Last Day in the Lap of Luxury

29 Feb

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Our last full day at The Sheraton in Rio, J.J. and I spent maxin’ and chillaxin’ poolside, reading, catching up on the blog, sipping ice teas and cooling down in the pool. We were resting up for the second soccer match we’d be attending on the trip, only instead of Boca in Argentina, it was Flamenco vs Vasco in Brazil.

We’d bought our tickets through the concierge desk at the hotel for $150 reals (over $150 CDN), and like in Argentina, the tickets had to be purchased through a travel company that would pick us up and take us to the game by bus. The stadium where Flamenco typically plays is under renovations for the upcoming Olympics and World Cup and were scheduled to play at another stadium in a very dodgy neighbourhood across town.

The bus ride to the game wasn’t nearly as rowdy as it had been in Argentina. No cheers were taught and no one was pinting en route to the game, but it was pretty interesting watching the cityscape change from beachfront properties laden with big-name hotels to the rougher areas close to the stadium that were laden with tags (not be confused with graffiti art), condemned-looking building that were missing windows or roofs or both, and junkyards that had 10 or so people picking through them and adding to the shopping carts they were pushing.

Our first view of the temporary stadium was amazing, with all of the arching angles lit up I was immediately in love with the architecture. We stopped just outside the stadium where we had to wait for 15 minutes before the tickets would be there and were told we could buy beer and food while we waited. Pints and meat-on-a-stick in hand, we got to talking to 2 American guys from Washingon, DC that had just come from a friend’s wedding in Lima, Peru and we ended up watching the game with them.

When it was time to go into the stadium, there were a number of differences we noticed compared with our experience at the Boca game in Buenos Aires: in Rio the security pat down was minimal if you got one at all; the game was not sold out so there were no pushing crowds and we each had more than enough personal space; the food and washroom area of the stadium could be compared to that of the ACC, only without any alcohol available for sale; there were actually seats to sit in as opposed to standing bleachers; the hooligans cheering didn’t shake the entire stadium (though they were very rowdy, just as we had hoped!); in Rio, people tuned in to listen to the game on their cellphones while watching it live; the stadium did not reek of urine as we were exiting after the game like it had in BA; we didn’t have to wait half an hour for the opposition’s fans to leave the stadium before we were able to exit.

The game was amazing – the teams were well-matched resulting in fast play and overall great soccer. I would highly recommend a soccer game as part of anyone’s Rio experience.

Once outside we re-grouped with our guide and the other people from our bus and waited on a street corner. We were told that as soon as the bus came we’d have to get on very quickly. To date I’m not sure why – if it was because of the dangerous neighbourhood or just to get out of the way of the other busses and cabs loading up and leaving the stadium.

We arrived back at The Sheraton sometime between 12:30am and 1am, changed into our pajamas and were ready to call it a night when we noticed a big puddle of water under the air conditioning unit in our room.

We called down to the front desk to let them know and they said they would send someone right up. Because The Sheraton was under the impression that only 2 people were staying in our room J.J. and I got dressed quickly, grabbed our books and headed to the lobby for a night cap.

Just as we finished our drinks and were about to head back upstairs to bed, we heard a very loud fart rip through the high-ceilinged marble lobby. When we looked in the direction of the sound we saw 5 of the hotel employees killing themselves laughing. Most of them had not known there were guests in the lobby and once they caught a look of us, 3 of them moved quickly outside (still laughing) and 2 remained at the concierge desk, one of whom I suspect was the farter himself because he buried his head on the desk as the concierge continued to point and laugh.

Only then it was bedtime.



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