I spent my last day in Rio on Ipanema beach. What better way is there to say goodbye to Rio than with this view?
Last night I paid one final visit to FIFA FanFest for the final. It was packed with Argentinians who flocked here once they made the final. Some drove for two days just to be here for the game, slept in their cars last night, and drove back today. This meant that unfortunately it wasn’t a very excited crowd when Germany scored, but me and the little old German woman who was standing next to me (who came to FanFest alone, good for her) were jumping and hugging and yelling GOTT SEI DANK. Then Germany won the World Cup, and my Brazil World Cup experience was complete.
Well, almost. After I said bye to my German friend and we cleared out of FanFest, and past all the cops who were policing the riots that apparently were happening further up the beach (according to the Australians who I again ran into, the ones from my hostel in Argentina who I saw at FanFest on Tuesday – this time when I saw them they yelled “hey it’s California!” and we all hugged it was just too funny to see them again), and we got some food and had a lovely conversation with a traveling American couple, then we really got to celebrate the end of the tournament.
Juan and I spent the rest of the night walking up and down Copacabana beach, buying beers as we needed them. I really do love the lawlessness of Brazilian street drinking. We walked down to see the bears that were painted for every country and took pictures with ours – me with Germany and Austria, Juan with Panama, and both of us with USA. Then at the end of the beach we ran into the Germany celebration party. It was AWESOME. There was a big group of Germans jumping and singing and chanting on repeat, reveling in the joy of being world champions. It was exactly what I had hoped we would find without even knowing it would be there. I got to kiss a few trophies and sing a few chants before we wandered our way back up the beach, talking to people and continuing to grab beers as we went. Thanks Juan for exactly the last night in Rio and of the World Cup that I wanted.
Tonight I head to the airport to move on to another city. I still have a post about our day trips from Rio to come; maybe I’ll write it if I can’t sleep during our 5 hour layover in the Recife airport. Tomorrow morning I land in Salvador to explore a different part of this fantastic country. Rio, it’s been great, but it’s time to move on.
After spending two weeks in the same city with friends, now it feels like I’m really taking off on this journey. I’m a little nervous, but a whole lot more excited.