20th Aug 2009 - South American Adventure
Go Boca Juniors!
Well, it is my last official full day in South America. I enjoyed it by sleeping in (I blame the red wine from last night) and then wandering and shopping around the city. I walked quite a considerable distance into the different barrios of B.A. It was a gorgeous day. The sun was shining and it was about 18 degrees outside...for the locals that meant down filled jackets, boots and scarves.
I enjoyed a lovely lunch at a cafe and was surprised to find a vegetable stir-fry on the menu and it was really good. I had to have chocolate mousse for dessert...I can´t resist it when it is on the menu. Then it was home to the apartment to get ready for my football (soccer) game pick up.
If you know anything about soccer, you will know about the Boca Juniors. They are probably one of the most famous South American teams. The infamous Maradona came from this club and the blue and yellow colours are found all over the city (and even the rest of the country). I was very lucky to get tickets, as the regular season hasn´t commenced yet due to fighting with the TV networks or money and television rights. It is apparently now resolved and the season is starting this weekend...but I will already be gone. Luckily, the South American Cup is on right now. Teams from all over the continent are playing to claim the ultimate title and bragging rights. I booked tickets for the only Boca game, which happened to coincide with my last night in town. I soon learned that they were playing against Velez, a local team from Liniers (another BA barrio), who are this past year´s champions. Boca won the year before, so the rivalry promised to be good. We arrived with an hour to spare before the game even started. It was great. We were sitting in a section very close the Velez supporters. Their designated area is protected by dozens of cops, fencing and they have a separate entrance. It was a good 30 minutes to game time and the Velez supporters went nuts. Cheering, banging drums, chanting, etc. It was phenomenal. I couldn´t believe it. Of course, the Boca supporters wouldn´t be outdone and from that moment on, the rest of the game had everyone in the stands jumping and cheering. They didn´t stop once. I am sure many BA residents are going to have a hoarse voice at work on Friday.
The game started and the Bocas were quick to score a goal. I managed to get a very fuzzy video of it. I had hoped to get a better video later, but it was to be the only Boca goal. I was sitting beside Miguel from Italy and I mentined that it would be neat to see Velez score, as their supporters were incredibly passionate, I could only imagine what would happen when they score. In the second half, they did score and they went bezerk. I have a video of their cheering...but it isn´t very PG, so I didn´t post it. The game resulted in a tie. The two teams will face each other again soon, the winner will advance on to the second level of the race for the Cup. It promises to be a good game.
The crazy atmosphere of the game, the skill level of the players and finally getting to see a professional soccer game made my last night a great one. I had a smile plastered on my face the whole evening.
Now, I have mentioned before that Boca is a very unsafe neighbourhood. So, you can imagine how worried I was when we started to exit with the throngs of Boca fans into the most dangerous barrio. I was oddly more concerned about my camera, than my personal safety. However, it was really quite a tranquil walk to our waiting van. People were chatting about the game and discussing player statistics (I asked my guide what they were saying...I am not that good at Spanish). I have had worse walks out of a Maple Leafs game. I feel that perhaps the energy might have been different if we had won or lost the game, but I was grateful for the peaceful walk among some of the most dangerous areas.
A great last night in town...buenos noches.
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