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Hip Streets the Meeting Place for World Cup's Winners, Losers

by Kathy Jones on June 20, 2014 at 7:08 PM
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 Hip Streets the Meeting Place for World Cup's Winners, Losers

Where would you go to celebrate the win or drown your sorrows after watching a pulsating World Cup game?

You're in gigantic Sao Paulo, you're hip, you're wearing your team colors and, above all, you're thirsty.


Head for the heaving, bottle-strewn streets of bohemian quarter Vila Madalena, where the night is intense and young.

The district has become the "in" place for the World Cup crowd to let their post-match hair down in a host city where tournament fever is palpable since Brazil beat Croatia in the opening game at Corinthians Arena.

"After all those nerves and being surrounded by Brazilians keeping me quiet, now I want to party," hollered 22-year-old Mexican student Pablo Valdes after his country held the hosts to a goalless draw this week.

With a glass of beer in one hand and gripping a Mexican flag in the other, Valdes is swept up in the hordes of people enjoying post-match fun in Vila Madalena.

Putting his arm round a young woman he tells AFP that there's romance, as well as football, on the agenda round these parts.

But it has also become the home of the broken-hearted.

"Last week was terrible," says Spanish supporter Guillermo Chamizo, 27, recalling with a shudder his country's 5-1 thrashing by the Dutch ahead of a further loss to Chile which sealed the defending champions' fate.

"But that's all by the by now -- let's party," grins the engineer, who likely needed another drink after Spain's 2-0 defeat to Chile on Wednesday.

Brazilian student Marina Rodrigues, 20, hedged her bets ahead of Tuesday's Mexico game.

"If Brazil win, I drink caipirinha. If Brazil lose, then I console myself with tequila," she said.

She didn't say if the resulting draw meant mixing both tipples.

- Street bars -

The atmosphere lends itself to what the Brazilians call "paquerar" (flirting). Love respects neither borders nor flags as partygoers kiss and embrace with some abandon.

Vila Madalena, a western district of Sao Paulo, with its hundreds of restaurants, bars, fashion stores and art galleries is always packed with people, day and night. Dropping by from time to time is de rigueur for city residents, known as "paulistas."

Sao Paulo may not have the natural beauty nor the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, but it is famously proud of its rich palette of cultural offerings and its seething nightlife.

Vila Madalana has dozens of mobile street bars offering a wide range of refreshments to slake the thirst of the most demanding fan.

"Here everybody drinks a lot, whatever's going," says 45-year-old barman Andre Silva.

Around $6 for a glass of whisky, $12 for a large vodka -- just $2 for a slug of Brazilian cachaca liquor.

Naturally, there's no shortage of Brazil's signature drink, caipirinha.

- Pure party time -

Two students from London are here for the week and didn't seem bothered by their lack of game tickets.

"We have not left Vila," Chris Moghtader, 25, tells AFP.

"We're here to party. We tried to get a ticket but it was just impossible, So we're going to stay here and watch the games."

"Many people said it was dangerous and there were protests, that we'd get assaulted. But the truth is it's been fantastic," says his friend Sushil Kumar, 25, surrounded by a throng of new friends.

Both are clad in medieval knight's garb, while sports shoes poke out underneath. Part of the look means a sword for one hand -- but the other is free for plastic cup full of beer.

Source: AFP

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