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June 23, Sao Paulo: Never walk alone

By Onochie Anibeze
Ronaldo is a staff of Transporte Metropolitano. He speaks passable English and was glad that he met me to rehearse the language. He saw me at the Fabaguara Subway studying a map on the connections I had to make to get to Itakira where Corinthians Stadium is located on top of a hill.

It is one of the venues here. Ronaldo asked if I understood the connections and I told him I would take the Blue Line to Se where I would change to the Red Line which takes me straight to Itakira.

He said perfect and that he was heading the same way. Once inside the train he never stopped talking, but always repeating “my English not good.”

I told him it was understandable and that encouraged him to talk more. He was pleasant, telling me about Brazil – the people, the football culture, the rich and the poor. He said Brazil was a beautiful place to work and live but reminded me that there’s also crime here. “Never walk alone at night,” he warned me. Always go in a group if you must go out at night, he says.

“They rob and even kill,”he says but adding that it is not like that everywhere in Brazil. There are good and bad places, just like other cities of the world.

When we got to a station called Se, he told me that it was the heart of Sao Paulo and that I must endeavour to visit the place in the evening.

Fireworks on empty streets

Sao Paulo, June 23: Brazil did not play Cameroon here in Sao Paulo, the third largest city in the world.

They played in Rio where they hammered the Africans 4-1 to top their group and will now face Chile in the round of 16. But when Brazil are playing the fever is everywhere in Brazil. Before the match everybody is in their colours singing and moving as if they are heading for the match venue.

The moment the match begins you don’t see anybody on the streets. No vehicular movements. The DSTV 60 subscribers which I’m part of here had watched the first half in our Ibis Hotel and hurriedly moved out for dinner at half time, hoping to get to the restaurant in good time to watch the second half. It was amazing finding the ever busy Sao Paulo streets empty, totally empty.

To Brazilians, it will be unusual for one to be on the road not watching the game when Brazil are playing. The ever busy Sao Paulo streets turned empty. But there were crackers and loud fireworks. Each time Brazil scored the fireworks were louder. You could know when a goal is scored even if you are not watching the game.

This is truly the home of football going not only by the players they produce but also by their passion for the game. Never seen anything like what is happening here when Brazil play. English fans are loud and passionate too.

The difference is that Brazilians are very emotional about their team. I fear many will suffer shock if they do not win the cup. Uruguay beat them the last time they hosted the World Cup and there were casualties. People died. May it not happen in 2014, I pray to God.

“You have music, entertainment, you have many womans(women), slim ones, big boobs, everything you have here.”

One woman close to us who probably understood what he was saying started laughing and nodding.

Will I visit Se at night to see things for myself? There they also have viewing centre with stadium atmosphere when matches are going on. I’ll be leaving for Porto Alegro for the match against Argentina.

Ronaldo was to stop at a station before Itakira but he continued just to keep me company and practice the English language which I felt excited him.

“I asked him to have a drink with me at Itakira and he retorted “no, me no drink for 15 years. I drank too much before but now I’m from God, no drink no smoke, man of God.”

I appreciated his transformation but recalled many things he said about women and the seeming red light areas of Sao Paulo he wanted me to visit and saw him as just a liberal jolly good fellow.

We parted as I headed for the stadium as security would not allow him access to where my media accreditation could take me. We exchanged telephone numbers and he bid me bye saying I must return for a holiday and “meet many womans.” Man of God? Brazilians are proud of the beauty of their women and they talk about them the way they talk about football. And the women are liberal. Tony Ubani who has been roving everywhere here can testify to this.


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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.