The Drive is still alive
Except for the team of 5 Paraguayans running up and down the streets waving their flags, it was dead. It made me wonder if Italy's departure was going to affect the fans and action on Commercial Drive.
I was wishing I hadn't banked on Italy making the round of 16. Turns out, it's all good for now.
This morning was the busiest I've seen Commercial Dive. It's 7am, both Portugal and Brazil are playing and fans from both teams are packed into places with standing room only. Brazil fan Al and his wife Jessica watched from outside the Portuguese club with a portable TV, tuned into the game on CBC.
"We're here for the atmosphere, it's not as sweaty out here," Al says as he shows me his TV that is playing the game in HD. Actually very good quality. Al is Brazilian and mentions that Italians are honorary Brazilians and Brazilians are honorary Italians. This gives me some hope that the Italians will come out and play on Commercial even though their team has been vanquished.
Even DeVino restaurant, which is not usually open till 11am is packed and is hosting a $7 World Cup breakfast during the game.
The Libra room was to capacity with the Samba drums beating and people decked out in green and yellow. I was hoping to meet up with some fans, but finding anyone in that crowd is near impossible.
Again, it is only 7am!
"Yes, the Drive is still alive," says Portugal fan Jose Branco. Despite the Italian coffee shops that are feeling some pain after Italy's dismissal from the first round he still feels that a lot of people will come down to cheer on other teams.
"Commercial Drive is the World Cup. It's about all the countries of the World Cup. It's about celebrating the beautiful game."
My natural optimism wants to buy in, but I think his theory stands as long as Brazil or Portugal remains in the mix. At the moment, I'm back at Joe's Cafe watching the Spain and Chile game, and although the enthusiasm is alive, it's not the crowd I saw this morning.
So for now everything is good here on the Drive, just get down and take it in before it's all over because just as the Italians didn't make the round of 16, nothing is guaranteed
To get your very own Commercial Drive World Cup experience, enter the CBC Vancouver soccer mania contest to win the final World cup weekend on the Drive.
Enjoy World Cup soccer!
Join me on twitter at coreena007.
Hot spots for Portugal:
Joe's Cafe & the Portuguese Club (however the strip of restaurants and coffee shops on Commercial are also great spots to watch).
Portuguese Club: Get there early; there is a line-up at 6:30am.
Great Portuguese breakfast snack: Pasteis de Nata. It's a custard pastry that is very Portuguese (as much as salted cod and sardines) and pairs well with espresso. Thank-you Jose for letting me try one!
About the Author
Coreena Robertson (Vancouver)
Coreena Robertson is a seasoned sports producer and experienced sports broadcaster who loves to cover sports at both the community and professional level. She has interviewed high profile celebrities and sports stars such as LeBron James and the late Paul Newman, but also loves hanging out at the local pitch.