Football crazy, football mad...

Trip Start May 01, 2006
Trip End Apr 30, 2007

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Flag of Venezuela  ,
Saturday, July 1, 2006

When somebody asks me where I was during the England vs. Portugal quarter final of World Cup 2006 I will be able to launch into a very interesting story about a shopping mall in Caracas.

We arrived back from Merida on the overnight bus with around 2 hours to spare before the start of the England game. After a quick shower and a well-deserved change of clothes, we headed out to the Centro San Ignacio in Caracas, an extremely popular place to watch the world cup games. They had set up a huge projector screen with a whole load of raked seating around it, but unfotunately a huge queue of Portugal fans had already developed. We contented ourselves with a bar next door, where a small crowd of England supporters, mostly friends of our host Matt from the British Embassy, had bagged all of the tables. I donīt need you to relive the tragic moments of the game, but at full-time all was still to play for. Having had a couple of beers during the match we decided that we should go up to the big screen and show our patriotic support to the Portugal supporters! Bizarrely, in a kind of TV-managed melee, the security guards let us through to the front of seating area where we launched into shouts of England, England to equal amounts of cheering and booing from the crowd. Venezuelan TV were filming there for the day, showing the reactions of the crowd to the entire nation during breaks in the football. All of us succeeded on featuring live on Venezuelan national TV, but especially noteworthy was Mattīs appearance as he was interviewed by the TV presenter whilst wearing an Old England kitchen apron! The presenter asked what he was cooking, to which he replied in his best Spanish, Sausages!

After the tragic results of the penalty shoot out we were invited to the Brazilian Cultural Centre to watch the second quarter final of the day. There we were greeted by a Carnival-style celebration by the Brazilian fans before the game had even kicked off, including 3 Brazilian women in full Carnival dress doing their thing to music from the band. Iīve never seen a bunch of football supporters have so much fun before a game. Needless to say, the Brazilians were also tragically knocked out that day, but we shared our defeats admirably and went out for more dancing, Venezuelan style, in the evening.

Most tragic of all was my neglecting to bring a camera to either of the games. Youīll have to content yourselves with pictures of us and our hosts, Lucy and Matt.
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