6/20/2014

We watched Italy v. Costa Rica. Because it was the first match we were attending, we were mildly clueless as to the best way to Arena Pernambuco and how long it would take. We made our first (and last) journey that consisted of: a pricy 90 minute cab ride, a 10 minute metro ride, a 10 minute bus ride and a 10 minute walk. But we made it.

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And, after we made it and took a few pictures and kissed a Mexican fan on the cheek and soaked up the atmosphere, we stood in line to get into the FIFA fan store. With memories of the healthy apparel selection in South Africa dancing in our head, we finally got into the store and found approximately two t-shirts, 408 stuffed animals and a keychain. Which is confusing, as FIFA is all about getting you to spend your money.

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Also confusing: the lack of food in the stadium. AGAIN. We thought that the horror of USA/Ghana was an anomaly but we were wrong. Wrong and hangry. While the signs at the concession stands promised double hot dogs and hamburgers, everything (everything! Even the creepy preboxed sandwiches!) was sold out. Two bags of stale popcorn, please!

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We were excited to see Italy play. Italy was b-a-d in South Africa so this was our chance to finally see an Italian side worth cheering for. Forza Azzurri!

Lauren was doubly excited because it was a chance to watch her longtime goalkeeping idol Gianluigi Buffon. Gigi hadn’t played in Italy’s first game due to injury.

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As it turns out, we might just be bad luck for Italy.

Final score: Italy – 0, Costa Rica – 1.

 

We wandered the Casa da Cultura. After the match, we took the Metro station all the way into Recife.

We happened to stumble across the Casa da Cultura, which is a block or so from the Metro station. It’s a colonial jail that was converted into a craft market. Every vendor has his or her own cell. Very clever.

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We wandered around for a while and, shockingly, we didn’t buy anything.

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Not even one thing. Seriously!

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Lauren enjoyed her first fresh coconut. Just outside of Casa da Cultura (and pretty much everywhere else), there was a vendor selling fresh coconuts. The fruit ninja, as Lauren called him, would chop into the coconut, drop in a straw and collect your R$2.

Lauren happily slurped up her coconut water.

And then she got curious. 

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Curious to try the coconut meat.

Lauren spiked her coconut against the ground and smashed it on a few hard surfaces. Undeterred by the force that it took to break into her coconut, she pulled it apart with her bare hands. And then her fruit ninja showed up, laughing and shaking his head and wielding his coconut machete. He sliced that sucker open and they became fast friends.

She even liked the coconut meat.

We went to dinner. And watched more soccer. Back in Olinda, we walked over to the corner restaurant for dinner with a side of Ecuador/Honduras. The menu and our server were both Portuguese-language only, so we had basically no idea what we were choosing. Minus the caipirinhas (we had long since mastered that transaction). Somehow we managed to order a decent meal, which even included some sort of a kielbasa that made Katie very happy.

We walked a few blocks after dinner, for no real reason other than we could (and we hadn’t yet seen much of Olinda), and we headed back to the hotel for the night.

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