I wrote it before - this group travels well - trained by years upon years of weekend soccer tournaments all over the country (and beyond) this group just gets it done.
Today the US Families traveled from São Paulo to Manaus in advance of the game tomorrow afternoon against Portugal. After we got here we took in the Germany-Ghana game and the end result of a tie helps us in some ways and may hurt us in others. But our boys will just go out and play Portugal as hard as they can and we will see how the group looks tomorrow night - no sense worrying too much about what you cannot control.
Our group has grown - we have probably the largest group we will have in Brazil - and we all piled into busses at 6:45am today to get to Viracopos Airport outside São Paulo. We have been flying in and out of Viracopos rather than the larger GRU which has been great - but it is further away. For those in California think of Viracopos as Burbank .... for those not in California think of Viracopos as Burbank (because I got nothing else on that). The four hour flight took us into Manaus where that airport resembled Long Beach Airport (for those in our outside of California). A relatively short bus ride later we arrived at our hotel -- which is nice but the Wireless is maddeningly ineffective. But if you consider the fact that we are in the Amazon Rain Forest there is a certain absurdity about being concerned with the wireless.
If you tuned into this award winning blog to find out our line-up for tomorrow night - that is very far above my pay grade ... cant help you there. But I have gotten to know these guys - I know I am going to be proud of whoever is out there representing our country and I think you should be as well.
Manaus is basically the Gateway to the Amazon Rain Forest. Today's weather aligned with the average June climate with high 80's in both temperature and humidity. For those who have not been to the Burbank or Long Beach Airports but have been to Houston - think Houston in June then increase the discomfort by 50%. Manaus averages 180 rainy days per year ... which in my mind kind of aligns with the whole concept of having a rain forest. Tomorrow is the first day of winter here - and we'll have temps in the high 80's, humidity in the high 80's and some rain.
Even though Manaus is isolated it still has a population of nearly 2 million. It is located where the Negro and Solimoes rivers join to form the Amazon River. I think that convention holds that the Solimoes is actually the upper part of the Amazon but I dont have a dog in that fight so I am just nodding and agreeing with anyone who has an opinion.
More to follow - sorry about the geography lesson - but people ... I'm at the Freaking Amazon Rain Forest !!! How awesome is that??? (Of course I am not being asked to run around at top speed for 90 minutes in the Amazon Rain Forest - like some of the other Americans here). Harry Davis (Brad's dad) told me that there are tigers and bears and gorillas walking the streets here ... I dont know if that is true but I dont think I am going to risk it.