Football and tango

Trip Start Jun 16, 2007
Trip End Nov 13, 2007

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Thursday 20th September - Wednesday 26th September

Arrived in Buenos Aires after a very easy flight.  Strange to be in such a huge chaotic city after the quiet of patagonia!  Hostel was very central, a block away from Congress and close to the famous Obelisk on Avenida 9 de Julio.  (Ave 9 de Julio is a crazy road - 18 lanes, motorway speeds and pedistration crossings that give green light to pedestrians and cars at same time!  Itīs apparently the widest avenue in the world!

We planned our days in the city to see as much as possible.  The roads are chaos and you risk your life to cross them and so often opted for the easy to use underground system - a bargain at approx 10p for any journey!

Visited the famous San Telmo distrcit, full of quirky antique shops on pebbled streets, visited the street market and cafes of posh neighbourhood Relocetta, and did the obligatory walk around Reclotea cemetry, which is like a mini city of tombs of the rich and famous, including Evita.  Cemetry was a respite from the traffic!  Other areas we visited inlcuded the famous shopping steets of Florida and Lavelle (shoe shops galore! Claire succumbed to the temptation and bought a pair of gold strappy heels!), the revived docks, and the famous plaza with the pink presidential palace. 
05 Buenos Aires waterfront.....
Fantastic restaurants in Buenos Aires and not surprisingly we ate a lot of steak!  Restaurants here are like rest of Argentina, and donīt fill up until around midnight - we had to readjust our body clocks again!  Funny to see a signed picture of Maradona with the chef in every steak house we visited, and we think he must get free steak everywhere he goes!  We also had a great night watching a live tango show in the oldest cafe in the city, Tortoni,
01 Tango in Cafe tortoni...
We spent Sunday afternoon watchng Boca Juniors vs Gymnasia (Jujuy) which was a fun day.  For the football fans, here is a short synopsis from Ross ............
03 The fans.......04 The equaliser....
The guide picked us up from the hostel and we hopped on the bus heading towards the notorious neighbourhood of La Boca, we stopped a few blocks away from the ground and  joined the large crowds heading towards the stadium. Our guide was born and bred in La Boca and had been watching games here all his life -  this must have gone some way to ensure our security as he seemed to be on first name terms with any thugs we happened to come across. We were safely put behind the goal in the terraces of the family stand. The away fans were in the stand above us and we were advised not to venture further than the shade of the above teir as it was not uncommon for them to urinate down on  the home fans.  The atmosphere in the ground was great as the 55,000 stadium had 45,000 fans in it that day.  Maradona was not in his royal box for this game, probably off eating steak somewhere! The game began at a fast pace, and within the first 10 mins Gymnasia opened the scoring.  Frustration from the Boca fans seemed to be with the poor performance of thier own team. 15 mins before half time Boca finally managed to level the scores and the frustration in the crowd seemed to die down, with the exception of a worrying looking punch up going on in the stand to our left.

The second half started well for Boca and and they took the lead within the first few mins (2.1).  10 mins later Gymnasia managed another goal and the scores were level once again.  After 20mins of  "stale mate" football frustrations on the pitch began to show and after some outragous tackles and a 16 man brawl in the Boca goal mouth, 2 Gymnasia players were shown red cards.  Then, just as order had been restored the ref was floored by a missile thrown from the crowd and another 10 mins was wasted while this was  sorted out. After a lengthy injury time and Boca coming close to snatching the winner, the final whistle was blown. (2.2) and the draw costing Boca their place at the top of the league.

After the final whistle, the home fans behind each goal were locked in until the away team fans had left the ground.... and presumably run for their lives.

Despite the odd displays of pure genius, the football hadnīt quite lived up to what we were expecting from the argies especially after their performance in the last world cup, but there was no shortage of drama and we wonīt forget our day at the ground.

Next stop Uruguay....... 
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