SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) --As World Cup fever heats up, die-hard fans are organizing Bay Area parties and get-togethers and those who are lucky enough to travel to Brazil are getting ready to go.
The U.S. World Cup team arrived in Sao Paulo Monday and held its first training session. The team will be facing Ghana, the team that eliminated them from the last two World Cups.
There are lots of venues for catching the games including sports bars and even some theaters. Shanghai Kelley's is one of those venues. They usually don't open until 1 p.m. but a bartender says he'll be at work at 8:30 a.m. Thursday because that's when the U.S. will face Ghana.
World Cup tickets are the hottest tickets in the sports world and Jesus Hernandez has some. He leaves for Brazil in a couple days. "It's a once in a lifetime opportunity to get to experience it with my dad," he told ABC7 News.
Hernandez will be traveling with his father Abundio. It will be a first for them both, but his friend Johnny Diaz is a pro. This will be his third. He says tickets were a little tougher to get this time around. "South Africa was a lot easier to get because it's a farther destination. But it being in South America, you're going to have everybody in Central America and South America there because it's so easy to get to," he said.
In the run up to the World Cup, there have been several protests against the mega-sporting event because of all the resources being diverted to building stadiums. In Sao Paulo Monday, there were clashes between the police and protestors who are supporting an ongoing strike by subway operators.
Still, Hernandez and his travel group are undeterred. "It's just like traveling to Mexico. You just have to be vigilant of your surroundings. You're not going to be careless and be walking somewhere where you shouldn't be going," he said.
The games they'll be watching will keep them out of Sao Paulo which has been the focus of most of the demonstrations. They'll be following games played by the United States and Mexico, which will be in Natal, Fortaleza, and Recife.
They're hoping to simply have a great time enjoying the games and taking in the whole experience. "Part the World Cup is meeting people from all over the world," Diaz said.