Sports and Spanish

Trip Start Apr 27, 2009
Trip End Apr 27, 2010

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Sunday, June 21, 2009

The last couple of weeks have been busy with various sports events to watch and the need to expand my Spanish vocabulary (just a little!):

Beginning with the sport related happenings:

10th June, Argentina lost to Equador in a World Cup qualifier - didn't go down well but we helped Marcos drown his sorrows with a game involving dice and beer. Used my advantage of being a "hardened Scottish drinker(!!)" not to get drunk.

11th June, Jon decided to teach us a "real" sport - Baseball - so we all trooped to a bar to watch the Yankees v the Red Sox. Unfortunately in the 5th innings (or something like that) our education was halted because they changed the channel to the basketball playoffs. However, I learned some interesting stuff and have booked a ticket to see a game in Washington in July - at least then no-one can change the channel! I'm still not convinced that the players don't need to do a bit more fitness training cos they looked a bit podgy to be athletes to me but apparently they are - they could be even better if they lost a bit of weight I'm sure although an extra layer of fat did sem to help the guy who got hit by one of the pitches!

13th June, back round to Matt and Stacey's for the Argentina v England rugby match. England were pretty bad and the Pumas got their revenge for the beating they received the week before. Afterwards we went back to the Chinese place in Chinatown (funny that!) and I managed to get probably the closest thing possible to my usual chinese fare - no bones in the chicken and no soy sauce on the rice, excellent! Then we went to see Angel's friend's band and finished the night in a bar in Palermo where you can put grafitti on the walls if you take the paint and a stencil! 

14th June, best sporting event of my trip so far - live Footie! Sandra and Angel took us to see San Lorenzo v Huracan in the premier division. The standard of football was ok - probably about the same as a standard SPL game - but the crowd was the real entertainment! Once we got through all the searches and breath tests we were in the standing section on the 2nd tier behind the goal, it's just like the old terraces we used to have but steeper. There was jumping and singing and loads of flags and balloons and bin bags (Huracan are known as the bin men because their ground is next to a rubbish tip!). When the San Lorenzo team came out they were greeted with flares and confetti and much flag waving. Huracan's players came onto the pitch through a big inflatable tube thing to protect them from missiles being thrown - some of the bin bags did make it onto the pitch though! The atmosphere was brilliant and I really enjoyed it even though San Lorenzo lost. I'll never forget watching a Huracan player try to take a corner kick with 2 police holding their riot shields over his head to protect him from various missiles!! It was almost like being at home in the post-match traffic jam until we saw the buses with the hooligans being escorted past by police and the local bus that had about triple it's capacity on board so couldn't shut it's doors! We even drove on the right hand side of the road for a wee while when the drivers decided that they couldn't be bothered waiting to get to the correct side so drove towards the oncoming traffic and took up 3 of their 4 lanes - surprisingly they seemed to just accept it and funnelled into the one lane they had left watched by a single policeman who didn't really look like he was interested in preventing the madness!

No exciting sporting stories from this week so onto the Spanish - or lack therof!

I've been enjoying the volunteering and try to go to the same 2 places each week. One (La Ferrere) is about 30km from the city centre and the centre is in the run down section of and already poor area. The other (Los Angelitos) is in a soup kitchen on the edge of a "villa" (slum) closer to the city. Most of the kids are between 6 and 16, quite enjoy doing the worksheets we take and are very happy and upbeat considering the conditions they live in. However, they don't really know much English so it's always a challenge to explain how to solve a Maths problem with limited Spanish! I now know how to say add, subtract, multiply and divide in Spanish and counting fingers is always a good fallback, plus I'm really getting to know numbers well!! I do feel bad though when they try to ask something and I have no idea what they want - sometimes they speak to me like I'm a bit dumb (in the nicest possible way!). I'm getting better though and even if I can't always think of the correct reply quickly "si" and "bueno" are good in a tight spot.

Can't believe I've only got 2 more weeks here before moving on to mega hot Miami - time really has flown. Although it's still getting colder here and it even rained yesterday (shocking, I know - only about the 3rd time in 8 weeks) mostly the weather is pretty comfortable, ranging between 13 and 20 degrees, it's gonna be much hotter than that in the States!
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