And again, I’ve had a wonderful day.. I woke up around 8 or 9am and was happy to see that we did get breakfast on our final day here in Recreio. After this, I was asked to pack my bags and get everything out of my tent as soon as possible so the others could tear down my tent. So I did..
A little after 10am it was time to go. Gabi, Kristof, Wim and I took the bus to Rio where we would spend the night, while the other volunteers (except for Jolanda and Rachel) would go to the Oranjecamping in Sao Paulo. It took the bus a really long time to get to Copacabana but as we got of the bus, Gabi and Kristof joined me to my hotel to store their luggage for the day. Wim went on to his hotel as well.
My hotel room wasn’t available yet though, so we just left our luggage in the storage room and moved on to the ‘Baixa Suiça’, the House of Switzerland. I was happy to be there again, even if it was a lot more crowded than the other time. It seems like this house and its location were a successtory for the Swiss, so I’m guessing they will pick the same spot for the Rio Olympics in two years. A simply breathtaking location it really is.
Argentina-Switzerland turned out to be an intense game, though it actually was more of a game between Argentina on one side and Swiss goalie Benaglio on the other. Laurens and his Dutch friends joined us during the game as well as two Colombian friends of Gabi. After the ninety minutes of game time were over, Kristof, Laurens and the Dutchmen went to the FIFA Fan Fest, while Gabi, the Colombians and I stayed here to watch the thirty minutes of extra-time that would decide on the winner of this game. Close to the end of the second period of extra-time, the Argentinians scored the winning 1-0… Disappointment dropped over the Swiss house of course…
The four of us had lunch at the Swiss chalet and then Gabi and I went back to my hotel to move all the luggage from the storage room to my room. I put on a red shirt and then we walked to the FIFA Fan Fest. We were a little late though, and missed the first half hour of Belgium’s game.
Belgium finally played a good game, creating one chance after the other against Jürgen Klinsmanns USA. But also here the game ended in a scoreless draw. Around 7pm (midnight in Belgium), De Bruyne and Lukaku scored their goals and the party got going. Our group of Red Devils supporters were photographed and filmed by many cameras, so I’m sorry if you can spot me somewhere in the news broadcasts tomorrow! We sang, we jumped, we danced, we really had fun and enjoyed our time.
After the end of the game there was some sort of afterparty at the Fan Fest with this group called Oba Oba Samba House who mixes popular Brazilian music with worldwide classics such as Queen’s ‘We will rock you’ or Kings of Leon’s ‘Use somebody’. Another great party that unfortunately came to an end around 9pm. The FIFA Fan Fest would be closed and everybody had to leave..
All of this also had been a great reunion with some other DeVillage volunteers. Anke, Donna, Lies, Stephanie, Benjamin, Didier, Laurens, Raphaël, Simon and some others had also come to the FIFA Fan Fest and of course happily joined the party.
After leaving the Fan Fest, it wasn’t really clear what everyone was going to do. Gabi and Kristof would join me to my hotel to pick up their stuff and take it to Nacho, some Mexican guy they would stay with for the next couple of nights, while some others first wanted to change at Marcelo’s place, Marcelo being some other local living in Barra. Gabi, Kristof and I didn’t really get the impression that the others would come back to Rio after being in Barra, so the three of us just moved on on our own: picking up luggage and going to Nacho.
Nacho turns out to be a really nice guy, living here in Rio and working for Coca-Cola. His apartment was really nice and bigger than my hotel room, but when I heard a couple of days ago that I could stay at Nacho’s place as well, I had already booked my hotel, so too bad.
The four of us went to have a drink at a pub nearby. Mainly because of Gabi who knew that today is my birthday and figured we should stay up until midnight. We drank a caipirinha – of course – at bar ‘Espirito’ and had dinner. We took a picture together, I got some birthday hugs after midnight and the people from the bar gave me a scoop of vanilla ice and chocolate as a birthday gift. A really nice way to start my 29th birthday!
It’s 2.11am now and time for me to go to bed. Another beautiful memory richer, although it is getting time for me to get over this Brazilian adventure and get back to the Belgian spirit. I will miss Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, the carioca’s, the other volunteers and so much more, but tomorrow it’s time to go back!