• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

In honour of my old dad, I'm flying down to Rio for the World Cup

My Dad would have understood. He loved his football.

Well, he sort of did - he supported Rangers. And he did enjoy travelling - following the sun to Corfu, Magaluf, Miami and all the various exotic and warmer climes you can fly to direct from Glasgow.

He'd have understood. My father died nearly three years ago and thanks to lawyers and more lawyers, paperwork, forms and red tape, we've finally settled his estate.

Due to the sale of his ex-council house - ironic isn't it because we both hated Thatcher with a passion - I'm now in possession of a reasonable, though not exactly bountiful, crack-open-the-cigars-and-take-up-fox-hunting legacy.

I've decided to spend it. Or at any rate a large part of it. I'm going to Brazil. To the World Cup.

Here's the plan: my travelling companion, the passepartout to my Phileas Fogg, will be my girlfriend Koula who, to the relief of me and I suppose her, is the polar opposite of a tubby little French bloke. And what's more, she's told me she won't at any time be providing ballast in a hot air balloon. Koula is not really a football fan but she is a proud Greek. Well, an Aussie Greek.

Being Greek and me loving her as well as souvlaki have led me to decide to follow her national team.

Greece.Hellas. Or if you prefer and can read Cyrillic script - Ελλάδα.

It's been pretty much a last minute thing - we only booked yesterday, don't have any tickets or accommodation and will be pretty operating by touch. When I asked Koula if she was up for the trip she instantly answered - 'Sim Senior'.

Not Senhor, you'll have noticed. Senior. A good start.

First off - like on Thursday - we're flying to Los Angeles to catch Greece's first game. With any luck we'll find a Greek sports bar, failing that any sports bar, failing that a spot outside a downtown outlet of Radio Rentals.

The opponents are Colombia, a prospect which'll be interesting if not entirely devoid of trepidation - after all who can ever forget Andres Escobar, the Colombian defender who was killed after conceding an own goal.

I bet big Bob Malcolm is glad he wasn't born in Bogota.

From there, assuming we survive, we'll fly down to Rio, just like in the Mike Nesmith song, en route to Natal, the North-Eastern Brazilian city where Greece will play Japan on the 19th.

I've been checking out the city of Natal and like what I hear. It's a medium sized place by Brazilian standards - one million population - and it's said to enjoy a tropical climate, lots of sandy white beaches and a relatively low crime rate, give or take the odd watch, wallet or bum bag.

From Natal, depending on how the money's looking, we'll look to fly on to Fortaleza where the boys - by that time I'll be calling them that - take on Ivory Coast, Didier Drogba and all.

After that, who knows? If Greece get through to the next round, we might follow them. It's all a bit up in the air - as we will be come Thursday.

Brazil being a huge, diverse country we're actually quite lucky in the cities the Greek team will play in. For instance, if we'd been supporting England - unlikely I know - we'd have to travel to the edges of the Mato Grosso, which anyone with an 'O' grade in Geography will remember as being a huge impenetrable jungle. (A bit like Parkhead before the renovations).

So that's it then, we're going. I wouldn't like to say how much it's going to cost except to let you know that when we return my inheritance might only exist in the form of a memory.

But what a memory. My dad would have understood. But, looking on as the price of the trip races away in the far distance, I'm not entirely sure I do.

Contextual targeting label: 
Travel

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

239373