I had just arrived in Porto Alegre (2008) with my girlfriend and happily took up the invitation of one of her friend's, Leandro, to watch a game of football.
Once we arrived at the stadium, Leandro told me to watch out for Grêmio's world famous "avalanche". "Huh?", I asked in my broken Portuguese.
"When a goal is scored, just RUUUN!", he said smiling.
To set the scene, all of the fanatics are placed in an area directly behind the goals where there is no seating. It's just an upward slant of concrete slabs filled to the brim with supporters screaming songs and profanities towards the referees. I surveyed the scene and got a little nervous knowing that we were right in the middle.
The game started and within the first 10 min, there was a penalty to Grêmio.
The moment the ball hit the net, it was like a trapdoor opened letting millions of litres of water gush out as everyone surged forward towards the bottom of the stand as one. I was bounding from step to step, desperately trying not to lose my flip flops and/or balance because falling over would have resulted in cheese-grater-like grazes all over my body. It reminded me of getting off/on a packed train in London - but at 20km/h.
Thankfully unscathed, I made the 20m trip to the bottom and it was high tens all round with randoms hugging randoms. Absolute bedlam.
This was nothing like I'd EVER witnessed. To get an idea, watch this vid.