It's raining but that's not stopping anyone in Rio today. The banners on the street are soaking wet, huge sheets striped thickly red and black, hanging from windows and light posts. The corner bars are packed to capacity, all necks craned towards the 15 inch television in the corner. Gunshots and fireworks intermittently explode, together with men's outraged or joyous voices in a chorus that echoes throughout the city.
Today is Sunday. God's day...and futebol's. Soccer. And today is THE match of the year between the black and white Botafogo team, and the exuberantly popular red and black of Flamengo.
Passion in Rio de Janeiro is best described in terms of soccer, because I'm not sure that men here even love their beer as much as they love their soccer team. The only thing that gets a man more worked up to tears or fists? His mother.
I am without a television, but I don't need one to know how the game is going. I just stick my head out the window. The neighbor across the street hangs out the window at every Flamengo goal, waving his shirt like a flag and joining in the deafening roar. Every opposition goal? Sounds like Armageddon has come.
Me? I'm immune to the passion. The passion, that is, of Botafogo, Vasco, Fluminense, and all those other disillusioned teams. SOU FLAMENGUISTA! ALL THE WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!