The past couple of days have been very busy…
After our wonderful beach day we were awoken by the usual clouds that we have come accustomed to here in Brazil. That didn;t stop us from starting our day off with a little adventure through the jungle. We walked through rivers getting our pants and shoes soaking weak, climbed through rocks and dirt, but it was all worth it in the end when we saw the spectacular view of the waterfall. Some of us even jumped into the bottom of the waterfall and enjoyed taking pictures. This truly was a scene made by artists. In the end we hiked back through our path and were exhausted and cold, but not one of us regretted doing it. The rest of the day was filled with free time, where some of us relaxed while others went shopping. After dinner we played a society game against a local team (in the pouring rain might I add) and didn’t get back to the hotel until close to 11pm. Following showers, some of us and the coaches went to a local pizza restaurant where were enjoyed various kinds of sauces and toppings and conversed with the hotel owner and employees.
Today we woke up extra early and traveled more than two hours to Santos. There we ate lunch at a McDonalds and it was actually quite different than ones at home. They still had bigmacs and fries, but their chicken was battered differently and they had different meal options. We then toured the Santos FC stadium where Pele played and it was quite different than the Sao Paulo stadium. Both teams are well known in Brazil as well as the country, but Santos still keeps its old stadium intact. Of course it was renovated but the stadium is quite small which allows for tickets to be very hard to get. We also splurged in the Santos merchendice for us and our loved ones. We then traveled to a soccer complex where we played a Santos FC girls team that was our age. Again, it was in the pouring rain and the fields were very muddy and hard to run and cut in. These girls were amazing and from my point of view on the bench, very interesting to watch. Every single one of them had amazing skill and quickness and many times they knew where each other was without even talking. Within a few minutes, we could all tell how elite this club was to be apart of. Regardless, we put up a fight, with no subs and many hurting.
On our way back to the hotel, we stopped at a small stand and were unaware as to what we were doing there. Our translator informed us that this small place is very well known in Brazil and there were pictures lined up with celebrities at the stand. They made either chicken or beef, with choices of cheese and tomatoes in a crust-like taco. This was by far my favorite Brazilian food I have tried (close to the avocado ice pop).
Now we are back at the hotel, packing and relaxing. Tomorrow we will either stay here for the day at the beach or if the weather is bad, travel back to Sao Paulo in the morning and go shopping at a mall in the city. Our flight leaves at 12 something am and we should arrive in Newark after our layover in Miami around 1. This trip has been unbelievable, both the soccer and tourism. It is amazing to see how soccer has such an impact on a country and it is much different than the United States. Many of us are antsy to be back with our families and eat some familiar food again, but when we look back on the pictures and memories, we will have wished this trip never ended.