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World Cup 2014

Warmth and beauty amid the danger

Visitors will fall in love with Salvador if they tread carefully to avoid crime

Published on Jun 19, 2014 11:55 AM

It is close to midnight in one of Brazil's most dangerous cities. But like masked crusaders, Jose Arellano, Juan Arjona, Jose Bineso and Fernando Gomez patrol Salvador's Porto da Barra beach in the moonlight.

Sporting masks like those worn by Lucha Libre (Mexican free-style) wrestlers, the quartet are an intimidating sight. Their appearance, however, betrays their intentions.

"We're just out here to have fun, to take pictures with other fans, to enjoy the World Cup," said Arellano, still panting after an impromptu session of keep-ball with some English and Italian fans.

It is the first World Cup for Arellano and his friends. And although the 29-year-olds are well aware of Salvador's reputation as a hot-bed of crime, they didn't think twice about making the trip to Brazil's north-east from their homeland of Mexico.

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