Sunday, February 27, 2011

Futbol de Argentina: Racing vs Bocas

Saturday night in Buenos Aires is a rather wild scene. Add some futbol (soccer in U.S. gringo lingo) to the mix and it becomes downright out of control! We arrived at the Racing stadium at seven - two hours before match time - and the streets on all sides had already been transformed into writhing masses of Porteños (Buenos Aires locals).

Forest and I went to the game with a huge group of other gringos - an entire tour bus full of Australians, Dutch, Germans, Canadians, English, Swedes, and a few other Americans. It turned out to be a very fun and spirited young crowd to go with, but nothing compared to what we witnessed inside the stadium.
Moat with barbed wire surrounding the field

Soccer is more than a pastime for Argentinians - as evidenced by the popular slogan "Futbol es Vida" - and apparently brawls are quite common between fans of opposite sides here. As such, the home fans all sit in the same sections and have to arrive almost two hours before the game so as to reduce the risk of violence once the away fans are allowed in the area (about half an hour before the game). The away fans had their own section as well, of course, and they were not hesitant to make their presence known - in fact they kept up a ear-splitting ruckus throughout the entire game. The interesting thing about the away crowd though was that they maintained maximum volume throughout the entire match, creating the odd effect of not being able to determine based on crowd reaction whether a call was for or against their team.

The section we were in was quite obviously the "tourist/families with young children" section. Surrounded by police in riot-gear with shotguns on both sides, followed by fences topped with barbed wire, an empty section with more police, and another fence with more barbed wire, we served as a pretty efficient buffer between the home crowd and the away crowd, and there was very little risk of intermingling.

Bocas, the away team, ended up winning 1 - 0. The Bocas fans nearly brought the stadium down with their raucous cheering - we could actually feel the cement underfoot rocking back and forth at several points during the game.

Afterwards the Bocas crowd had to exit before anyone else was let out. And of course, having won, they stayed and rocked the stadium for a good half hour after the final whistle - the home fans had no choice but to sit and take it as the Bocas loyal rubbed it in their faces. Finally the police ousted them and they all left on two enormous open wagons, escorted by more police on horseback.We got back to our hostel at 2 A.M., just as most porteños were heading to the clubs to begin their Saturday night.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Recoleta Cemetery

A few snaps from our day at this ancient cemetery in Buenos Aires. 

God made mud.
God got lonesome.
So God said to some of the mud, “Sit up!”
“See all I’ve made,” said God, “the hills, the sea, the sky, the stars.”
And I was some of the mud that got to sit up and look around.
Lucky me, lucky mud.
I, mud, sat up and saw what a nice job God had done.
Nice going, God.
Nobody but you could have done it, God! I certainly couldn’t have.
I feel very unimportant compared to You.
The only way I can feel the least bit important is to think of all the mud that didn’t even get to sit up and look around.
I got so much, and most mud got so little.
Thank you for the honor!
Now mud lies down again and goes to sleep.
What memories for mud to have!
What interesting other kinds of sitting-up mud I met!
I loved everything I saw!

- Kurt Vonnegut

Buenos Aires

Wow, que loco! Buenos Aires is a pretty indescribable city. I might give it a try at some point when I'm running on a little bit more sleep (aka not while I am still in Buenos Aires). For now, here are a few photos from my first couple of days here with Forest.

The grub is pretty good here, even though meat is what it's all about. 

The streets throughout the city are just beautiful. Cobblestone lined with gorgeous trees.


Bocas is one of my favorite neighborhoods, tons of character and plenty of color.