Foreign fans in Manaus forced to stay in ‘love hotel’
England fan Marc Cummings was not planning to stay in a Brazilian ‘love hotel’ opposite a brothel when he came to Manaus for the World Cup.
But a shortage of accommodation in the hot and humid Amazon city forced him to opt for Hotel Opcao, a modest wooden building on a dark side street that usually rents out rooms to amorous couples by the hour.
The Opcao and its sister establishments lie in the red light district, a part of the city with bars, clubs and sex trade workers – the kind of place tourists are usually told to avoid, especially at night.
“It was either sleep in the street or sleep in the love hotel. And we have been propositioned every night,” Cummings told Reuters Television.
“I haven’t done a damned thing … but I have been very close,” he added with a laugh.
Love hotels are traditional Brazilian hideaways for couples seeking privacy from the prying eyes of parents or spouses.
The Opcao usually charges 15 reals ($7.50) for one hour, 20 reals for two. Night rates, between 7 p.m. and 7a.m., are higher. Seeing a chance to make some extra money, the hotel changed its business plan for the World Cup and sought more overnight guests.
During the tournament small, clean, basic rooms are going for 250 reals a night, with a three-night minimum. The hotel also hired an English- and Spanish-speaking student to help handle the foreign visitors.
Suspected Mexican drug trafficker arrested at World Cup in Brazil
A suspected Mexican drug trafficker wanted in the United States was arrested in Rio de Janeiro on Monday night as he tried to board a plane to watch Mexico play, federal police said.
Federal police agents detained the 49-year old man at Rio’s international airport as he waited to board a plane to the northeastern city of Fortaleza. He was not identified.
“He had tickets to go to the Brazil-Mexico game today,” the police said in a statement, adding that the man is wanted for methamphetamine trafficking.
Federal police said the man was wanted by Interpol and was detected as soon as he crossed the border from Argentina on June 11.
US authorities were immediately alerted and have filed an extradition request, the police said.
Before his arrest the man had being staying at a hotel in Rio’s tourist district with his wife and two children, aged 29 and 17.
Two Argentine fans arrested for alleged racist chants
Two Argentine fans were arrested for chanting racist insults at Brazilians inside the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday, local police said.
Local media reported that the pair were making monkey gestures and calling Brazilian supporters “little monkeys” during Argentina’s 2-1 victory over Bosnia in World Cup Group F.
The arrests come just months after Brazilian footballer Dani Alves caused a media storm by eating a banana thrown at him by a Villareal fan while playing for Barcelona in Spain.
“Two Argentine tourists were allegedly shouting racist insults at Brazilians. They were taken to the police station where they were interviewed and released. The investigation is ongoing,” the civil police for Rio de Janeiro said in a statement sent to Reuters.
Brazilian daily Estadao reported that an elderly Brazilian father and his son reported the abuse to military police outside the stadium. Police suspect the Argentines might have been part of a small group that had broken into the stadium by scaling a wall, a moment captured on video by media outlet Globo.
There is a longstanding and tense rivalry between Brazil and Argentina, the two largest countries in South America. Brazil previously said it would beef up security in and outside stadiums where Argentina plays.
Aussie fans not only here for the beer
They may not regularly taste the glory that Australia’s rugby and cricket supporters do, but fans of the national team the Socceroos could not be more dedicated.
Several thousand have made the trip from Down Under over a couple of oceans to Brazil for the World Cup.
That involved a 30-hour journey from Sydney via Dubai to Rio for one group of friends gathered round a table at the Chale steak restaurant in the market square of the southern city of Porto Alegre.
“Brazil is a once-in-a-lifetime World Cup. You have to be in it,” said Stavros Stavrakakis, 27, a construction site supervisor.
“It’s Australia’s third World Cup in a row and that’s a feat in itself,” added George Fanos, 29, a project finance manager.
The trip took about a year of planning. As a bonus, members of the group supported a second team. Most were of Greek immigrant stock and so were also going to see Greece’s matches.
Added Fanos: “We are not the sort of side to sit back and we will shake them. It’s a question of putting away our chances.”
But so far they had no run into any of the violence, thefts, or other dangers of the sort that fans were forewarned they might fall victim to in Brazil.
“We’ve felt very welcome,” said Fanos. “The beer has been great and they do love the cheese here.”