Samba Dancers, Dutch Treat, and disappointment
Well, instead of directing most of my attention toward my dissertation, my focus is on the quadrennial party that usually sees this country dream of 1966 all over – only to be brought back down to earth. More on that later.
The World Cup kicked off three days ago, which has provided me plenty of opportunities to have a blast. And a challenge. Where is the most fun place to watch the matches? While the pub within sneezing distance of my flat will surely be a fun place to watch the England matches, what about the non-England matches?
Last Thursday (June 12), I saw a flyer advertising a party at a pub named the Faversham. A Brazilian-themed party to kick off the World Cup. I had never been there, so I figured “Why Not?”
After eventually finding the place (I walked in circles around the Leeds Uni campus trying to locate that bad boy when upon finding it, I realized… I’ve run/walked past that place so many times), it dawned on me that this wouldn’t be a normal football-watching experience at the pub. Let’s see, a DJ was playing club music and…
Well, if you’re going to create a Brazil-like experience, you might as well recreate Carnaval. While Rio-like weather can’t be transported to Leeds 😦 certainly what you see above can. I had forgotten that Samba dancers would be a part of the party and I could only say to myself “Wow!” when they were shaking it.
Of course, Brazil has fans all over the world so it was no surprise gold-and-green clad fans packed the Faversham. But when much of the place joined the players in belting out the Brazilian national anthem prior to kickoff, it dawned on me… well, these aren’t a bunch of fair weather fans who probably don’t even know what Brazil’s capital is. A lot of Portuguese was screamed at the TV during the match. Safe to say, I probably found the main hangout for Brazilian supporters during the World Cup.
As for the match, Brazil emerged as the victors 3-1, aided by a dubious penalty (If Yuicihi Nishimura is Japan’s best referee, then the state of refereeing in the Land of the Rising Sun is awful). However, when the final whistle sounded, the DJ took over and everyone busted out the moves. I’m not sure if the music he played would serve as popular club music in Rio but the party broke out and everyone got their party on. If Brazilian fans (or people who act like Brazil fans) party after winning the opening match of the World Cup, how will they celebrate if they win the thing for the sixth time?
Obviously but unfortunately, every match won’t bring out a party atmosphere 😦 But I just hope the atmosphere at the nearby pub (The Royal Park) is good for the big matches. There was a decent number of people in the place when the Netherlands took apart Spain 5-1 the next day. The Dutch have certainly played the best football in the tournament thus far and were the talk of so many people around town.
As for the English, the people in this country don’t seem to have high expectations for the Three Lions. Getting to the round of 16 would appear to represent a successful tournament for most people. However, palpable excitement was present for England’s opener against Italy. At least, judging from the bars around town advertising the showing of the match (Viewings were even organized in nightclubs). However, I didn’t watch the match in a bar – I was fortunate to watch it in a majestic setting. Nishant invited me over to his flat, where someone organized a rooftop viewing party 🙂
While English and Italian players expressed concern about the heat of Manauas, our problem was 180 degrees different. The weather was uncomfortable, about which I was forewarned – Nishant told me to bring a jacket or coat. But seriously, in the middle of June, why can’t it be warm?
However, the rooftop of Nishant’s flat was a great place to watch the match – you really get a breathtaking view of the city. His flat is a short walk from the train station and on the rooftop, you see trains arriving in Leeds. Unfortunately, the Internet connection (we didn’t use a traditional TV. Instead, we used a projector similar to what is used in classrooms with someone’s computer serving as the “TV screen”) was sporadic at the outset of the match but it eventually smoothed itself out (I can’t say we missed anything of great significance during the match).
As for the actual match, England lost 2-1. I want the Three Lions to do well but I won’t be heartbroken if they don’t in Brazil. However, a bigger disappointment was Japan losing to the Ivory Coast 😦 Watching them concede two goals in a 90-second span was not how I wanted to spend my very early morning when almost every sane person in this country was asleep. I fear the Samurai Blue may only have two more matches in Brazil.
However, more fun emanating from Brazil will penetrate my life soon.