|After catching up on some rest and getting an early morning jog in, I headed to lunch with a few classmates. In most cultures, English is spoken by everyone even if it's not the native language. I realized ordering lunch on my own for the first time, that this was not the case in Brazil. Very few Brazilians speak English (my guess would be 5%) and there was quite a large language barrier.
As this was our day to explore the culture of Sao Paulo, I found a group of classmates that were interested in going to see a soccer game with me. Football (American soccer) is extremely popular in Brazil and has become a large part of the culture. Over 10,000 Brazilians play the sport at home and all over the world. Kids can be seen playing soccer games in the streets and young adults seen juggling a soccer ball on the beach. In addition, Brazil has made history for continuously dominating the FIFA World Cup tournament. The country has won the most competitions at 5 and is the only team to have never missed a World Cup Tournament. The World Cup 2014 will be held in Brazil.
We headed to Morumbi Stadium, the largest stadium in Brazil with over 80,000 seats, to watch the Sao Paulo v Portuguesa game. We entered a long line to purchase tickets for the game. I noticed a lot of informal economy activity at the game (sales of beer and soccer jerseys). Once we got into the game, it was apparent how different the security standards are in Brazil from the US. There were no elevators that we could see and we had to climb over seats to get to our section. As it started pouring, we contemplated leaving, but just in that moment, Sao Paulo scored a goal!
I have never seen a crowd erupt with such excitement like this crowd did. Every fan was on his/her feet cheering loudly for their team. So we decided not to leave the game and instead bought ponchos. We saw two more goals scored - one by Portuguesa and a second (winning) goal by Sao Paulo. Sao Paulo won the game 2-1 and I couldn't have been more thrilled. The energy in the stadium was contagious and the cheering was unlike anything I've ever seen in the US. The soccer game was the best cultural experience I could have had in Sao Paulo and I'm glad I had the opportunity to go to it.
Later that night, a few of us headed to Hotel Unique's Skye Bar in downtown Sao Paulo, recommended by a number of my work colleagues. The architecture of the hotel was as its name is, unique (the hotel is shaped like a large boat). The Skye Bar had a hip, trendy vibe with pools, lounge "beds" and breathtaking views of the city.