Arriving in São Paulo it actually looked like winter in Brazil for the first time. The sky was grey and on the bus (as always) it felt cold due to the air conditioning.
Decision time again. I had thought about going to the Football Museum first thing, partly because I thought there might be the opportunity of meeting someone who just happened to have a spare ticket. But it is closed on Mondays. Other options were also closed.
So instead I headed straight to the stadium, on an express Metro train arriving at 10a.m. three hours before kick off. During the journey as I talked to people it was clear there were a lot of Chileans without tickets, and they were willing to pay big money.
There were lots of people at the station and I figured my best chance was to catch someone as they exited the station. I wasn't the only one who thought that, as there were at least 20 people milling about looking for tickets. I decided to target the Dutch as they would understand English. I had three separate offers of US $ 1000 which I politely declined.
Took solace in the local's free offer.
Then appropriately, after 90 minutes a family exiting the Metro said apologetically they had only one ticket. "How much,"I asked. "Face value."
The sun has just come out.
The metro is right next to the stadium but it took another 30 minutes to enter the stadium, which looks to be the pick of the ones I have seen - today was number 7.
After the game, Brazil were on next but I opted to go to Ibirequera for a bit of peace and quiet...and to see some more of Oscar's work.
Would you believe the rest if my day was ruined by football. There was a heavy military presence on Paulista Avenue, and they had blocked some roads meaning I couldn't find what I was looking for.
All the shops and restaurants were closed, many of them with the workers inside glued to the TV, I watched in a bar for a while, but preferred walking round and listening to what was happening. Each Brazil goal was greeted with a loud cheer and people running out of the building. At the end of the match firecrackers went off all over the place and car alarms sounded.
The restaurants failed to open after so I had to do with a snack, no need for McDonalds.
Now off to catch the bus to Porto Alegre, just a 15 hour trip. Where I trust Camila awaits to show me round the city.
© Ross Clegg & Soccerphile.com