RIO DE JANEIRO — World Cup fan Guillermo Jury has scored. He’s temporarily living out of a delivery truck in one Rio’s most sought-after parking areas: Copacabana’s Avenue of the Americas.
Jury and other fans drove for three days from their home in Cordoba in central Argentina, 3,000 kilometers away, in order to be a part of the World Cup, and got lucky to find a parking spot on the avenue.
“We had to wait a couple of hours, then we got lucky. This spot became available, so we parked here, facing the beach, just meters from the Fan Fest. We are very comfortable,” said Jury.
Thousands of fans are choosing to rough it in vehicles that range from the luxurious to the utilitarian -- and even historic. Why? So they can afford tickets to the games, which cost hundreds of dollars.
Lucas Valinotti heats water with his car’s cigarette lighter. The food is basic. But no Argentine will forego his daily matte, the herb-infused tea that is the national drink. He said he will never forget this experience.
“We are really enjoying it. You hear 20, 30, 40 languages at the same time. I’ve met people that I would never [have] met in my life and took pictures with some crazy ones. This is great,” said Valinotti.
They sleep anywhere they can. Franco Jofre from Buenos Aires said he and his two friends squeeze into his compact car when it rains. Otherwise they sleep on the sidewalk.
Jofre said they bathe in the public bathrooms. The main problem is that there are only 30 toilets for thousands of fans who gather here, but no one seems to mind.
“Everywhere it’s happy. [Everyone] wants to chat with people, meet new people. It’s just great, the World Cup, you know. It’s an amazing event, the biggest event in our time in history,” said Jofre.
Some illegally-parked vehicles have been fined or towed, but for these fans it’s worth it. Others pay hundreds of dollars a night for hotel rooms with this view. Here the view is free, even though it’s curbside.