Brazil vs. North Korea

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

1:48 pm

For the past week or so my days have been punctuated by the sound of firecrackers. Brazil has yet to compete in the World Cup, but the excitement kicked in a while ago. My friends ask me if I’ve bought my yellow, green or blue Brazil t-shirt to wear during the games – it’s a requirement. And this year’s decorations for the festas juninas, the June festivals, which are usually multi-colored and suggestive of life in the rural interior, are mostly green and yellow, colors from the Brazilian flag and the Brazilian soccer jersey. My neighborhood bakery recently installed a flat-screen TV and hung hundreds of little yellow and green flags from the ceiling.

Today is more or less a national holiday. Schools, banks, and pretty much everything closes at noon or by two so everyone can watch the game. I drove out to get a sandwich for lunch, and cars with Brazilian flags hanging from the windows passed me on the otherwise empty streets. Right now, I can hear horns and whistles along with firecrackers as people prepare for the 3:30 game against North Korea. I saw a man trip in the pharmacy this morning. As he stood up, he announced, “I’m sorry, I’m just emotional! And the game hasn’t even started yet!”

2:15 pm

I just put on my yellow t-shirt and I’m headed to Kukukaya, my favorite forró venue in Fortaleza, to watch the game. They’re advertising screens, lots of forró music, and traditional northeastern cuisine to accompany the game.

6:44 pm

A few too many beers and I’m now home safe and satisfied that Brazil beat North Korea two to one. The crowd at Kukukaya seemed a little disappointed. I guess they imagined a bigger win. But I danced forró for about an hour after the game with some people I met from the secretaria de cultura, and I’m now being serenaded by explosions (maybe three times as many as earlier today), barking dogs, and car horns, all declaring Brazil’s first victory of the 2010 World Cup.

See the excitement yourself:

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