Our Man in Brazil: World Cup diary with Alastair Yeomans

World Cup Diary with Scarborough's Alastair Yeomans
World Cup Diary with Scarborough's Alastair Yeomans

Wednesday June 18:

Off to Sao Paulo this morning for England’s second group game against Uruguay.

It’s another packing exercise so you have to get everything just right.

Our hotel in Rio has a decent laundry, although I inherited someone’s underpants when my latest batch came back – Calvin Kleins – nice, but no good to me.

They were made for a much slimmer man!

I used to wash my own on long trips away but ever since I put a load out to dry on my balcony in Townsville, Queensland a few years back and they blew away in the wind, I prefer the laundry nowadays.

I can still see the puzzled look of the people many storeys below as my ‘smalls’ drifted down around their ears.

Making sure to empty the room safe is another must.

Security is an issue in Brazil. We had been warned to take a ‘false wallet’ with us in case we were confronted by muggers.

The advice was, if you are approached by someone asking for your money, give them the wallet with a few notes in it and never attempt to resist, whether they are armed with a weapon or not.

At the time of writing, there have been a few incidents of bags being pilfered when left unattended for a few seconds, but nothing too serious.

There are two sides to the country – I have rarely seen some many smiling, welcoming faces, but poverty is rife and there are some desperate people about.

Other aspects of life also seem strange to us.

The sight of hungry, stray dogs roaming around many of the cities, weaving in and out of the heavy traffic, is unsettling and upsetting.

But then when you are stationary in a car and little children come up to the windows juggling or trying to sell bottled water for a few coins, you realise the poorer people have other priorities.

Sao Paulo is a huge, sprawling city about an hour’s flight from Rio de Janeiro.

It’s the biggest city in South America and has a population of more than 11 million.

The weather has changed. From sun and high twenties in Rio, showers and possible storms are forecast here today and tomorrow.

It’s also said to be quite cool on match day, which could suit England.

BBC Radio Five Live has had the privilege, as one of the host broadcasters, to conduct a number of ‘sit down’ interviews with the England party in our hotel in Rio.

Footballers sometimes get a bad name for their attitude on the pitch but, without exception, the England players here have been polite and courteous.

They’ve taken time to pose for photographs with the fans who have paid their way to be here and have happily signed autographs.

We are journalists and are usually impartial but we desperately hope that the England team, our team, wins against Uruguay.