From now on, call me Michelinha!
Boa Noite from Natal, where the US plays Ghana on Monday. It took 9 hours to get here from my Sao Paulo hotel to Natal hotel, including a three-and-a-half-hour flight on Gol (only in Brazil!) and when I arrived in "The City of Sunshine'' it was POURING RAIN. And I mean, pouring. They say Natal gets 300 days of sunshine. Clearly, we got unlucky. The rain put a major damper on the beachside FanFest. When we passed it in the bus, it was all wet and nobody was there.
Interesting town in the northeast of Brazil. It is so far East that it is quicker to fly to Portugal and Africa from here than to the southern part of Brazil. It is a beach town (pop 850,000) known for its shrimp (had some tonight -- delicious!) and sand dunes and pineapples (can vouch for this, too. Great pineapples, less acidic and sweeter than even the Hawaiian variety).
Natal means Christmas in Portuguese. The town was founded on Dec. 25, 1599 and there are many Christmas references around town. Here is what it looks like from my hotel window: