Posted by : Peter Prokaj Thursday, February 12, 2015



Note from Ruby: Finally! I got Peter to post his trip reviews here on the site! :) I normally travel with him so here goes!!

Ruby at the GIG airport - posing with Fuleco the mascot


Day 1: Departure from Orlando, 6 am sharp.  Perfect.  Only problem is, we don’t live in Orlando, we live in Jacksonville, so we had to drive to the Orlando Airport the previous night, sleep on a hard wooden bench and listen to people’s footsteps all night.

The airport does have a hotel on site, a Hyatt, and it is impressive, nestled right in the middle of the airport.  But it’s a bit pricey, so wooden benches it is!

Day 1: Arrival in Santo Domingo, the connecting flight.  They kicked us off the plane, gave us badges to wear, and let us mill around the departure gate for a confusing hour before putting us back on the same plane.  I don’t really know why.   The only thing I remember about that airport besides the bathroom is the outrageous price of McDonald’s (or Burger King, they’re all the same; maybe).  If there’s one thing I will never do in life, it’s overpay for fast food.  And eat blue cheese.  I don’t like blue cheese.
Ruby at the Maracana Stadium during the Belgium-Russia game

Day 1: Arrival in Rio! The sun, the samba, the beach…the half-empty, depressing international airport?  Not the best first impression of Brazil, but it was early in the morning and we were tired, so we were not in the spirits to judge everything kindly.  Thankfully, the domestic airport we transferred to in order to find our World Cup tickets was cleaner and cheerier.

Upon exiting the airport, we did the touristy thing and booked a taxi.  When the driver heard our destination, he grimaced and said, “Santa Teresa?” in a mixture of disgust and more disgust.  We’d very shortly find out why because since Santa Teresa is in the hills, you need to go up and up and up, and the car we were in decided, in the middle of one of the climbs, to just die on us right there in the middle of the street.  The guy uttered some Portuguese curse words and gave us our luggage and there we were, dragging our luggage in the street, trying to find our AirBnb place, without any idea of where we were or how to get there.  Google Maps helped a little bit and so did asking some locals and we eventually found the place.
At the game, with the token "Guy in Giant Hot Dog Costume" right behind us trying to get more beer.

Day 1: Our first World Cup game, Belgium vs. Russia! Beer Drinkers vs. Vodka Drinkers! The EU vs Putin!  Belgian Chocolate vs. Russian…Vodka!  On the way to the game, the subway train was rather crowded.  I probably inadvertently smelled 10 different armpits on that subway ride, and I wish I was kidding.  When we finally got to the stadium, it was packed, but well organized and we found our seats within the hour.
Peter at the Copacabana Fan Zone

The game was decent, with some good chances, and Belgium ended up winning 1-0 on a late goal.  The Vodka Drinkers were silent after the game, probably as a result of drinking too much vodka.

Back to the AirBnb apartment and End of Day 1.

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