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The time is nearly here. I’ll be departing for Brazil next week, if all goes right.
Meanwhile, I’ve been communicating with other travelers through forums and social media groups. These sources have been very helpful as many users have contributed valuable information, especially from locals. On Facebook, there is a group with roughly 700 users. I was able to find someone to sell my extra ticket to and join me at the game. I’ve also made a few companions that I may meet. The group created a way to communicate and set up meets while abroad at any time using a popular mobile app, WhatsApp. It’s amazing what technology allows now.
As far as packing goes, I still am deciding if I should use my old Terra 65 pack by The North Face. Its size served me well during my previous month long trips. With this trip being just fifteen days long however, I feel silly taking such a large pack. I looked online for 45-50 liter packs by various manufacturers, but it’s tough to pick one without examining or trying them on in person. Tomorrow I will be visiting various outdoor and sports stores to check out certain models as references. These packs aren’t cheap, but I plan to be using them often in future trips.
This will most likely be my final update for this post. I just want to say that being able to make this trip possible was quite a feat, considering I had to compete with thousands of other fans. I really needed luck to acquire tickets to matches involving my favorite, popular teams; both the top two nations to lead in ticket sales. I then had to book flights and lodging without breaking the bank. It took two months of constant searching and comparing to find the right prices when most airlines and hotels were obviously price gouging. Regardless, I did it. Now I can sit back and read some city guides.
May 26, 2014 @ 05:59 pm
I was previously interested in traveling to another major city such as Salvador, Fortaleza or Sao Paulo during the days of June 18-22. However, after some good discussion with friends who’ve been to Brazil before, I changed my mind. With the other cities most likely being very active and full of crowds, I wanted a few days to relax, preferably in a smaller city. I now plan to stay in Porto de Galinhas, a small city about an hour bus ride away from Recife. The city has some respectable hotels, and the beaches are suppose to be nicer than in Recife.
- June 10-14, Rio de Janeiro
- June 14-18, Natal
- June 18-22, Porto de Galinhas
- June 22-25, Recife
May 13, 2014 @ 04:42 pm
I mentioned in a previous blog entry that my trip to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup was cancelled due to a high concern for safety.
The BBC News recently published an article advising World Cup tourists not to scream if they were to get robbed. The Brazilian embassies and consulates put together a pamphlet for tourists with suggestions regarding their safety, one being that screaming, arguing or any reaction that might provoke a robber might result an escalation in violence, even death. The article further states some obvious tips such as to not flaunt valuable items, walking alone at night and be followed. While I understand there is truth behind these articles, the timing and tone in them make me believe they are published merely as ‘fear-mongering’ click-bait. Similar type of articles were published around the same time prior the start of the tournament in 2010, and the tournament ran without any major problems.
There are also high possibilities of protest bound to happen in major cities. Though, they are directed toward the Brazilian government and FIFA, not tourists.
Regardless, I understand the warnings are for visitors to be aware of the possibilities of violence and theft; not that they’re guaranteed to happen. I will have to double check the areas I plan to stay in and visit, as well as the kinds of items I will be bringing with me. I will also be talking to various friends that are from Brazil or have visited.
May 2, 2014 @ 02:34 am
I was worried earlier this week because the latest appointment available to submit my visa application at the Consulate General for Brazil in Houston was days after my scheduled departure in June. Fortunately however, the Consulate was able to schedule an appointment as soon as a few days after contacting them.
I drove into Houston early Wednesday morning for my scheduled appointment at 11:30am. There were about twenty people waiting in a small section of the room, specifically for visas. I waited for about an hour until we were told their systems were down. The clerk gave us an option to leave our passport and application, and be called later in the day, if completed, to pick up our visas. Since I planned on staying in Houston for the night, I agreed. The visa I applied for was free with proof of purchase of tickets to the World Cup and is only valid for 90 days. I was still in the area, thankfully, when I was called a few hours later to pick up my visa. Brazil, here I come!
April 28, 2014 @ 03:07 pm
The new tentative plan is:
- June 10-14, Rio de Janeiro [flight & lodging booked]
- June 14-18, Natal [flight & lodging booked]
- June 18-21, TBA (Manaus/Salvador/Sao Paulo)
- June 21-25, Recife
Since the two games I’m attending in Natal and Recife are a week apart, I wanted to spend the days in between to visit a new city. I currently have Manaus, Salvador, and Sao Paulo in mind. The best and economical option would be Sao Paulo since a round trip from Natal-Sao Paulo-Recife is around ~$300.
March 18, 2014 @ 02:53 am
The tentative plan is to visit the following cities in Brazil: Rio de Janeiro, Natal, Fortaleza and Recife. The 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament officially begins Thursday, June 12, though I will be arriving into Rio de Janeiro the day before.
- June 11-15, Rio de Janeiro
- June 15-18, Natal
- June 18-21, Fortaleza
- June 21-24, Recife
The matches I am attending will be played on Monday, June 16 and Monday, June 23 in Natal and Recife respectively. I will have to fly from Rio de Janeiro to Natal, however I do have an option to drive from Natal to the rest of the cities. I will most likely fly, but it is still in consideration. I am currently looking at lodging. Hotels are very expensive – will likely rent shared rooms via airbnb.com.
March 12, 2014 @ 05:44 pm
The final first come, first serve ticketing phase for matches at the 2014 FIFA World Cup opened to the public this morning. I am happy, and fortunate, to say I was able to purchase tickets for two group stage matches, both involving my two favorite national teams. On June 16, I will be attending the United States’ opening group stage match in Natal against Ghana, the team that eliminated the U.S. from last World Cup’s round of 16. A week later I will be in Recife to attend Mexico’s final group stage match against Croatia. I tried my best to attend other matches, but there were some technical difficulties with the website. While frustrating, I am just thankful I was able to get any tickets to the WC, especially at face value. I will be coming up with a tentative schedule soon. I hope to book airline and lodging within the next few days.
December 7, 2013 @ 12:53 am
The FIFA World Cup Final Draw happened yesterday morning. My roommate and I watched the live broadcast and were rooting and hoping for the U.S. MNT to be in a somewhat ‘winnable’ group. That wasn’t the case, however, as they were drawn into arguably one of the toughest groups of the tournament (Group D being the other).
Germany has always been an elite team that has consistently placed well in previous tournaments. Portugal has one of the best players in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo. Ghana eliminated the United States during the round-of-16 in the 2010 World Cup. While it was a bit disappointing, we believed this was the best opportunity to make some noise in the tournament. The U.S. are clearly underdogs in this group and I feel there will be less pressure to beat teams such as Germany and Portugal than it would be have they were to face lesser-ranked teams.
For Mexico, it was bittersweet when they were drawn into a group with the host country, Brazil. Last tournament, they were also drawn with the host country, South Africa. However, this year, they won’t have to face them in the opening game of the tournament. I felt last time, the South African team had a large advantage as the players and crowd had high emotions with the opening ceremonies before the match. I really believe they can give the Brazilian team a competitive match and can possibly advance to the knockout stage.
December 3, 2013 @ 08:14 pm
FIFA released the pots before the final draw this Friday. USA and Mexico are with the rest of the CONCACAF and AFC teams in Pot 3. Messing around with a group-stage draw simulator, I have seen some interesting possibilities.
Unfortunately, I just realized the draw will take place at 10am in the morning. I had wished for my roommates and I to watch it live somewhere. Regardless, I am anxious to see who we play next Summer!
November 22, 2013 @ 03:18 pm
Qualifiers have been completed and the final 32 teams have been determined to compete at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil next Summer. I will now have to wait until December 6 for the FIFA World Cup Final Draw, in which the final eight groups will be formed. Once the draw is complete, I will know the designated cities in which my favorite teams (U.S. and Mexico) will compete in.
January 14, 2013 @ 04:21 pm
A little over six years ago, my father and I were amidst thousands of football fans from all parts of the world drinking, cheering, chanting, and dancing inside the historic city centers of Berlin and Nuremberg, Germany. I vividly remember all the sights and sounds from that trip, from the convivial fan festivals to the energetic stadiums. The FIFA World Cup event is truly an amazing and unforgettable experience. I loved it so much, I want to do it all over again.
As of now, there is very limited information available as qualifications are still being held. The final rounds of qualifications for all teams are to be completed by the end of the year, but it should be determined if my favorite teams, Mexico and the US, qualify by mid-year.
The cities hosting the games: Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Cuiaba, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Manaus, Natal, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Sao Paulo
Tickets aren’t on sale yet. The only way to get tickets is if you book a hospitality package via a travel agency
or if you enter a lottery for purchasing tickets via FIFA. After reading the ticketing Q&A, it looks like it will change this year: “FIFA is currently working on the ticketing concepts for both events and and will make the relevant announcements at a later date.”
I prefer to avoid hospitality packets because they’re expensive and I would like to preserve my freedom of having flexible plans and exploring at my own pace.
My father and I plan on traveling together. I may stay a few extra weeks to explore more of Brazil and possibly its neighboring country, Argentina.