Sunday, April 5, 2009

Worst game, best game, and out-of-towners

Mid-week I attended the Brazil x Peru World Cup qualifier and had the worst experience I've ever had in a stadium. I don't have any photos because, although I brought my camera, I was too scared to take it out in the crowd of aggressive jerks that surrounded me. Specifically, I was afraid that the ornery old fart that screamed at me for 20 minutes, grabbed my arm, and shoved me around would take the camera and smash it. (He was angry that the arquibancada inferior section was oversold and he had to share. That, and he was looking for trouble--he targeted a few other people too during the hour in which I had the great misfortune of being near him.) What's more, the game wasn't even worth it. Sure, Brazil won 3x0, but as I repeatedly heard on the street the following day, the Brazilian superstars played like they were wearing high-heels. Bah!

But today, returning to Beira-Rio for another epic grudge match between Gremio and Internacional, I had backup! I brought Flat Lizzie with me!


Lizzie is my cousin. Her first grade class is doing a project, inspired by the children's book Flat Stanley, for which the kids make a doll of themselves and send it far-off places for adventures. I am documenting her Brazilian vacation. As you can see, she really enjoyed her first jogo de futebol brasileiro-style. And this time, the 44,520 people in attendance were peaceful and playful, and the play on the field was good too.

Gremio scored a penalty kick 19 minutes into the first half, but Inter equalized, also with a penalty, at 33 minutes.


From then on, the game was a real nail-biter. Really. Despite Lizzie's soothing, I was chomping away on my cuticles.

Granted, Inter fans always want Inter to win.
Inter fans always, always want, want Inter to win when the opposition is Gremio.
But when the GreNal happens to be one day after Inter's 100th Anniversary blowout, Inter fans go crazy when the team takes the lead with a goal in the 32nd minute of the second half.


I have been to many good, no, great games. This one, though, was the best. Vamu vamu Inteeeeer! Parabens em seu jogo bonito e seu centenario!

After the game, we met some friends for sushi, though I think Lizzie prefers McDonalds.

In a few days, Flat Lizzie and I will be traveling. Should be a hoot. Stay tuned for details...


P.S. Last night I had a dream that I was walking down some street in Russia. I stopped in a bakery and tried to order lunch in Portuguese. Weird.