The adventure continued with my first Kilo-Restaurant meal of the tour.
I like the philosophy of Kilo’s. Basically you choose your dish by slapping on your chosen food onto your plate from a huge range of things to eat, and pay for the weight of the dish. Last time I was here, instead of purchasing an unhealthy Twix Bar, I nipped into a Kilo and had a small spoonful of rice and a few carrots, paid about 70p for them which killed my hunger for a few hours. I wish they had these at home!
Today’s evening meal dish of an egg, some spaghetti bolognese, a couple of baked bananas, carrots, chips, chicken and a small bit of steak came to under £7!
After the England v Costa Rica game the Sao Paulo bus terminal was very busy indeed. Again fans from across the globe mixing together in harmony.
We left on time for once, but stopped about 10km down the road. Apparently the engine was overheating and we had to wait about 30 minutes for a replacement. Everyone was very calm and sat patiently.
I sat next to a very chatty chap from Norway who was working in the oil industry here in Brazil. After my rant about England fans the other day, the English fans on our bus were very sincere, funny and polite, mixing well with all the nationalities on the bus.
Breaking down was kind of fun!
After a bus change in the darkness of a Sao Paulo motorway, I woke up shivering with the air conditioning seemingly focussed on my seat. I put more layers of clothing on but woke up in Rio with a horrible cough again. In fact most of the bus left coughing as we arrived at 0430h.
A five hour sleep in our apartment of doom, a stinking hot shower, a change of clothes and we were out of the door and on our way to the Maracana Stadium yet again. First though, I went to the local store and drank a litre of banana juice and then a litre of orange juice. My body needs vitamins at the moment!
With England out, Japan out, I decided to be French for the future of this World Cup. I’ll probably end up rooting for Argentina in the final, but for now Je suis Mathieu de Paris – Allez Les Blues.
As photographers whose offices had determined the rest of their World Cup, us traveling alone spent a few hours researching rare availability of hotels in Brasilia, the country’s capital. Thanks to the excellent Booking Dot Com – we got a belter! We trust this website which we use all year round and unlike some photographers who were shown a lovely hotel room in the internet before they arrived and ended up in a horrible room above a Sex Shop, it’s best to stick with what you know best!
Last attempts in trying to beat the transport system failed us. We can’t get to the North. Match schedules of 5pm then 1pm matches make it impossible to do a game a day and cover this World Cup like we have done the past four.
I don’t want days off. I lose my rhythm. I need to suck out of this country as many pictures as possible to first pay for the extravagant six week long experience. My holidays are in Italy with my favourite rock band Simple Minds in the beautiful surroundings of Mount Etna in the stunning town of Taromina on the island of Sicily.
I will have to come up with other subject to photograph on my forced days off. I quite fancy a helicopter trip over the building of the Olympic Stadium here in Rio. I think I have enough images of stereo typical locals kicking footballs in the street.
The French fans we stereo typical though.
As always, they celebrated their country in their unique style.
Even Baggy Bird made a friend!
The Ecuador fans were equally as passionate. I must have taken about 400 pictures before the game kicked off! By the start of play we had 20 images on the wire. The process of sending images back to the UK is working well – apparently the UK press used lots of my captures this morning from the England bore-draw.
Sat in a prime spot in the Maracana, I’d gladly take the remainder of this World Cup as a disaster for the same spot at the Final and have a great final. I awaited the events to unfold. Though, yet again nothing was happening!
Soon though, my eyes and concentration drifted from the game. I just knew I was in for another 0-0. Not many tackles were taking place, not much action to shoot either – just library pictures of the players in front of me.
Even if I did miss six goals today, it did not matter to me, so I removed all the need for goals and celebrations from my head and went down the features root for my wants list.
The players made great subjects.
I always do M Sagna when he plays for Arsenal, but coupled with a few of his French counterparts and some of the opposition, I made a nice hair style story.
It was so nice to return to a game under floodlights. Once upon a time, I used to crave for beautiful sunshine and nice shadows but digital photography is so much more easier under artificial and constant light. Today I used a 600mm lens, just wishing that the stadiums back home had such excellent lights. My pictures were so crisp with lovely saturation, direct out of the camera, nothing had to be adjusted.
The big incident was when Antonio Valencia burst down the wing. I love shooting this player at Manchester Untied and when he plays for Ecuador I see another side of his game.
A French player seemed to tackle him, and the two of them tumbled to the ground.
The Frenchman stayed down suffering from an injury for a short time. The next thing I knew, Valencia was walking to the dug outs. Thankfully Maurice, a Dutch guy, sitting next to me shouted RED CARD.
I had no idea that he had been shown a red card – and I was about 15 feet away!
I looked through my images again and re-sent some of the seemingly innocent tackle, but then noticed one picture in particular.
Valencia appeared to land on the Frenchman’s leg.
The Ecuador fans shouted PUTA at the referee as Antonio’s World Cup was over.
After that, Ecuador tried and tried to attack but could not match what Switzerland were doing elsewhere. I say elsewhere as I had no idea where they were playing. Folks back home were more up to date with the goings on and educated me at pitch side.
Thankfully from receiving messages using Viber on the internet, I was told of the Swiss victory so knew Ecuador had not qualified. Sometimes being close to the action, I am the last to know the goings on – red cards included!
Some sad faces amongst the Ecuador fans as another team left the Brazil World Cup.
There is no only one more group game then its proper knockout soccer ball – though I think I will have to change my nationality once more as I feel that France will be on an aeroplane back to Charles de Gaulle airport very soon.