Several members of the FC Dallas family are traveling to Brazil this summer to take in the 2014 FIFA World Cup and have agreed to share their experiences with FCDallas.com to give our readers a first-person perspective of the festivities. Today's entry comes from Mobile Sales Team Manager Ryan Hurtado from Rio de Janeiro.
After 20+ hours of travel, Bom Dia!
With a few hiccups before we even left and a couple changes on the itinerary, the trek to Rio only became more fruitful (Imagine flying from London to DFW, having three hours to drive to Love Field to take a flight to Houston to only fly north again to OKC. OKC and Rio aren't the right comparison, but you get the idea). After having to squeeze a cab ride through São Paulo to get to another airport for a connecting flight, we saw a hint of Brazil's diversity and culture in a 40 minute drive and this was just scratching the surface.
The first thing that was uncertain in my mind was the reception of my American pride. With the centennial crest on my chest through the whole day of travel and conversations in English, broken Spanish and Portuguese, the courtesies were amazing! All ethnicities were proud, excited and just wanted to joke and talk soccer.
Mexican fans said thank you for allowing them to be there (like we had anything personally to do with it) and we laughed over our shared love for Graham Zusi. To the French we met on the way to Porto Alegre who spoke of MLS, Michael Bradley and how they saw us as dangerous because of Jurgen. The theme was clear that soccer transcends language. Friendly banter was all around, especially as Ghanaians passed and we patted our chests while they chirped "you don't want it again." Well, I didn't have much response there!
With our plans getting us into Rio later than desired, we knew there was a night of Samba and Cachaça ahead of us that wouldn't allow my dumb grin to leave my face. This is all built up by the anticipation of seeing some matches live, which by the pace of the tournament should be wild and entertaining affairs.
I'd be at fault if I did'nt mention the night life in Rio. The night to say the least was incredible. We had some food in Ipanema Beach and proceeded to a botico to watch the Ivory Coast vs Japan match. This botico for no other reason than it was a Saturday turned into a block party, where the smiles, beautiful people and chope were endless. By the end of the night myself and two travel companions made a multitude of friends Brazilian, Dutch, American and in between. This city breathes a life and atmosphere that I've never felt before. Add in the fact it is 75 all the time without humidity and you can imagine why it's hard not to smile the entire time! I am off to the Maracana to see Messi live, time to cross that one off the bucket list.