World Cup blog: It was like heading into war zone, says our man in Brazil (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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But at least my luggage turned up...
Updated 4:51pm Tuesday 10th June 2014 in Football
The first day in Brazil has been interesting, writes Justin Cook in the first of his World Cup blogs for the Gazette and Herald.
I touched down in São Paulo at 06:10hrs and the first obstacle I had to overcome was my luggage had been left at Heathrow the day before... aaahhh.
After dealing with that my mood was brightened as I started to see all the different footballing countries fans arriving.
The assortment of different coloured shirts and languages being spoken really gave the arrivals hall a massive buzz.
The Mexicans seems to be the loudest and most animated.
I bought my bus ticket and waited and waited and waited. The bus was meant to leave at 09:00hrs for the short 17km journey into the city of São Paulo.
We finally boarded at 11:00hrs and out little posse of a German lawyer, Mexican business man, cardiac nurse from San Francisco and primary school teacher from Los Angeles started our journey.
Due to the metro workers still being on strike over a pay rise (Bob Crow would've loved the challenge here) the metros were not running and the journey instead of taking the normal 50 minutes actually took us four hours!
It was also incredibly surreal watching the television in the bus which showed the helicopters view of the traffic gridlocked all the way from the airport to the city that we were actually in.
We watched out of the bus window onto the lower highway while the police tried to break up a demonstration with tear gas and charges, whilst also watching the thing unfold live on the bus television.
It felt like we were heading into a war zone and not the World Cup.
The tension in the city was obvious with angry drivers arguing with each other trying to get to their destination at a snail's pace.
As I wake up this morning the news is that the metro strike is suspended while talks continue
If no agreement is reached then come Thursday (opening game of World Cup in São Paulo between Brazil and Croatia) the strike is back on and this will make it virtually impossible for fans to get to the stadium.
I think that we are approaching a watershed with FIFA and Brazil.
Oh yes, forgot to mention my luggage arrived first thing this morning so brushing my teeth and changing into fresh clothes was awesome...
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