What is it about an upcoming trip that brings everyone out of the woodwork with their awesome travel advice? I’m told the same thing happens when you’re planning a wedding or expecting a baby, but who has time for that stuff when there’s a World Cup around the corner?!
In case any of you are also planning a trip to Brazil in the next few weeks, here are my 10 favorite pieces of (largely unsolicited) World Cup advice. Some came from friends/coworkers and some came from more official sources, but I assure you it’s unfortunately all true.
1) “You’re going to Brazil in June? Isn’t it going to be super hot?” Umm, probably? I don’t know. I’ve mentioned before that I’m terrible at time zones, so you can probably imagine how useless I am at hemispheres. However I do have access to Wikipedia and have a weather app on my phone. Also, newsflash, it’s hot in Indiana in June too.
2) “If you’re being mugged, don’t scream.” This little gem actually came from Brazilian officials. Apparently you’re less likely to get murdered if you don’t draw attention to the fact that you’re being robbed. Now, having never been mugged, I don’t exactly know what my reaction would be. But I can pretty much assure you I won’t have any control over it. So no promises.
3) “Make sure to bring condoms purchased in the US.” I will say, the girl in the picture that accompanied this particular story did look VERY regretful. So I’ll call this one good advice.
4) “You should just skip it, the US is going to lose.” First, yes we have a terrible draw, but we’re better than people seem to think and I have faith. Second, if I avoided all sporting events my team didn’t have a chance to win, well let’s just say I would have had a lot more free Saturday afternoons in college. (Go Boilers!) Finally, 31 teams are going to “lose” so did you call all of their fans too?
5) “Don’t drink the water!” Ah the old classic. Don’t worry, I’m told they have beer in Brazil. Good to go.
6) “Don’t tell anyone you’re an American.” I think maybe the American flag I’ll be wearing as a cape might give me away. Though the jersey I’ll be wearing does look a whole lot like the French flag, so maybe that will confuse them?
*To be fair on this one I usually don’t volunteer this information when travelling, but this is a little bit different. It’s hard to hide your nationality when the words to one of the songs you’ll be singing are literally “U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A!”
7) “Don’t use credit cards.” “Don’t use ATMs.” “Don’t carry cash.” Yep I’ve heard all three. I don’t know a ton about the Brazilian economy, but I assume I’m going to have to pay for things. So if anyone has any other ideas I’m open to suggestions.
8) “Make sure you get enough sleep!” Hahahahaha.
9) “Make sure you see the big Jesus!” Well I would love to see Christ the Redeemer. The problem is it’s in Rio. The US plays its group stage games in northern Brazil. Brazil is MASSIVE. I’m not going to deal with the nightmare that is domestic travel in Brazil to see a statue, even a really cool one.
10) This one is my personal favorite. “Make sure you learn Spanish. They’ll like you more if you speak their language.” I would love to learn Spanish, I’m just not sure how helpful it would be on this particular trip since they speak Portuguese in Brazil. Also, this advice came 3 days ago. Considering I’ve been trying to learn French for 15 years and can barely order dinner, I’d say the ship has sailed on learning a language by mid June.
Now if anyone out there has been to a World Cup, or to Natal in northern Brazil, I really would appreciate any helpful advice you have. And don’t worry, we already have a map to the World’s Largest Cashew Tree, so we’re all set on that.