GOOOOAAAALLL!

Buenos Aires Travel Blog

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The view from the Boca Juniors Stadium

            I woke up on Sunday morning very excited and anxious. Today was the day we would go to the Boca Juniors Stadium to watch the Boca Juniors vs. Arsenal game. For those of you who aren’t big soccer fans, or who don’t know much about Argentine soccer, let me give you a quick overview.

            Soccer is HUGE in Argentina. It is without a doubt, the #1 sport. In the United States, there might be a mention of soccer for about 2 minutes on Sports Center.

The intense crowd at the game
However in many countries including Argentina, it is life! Families will save up life savings to send their children to elite soccer academies. Businesses and stores will shut down for important soccer games. School will be called off for World Cup Games. In essence, soccer is a national passion that dwells deep within all.

            With this being said, you all can understand how intense the soccer games can be. If you’ve never attended an Argentine soccer game, or a South American soccer game, it should be on the list of things you do before you die. The crowd at these games are INTENSE! People go crazy! There is a section of the stadium that does not sit down the ENTIRE time.

Luq & Hannah Boca Junior'ed out!
You can barely hear among the chanting, singing and cheering by the massive amount of fans. There are even people who climb through barb wire to get close to the team. There are armed guards and police that stand in the section between the Boca fans and the visiting team sections. When you look into the stadium it was literally is a sea of blue and yellow. These Boca Junior fans make American fans look LAME.

Consequently, this fervent dedication conveys the strong cultural ties soccer has to Latin & South America. Soccer is a very big part of these people’s lives. It is a past time that is imperative to the livelihood of these countries. Families become divided between opposing soccer teams. Young boys are groomed to become great soccer players. Girls dream about marrying famous soccer players. Now some people may say that this passion is crazy. However, I personally admire the devotion. It is not easy to be so dedicated to something. It is very hard to stay committed and focused on a team, or rather on anything. It takes a certain type of person to be able to have that kind of passion and motivation. Thus, I find it refreshing that the Argentines as well as other Latinos care so much about soccer. It’s not everyday that I encounter people like this in the States.

            Anyways, to get ready for the game, Luq and I decided that we needed to blend in better. Thus we went on a mission to find Boca Juniors paraphernalia. We wanted to get jerseys to wear to the game. However, not just any old jerseys, we wanted yellow jerseys. For those of you who know Luqman, you know that the love of his jerseys runs DEEP. There have been many moments on this trip where I’ve often wondered if Luqman came for a cultural experience, spiritual growth or if he really just came to go on a jersey shopping spree. Anyways, that’s beside the point. I will blog about Luqman’s shopping habits in a later entry. We headed to Florida Street to see if we could find our beloved yellow Jerseys. We hopped on the subway and took the line to San Martin. We got off and started walking around the various shops. We soon realized that we had run into some problems. The jerseys that we were finding were in a predominantly blue style. Also, the majority of shops were closed. Now being in the easy going, pleasant and optimistic person that I am, I suggested to my cohort that perhaps we should buy blue jerseys instead. When I said this to Luq, he looked at me with pure disgust and shock. How dare I suggest that he wear the blue jersey! Did I not understand that I was asking him to lower his standards? His facial expression looked as though I had suggested something to the equivalent of “Hey Luq, can you wear only 10 layers instead of 15?” For those of you who know Luq, you know that the man LAYERS his clothing. I like to equate him to one of the Russian dolls. You know the ones that you open only to find that there’s another doll underneath. You open that doll to find that there’s yet another doll. You keep going and going, hoping to find the end to the madness, only you never really do. Anyways, you all get the idea…

            Dejectedly, we looked around for a sign. Something that would tell us what to do. Something that would indicate where we should go or the location of a shop that was selling the beloved yellow Boca Juniors jersey. Quintessentially, we were looking for divine intervention. As we marinated on these feelings, suddenly, something caught the corner of my eye that brought about a smile on my face. All of a sudden, I had a surge of positive energy flow through me. This object my friends, was the two golden arches. That’s right, I saw McDonalds.      

            Okay so McDonalds really didn’t help with our quest to find the yellow jerseys and it certainly wasn’t divine intervention, however the muffins we ate there were amazing. I wish the McDonalds in the US had McCafes that sold dulce de leche muffins and such. After finishing our muffins, we headed to Retiro bus station, the “hood” as Luq calls it, to see if we could find better luck over there. We entered the same store as we did the other day when Luq bought the jerseys for his brother, and the sales woman instantly recognized us. I asked her if she recognized me, she said yes, but more importantly, she recognized “el negro guapo.” That’s the handsome black man for those of you who don’t know Spanish. Anyways, we asked if she had any yellow Boca jerseys. She said yes and went to go retrieve them. When she came back she informed us that she only had that jersey in select sizes. This caused Luq to be concerned. Surely, they had to have size XXXXXXXXL that he wears. Okay I’m exaggerating; it’s more like that he wears a size XL, why I don’t know. Anyways, she only had a size medium and we were at a point where it was “take it or leave it.” We both knew that we didn’t have the time nor energy to look anywhere else. Luq purchased the yellow jersey, said our good-byes and left to go back home.

            We came back home and had about 15 minutes to spare before the tour company was coming to pick us up. We quickly all changed into our Boca Juniors gear and got ready to head to the game. The company promptly picked us up at 4:15 PM and we proceeded to the Boca Juniors stadium. When we arrived, we soon realized that all three of us were not prepared for the COLD air. We totally underestimated the chill and wind factor of the stadium. Then to make matters worse, we found out that our seats were in the highest section of the stadium. I literally felt like I could see the world from where I was sitting. I thought back to what the tour company had told me “oh yeah you’re sitting behind the line in the second or third section.” Clearly, he was not specific enough. We were in the highest section and we were freezing! Consequently, Luq and I decided that we would go buy Boca Junior hats to keep our heads warm. We also decided that we were gonna move to get closer and that we’d meet up with the tour group later.

            As we were making our way back to our seats, I decided that I had to indulge and buy myself a choripan. These delicious Argentine treats are one of my FAVORITES! A choripan is a fat sausage that is cut down the middle that is put in between a roll. Then you put toppings on it such as onions, peppers, tomatoes, corn, eggs, etc. I know, I know, it sounds kinda gross, but trust me, it is AMAZING!! I have never eaten a sausage so good in my life! While I was buying the choripan, Luq decided that he would try one of the hamburgers from the stand as well. He took a bite into and was in heaven. He liked the hamburger so much that he ate the entire thing before we even got to our seats.

            We finally got to our seats and huddled close together to stay warm. The game was intense. However, truth be told, I was quite disappointed with the outcome and the way Boca was playing. It clearly wasn’t their best game and there were many goals that they could have gotten, that they didn’t. However, when Boca Juniors did score their one goal, the stadium went NUTS! There was dancing, cheering, singing, etc. The crowd erupted in noise. There were many moments in the game that got me off of my seat. Even if you do not know much about soccer, it is very easy to get caught up in the game because of the ambiance. However, despite the efforts, the game unfortunately ended up in a draw.

            After making our way through the huge crowd back to our tour bus, we sat in our seats for a gloomy ride back to the apartment. However, our guide, Martin came over to our seats and proceeded to try to cheer us up. He asked us how we were enjoying Buenos Aires and if we had any plans to go to Uruguay or elsewhere. I responded and talked about studying in Buenos Aires last year, etc. As I was describing my cultural experiences, I was so rudely interrupted by Luq. He asked Martin where he could meet some Argentine girls who would give him the time of day. He lamented about how he had experienced no luck during the entire stay. Martin looked at Luq and smiled. He told Luq that Argentine women love foreigners and that he was very surprised that Luq was not having any luck. He told Luq, “you cannot leave Buenos Aires without sampling Argentine women.” Luq laughed as I gave Martin a stare. “Well that’s not to say that they’re easy or anything…” he quickly replied back. After exchanging emails, the bus finally arrived to our apartment and we said our good-byes to Martin.

            We all walked in and quickly changed to jump under our blankets and covers. As I was defrosting in bed, I smiled to myself about the day. Although we had some obstacles: finding a yellow jersey, freezing our American arses off, being stuck in traffic after the game, I was happy that we got to experience an Argentine national pastime. All in all, I’d say the experience was a hit. GOOOOOOOAAALLLLL!

 

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The view from the Boca Juniors Sta…
The view from the Boca Juniors St…
The intense crowd at the game
The intense crowd at the game
Luq & Hannah Boca Juniored out!
Luq & Hannah Boca Junior'ed out!
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