SAO PAULO (AP) — The streets seem too quiet, diners and souvenir stores, empty.
For two whole days now, the globe has gone without World Cup soccer matches in this most electrifying of tournaments in decades. There were no matches on Wednesday and Thursday as teams still standing took a break before heading into Friday's quarterfinal matches.
All the non-action has left some fans simply bored.
Others are using the time to do simple chores that are impossible to get done when the ball rolls in soccer-loving nations, either because they cannot tear themselves away from the TV or because entire nations like Brazil shut down due to declared holidays on game days.
"I wish every day was a game day," said Flavio Teixeira, owner of a retail store that sells soccer jerseys and flags. Teixeira was sitting on a plastic chair waiting for customers to stop by his shop right by Sao Paulo's Fan Fest. "Two days ago, this would have been flooded. It's so different."
It's not just the emptier restaurants and stores — it's locals missing the vibe from the rocking Fan Fests and the sight of foreigners dressed in their country's colors chanting in the street, in subway stations or on plazas or beaches.
Still, from Brazil to Argentina to Colombia, soccer fans are also taking advantage of the break.
Women headed out to the salon to get nails done and tousled hair tamed. Others went to malls, most of which close when Brazil plays or when there is a Cup match in their city.
"I hadn't had time to buy my 2-year-old a Brazil jersey," said Claudio Ferreira, 43, who works as a security guard in Sao Paulo. "There is always too much going on."
In Colombia, people are filling the match void by talking nonstop of that nation's epic game with Brazil on Friday. It's all people discuss in restaurants and at work.