JOHNBROOKS LEGEND!!

USA 2 – Ghana 1 ! JOHNBROOKS LEGEND!!

 

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!

 

respect the homemade fan gear, rooting for japan

respect the homemade fan gear, rooting for japan

 

met up with my good buddy Juan who I grew up with !

met up with my good buddy Juan who I grew up with !

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.

Ponta Negra, Natal Brasil

Ponta Negra, Natal Brasil

 

Uma Nação, Uma Equipe

One Nation, One Team

 

O_o

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7 thoughts on “Road to Natal, & USA x GHANA !!

  1. Sorry to have missed you Fortaleza but connecting would have been difficult especially with your schedule. Our experience at games and Fan Fest have been amazing. At USA/ Ghana game some Mexicans had a “Thank you Graham Zusi” sign. At first I was doubtful the USA would do well but I now “believe”! Damn Ghanian witch doctor putting a curse on our hamstrings but I heard he also put one on Ronaldo & it seems to be working. Party on, we’ll keep the vibe alive here in Fortaleza…by the way, have you noticed that the Brazilian women put the Sass in sashay?
    Ciao, be well
    Eric

  2. Congratulations gentlemen!!!! The Matthias family is inspired and proud of your journey!
    Enjoy! Lots of love, O. Brendan, T. Heidi , Emma, Thomas and Peter.

  3. Hey guys! Glad to see the trip panned out well and that Jack´s bike´s still going strong…we may end up touring through the US-Colorado and Utah on our way back from Ushuaia, if we ever make it that far South that is 🙂

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