Sunday, June 15, 2014

Day 15 - Fortaleza - Natal - Maracajau

Woke up feeling rough this morning. Too many beers and too much shouting last night. I seem to have lost my voice. It's odd that the larynx is so sensitive.

I got packed and went out to look for a bank but, of course, all closed on Sunday. I'll use the ATM at the airport later.

This is definitely a "Lo Quay" day, with the main objective being to check out here and get myself to the airport to watch the Argentina v Bosnia game before getting on the plane to Natal.

Checking out's not really the term, as it's an Air B & B place, but I'm in a bit of quandrary as I haven't seen Israela all day. I only saw her, briefly, twice in the whole three days, so its been like having your own apartment to come and go as you please. There's nothing to pay, as that's already done though the web site but I'm not sure what to do with the key as the door to the flat needs to be locked from the outside. I've tried calling her but there's no reply.

Anyway, it's a bit murky and rainy today but I decided to go to the Praia de Futuro which the guys last night said was worth seeing. It's quite a drive away and it cost R$35 to get there by cab. I must say it wasn't that great. One very big, long beach that goes for about 6km with hundreds of beachside cafes busy with people.

Chico de Carranguejo
Switzerland v Ecuador - a bit crabby

Praia de Futura is a very big beach with hundreds of cafes

Not quite worth the 20 minute wait

Looking South East

Looking North West

Not very nice weather today

I liked the look of the place the taxi driver recommended ... Chico de Carranguejo (crab) but it was a big disappointment. It was packed so it took about ten minutes to get a crumby little table. Then another ten minutes before I got served. I ordered chips and a crabmeat thing. The chips came about ten minutes later, cold, and the crab meat thing ten minutes after that. It's a good job I wasn't in a hurry. Even getting my change took 5 minutes!

Anyway, I don't think I want to go back there again - not a patch on Perth!

Since I got back here, I've been watching football and catching up with a few bits and bobs. It seems there was a bit of a misunderstanding with the place I'm staying at tonight (Maracajau) as the guy who runs it thought I was coming tomorrow, but it's all sorted now. The good news was that because I needed to look up on to see if there was any potential accommodation tonight, I got to realise that there seemed to be some accommodation free that hadn't been a few weeks ago. So I checked Recife (where all I could get was a bed in an eight-bed male dorm) and sure enough there are a few rooms available that weren't when I checked before, close to the airport and Boa Viagem and not too pricey, so I've changed my plans slightly there.

I watched the second half of France v Honduras in the flat and then got a cab to the airport. I left the keys with the security man downstairs and left a message on Israela's phone to tell her.

The taxi driver seemed surprised and impressed that someone would come all this was to Brazil on their own. I think he said I was "um homem legal" I said "obrigado" but perhaps it was another case of subtle pronunciation and what he was really said was "you're a big gringo dick ed!"

At the airport I bumped into a nice Canadian couple for the third time in two days who are also going to Natal and a sweet Palmeiras fan who wanted to have a photo taken with me. The plane was full of USA fans going to Natal to see them play Ghana. More US fans than England, but obviously the most visiting fans are from neighbouring South American countries.

H20 Limao - my favourite drink today

Vamos gagnar porco

Argentina v Bosnia @ Fortaleza airport

Waiting for me at the airport was Daniel, a very interesting guy. Argentinian father, but born in Munich and grew up as a German where he started working for Seimens as a telecoms guy. Then, he got the urge to explore his roots and lived in Buenos Aires for a few years before coming to Brasil where, after a few years he settled in Natal and started his hotel business.

As I write this, I can only say my first impressions are great. Snorkelling tomorrow. Night night!

Switzerland 2 Ecuador 1
Yet another entertaining game, full of end-to-end action. This one looked like it was heading for the tournament's first draw until the Swiss stole it at the end. Switzerland always punch above their weight and look a bright, well organised side. Ecuador too were no pushovers.

France 3 Honduras 0
I think France would have won this quite easily even if Honduras hadn't given away a penalty and had a man sent off for it, but it obviously helped.

Argentina 2 Bosnia Herzegovina 1
I didn't see much of this one but Bosnia, like Croatia versus Brazil, stood up to the task of playing against one of the favourites admirably. The first goal, like Brazil's, was an unfortunate own goal very early on. The game settled after that into what seemed a tight scrap before Messi added a second with one of his mazy runs and shot from outside of the box. But even then Bosnia refused to rollover and managed to get a goal back.

Tomorrow, first up is the huge tie of the round, Germany v Portugal. Everyone is, of course, tipping, Germany to win as usual, but I have a feeling that Portugal will win 2-1 (guaranteed Germany win, then!) I really want Portugal to do well as they are one of the biggest football nations never to have won it and playing in Brazil must be more special for them than anyone - as close to being at home without actually hosting the games as possible. Cristiano Ronaldo is on the form of his life too. I thought Germany were  a bit lucky when they beat them in Euro 2012. Then it's the other group F game, Nigeria v Iran. You have to fancy Nigeria here, 2-0 I reckon. Then the last game is USA v Ghana and judging by the number of American accents I've been hearing, there'll be a lot of support for them here in Natal. Should be a cracking match and I reckon Ghana will win 2-1.


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