Schoolboy defending from Boca Juniors
Trip Start Sep 02, 2008
30Trip End Dec 14, 2008
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The day ahead had promised much, we were due to meet up with Jim..a friend from Wellington who was in BA on horse business ( I doubt NZ Equestrianism has ever been in less horse-savvy hands) and fate had smiled on me as arriving on a Sunday meant only one thing..more football.
Plan A involved Jim rushing from the airport to meet us at his hotel and going straight to the Boca Juniors game.
Plan B involved seeking out Independiente v River Plate as that game kicked off a couple of hours later.
Aerolineas Argentinas managed to scupper both plans at a stroke, seemingly forgetting they needed to pop over to Sydney before leaving Auckland for BA, so Jim arrived a good 12 hours late. As it was Plan C was quickly devised and acted upon, that is I would go along to the Boca game with the hostel tour. Just as Plan C had formulated in my head I rushed to the reception to find the hostel group had already left..Plan D then came to my rescue and I ended tagging on to another hostel's pick up and finally I turned up to La Bombonera.
Being quite the expert on South American football (see previous posts) I still wasn't prepared for the experience of Boca Juniors. As an Argentinean team firstly and Maradona's team secondly I was trying my hardest to hate Boca, but their amazing ground (thankfully not an oval but a proper stadium with 4 sides) and their unique 80's style of football spectating won me over. A good 2 hours before kick-off the two ends behind each goal were almost full and terracing meant you could move around if you wanted. This became particularly important as another 80's trait meant the unfortunate placing of the away fans (on the tier above) meant the home fans in the uncovered section soon got covered in phlegm, piss and bombarded with ice cubes. After a quick scramble, treading on a few kids as I went, I successfully secured a covered square inch that became my home for the game. Boca were playing to move into first place in the league (only a couple more games remaining in the season) and the capacity crowd made it a great atmosphere before the game, and the impressive part was they managed to go 2 goals down and still the crowd sang and supported. In the end truly awful defending meant Boca lost 3-2 but it was a great game and definitely the best atmosphere at a game that I've been to (Crystal Palace matches aside obviously), hopefully the video above does it justice, although I doubt it.
Monday was almost entirely spent with me regaling Jim on how good the football he missed was..much to my amusement, but we did get a chance to have another look around the cemetery at Recoleta, have a beer in the tarted up Port area and go for a steak Argentina style.
The restaurant in San Telmo possibly didn't serve the best steak we've had but combined with a great atmosphere the meal (especially the black pudding) was a good pre-cursor to a few beers, caipirinha's and more vino tinto. Wandering home we were treated to some graffiti, Buenos Aires style - a military style operation turned a grubby wall into firstly a white-washed canvas, then a 2D message was painted followed then by someone else adding the 3D effect in a different colour..all done in a matter of minutes!
All in all a good weekend in BA and the city continues to grow on us, which is fortunate as we're due back there twice more before we fly home.