El Super Clasico

Trip Start Oct 07, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
The Beach

Flag of Argentina  , Central Argentina,
Saturday, January 22, 2011

Before heading down into Patagonia we had one brief stop to make in Mar del Plata, not to get our last bit of beach time in before heading down to the wilds of the end of the earth, but to go and watch the traditional pre-season friendly match between Boca Juniors and River Plate. We convinced Becky, Charlie and Brady (whom we had spent Christmas and new year's with) to return to BA from Cordoba to join us and we headed down the coast as part of a tour organised by the hostel.

Again we had decided on an amazingly popular destination at the last minute, not only was it 'the' beach destination in Argentina, a Saturday, the football was on, but MGMT had also decided to put on a free concert at the beach! All this meant the town was completely booked up and we had no chance of finding a place to stay for the night, so instead of wasting time looking we dropped our bags off at a hostel kind enough to look after them and headed to the beach before re-joining our tour group to head to the stadium 4 hours before kick-off. Extreme even for Tom.

Thinking we would be the only people there at such a ridiculously early time we were surprised when we arrived at the stadium, that appeared to have been built for riots – caged sections, no seats, kiosks firmly cemented into the stadium and food served through small gaps in the bars and wire – and had to queue to get searched by the armed police and sniffer dogs, and even more surprised to join a half full Boca end, with the songs and chanting already in full swing! Our tour guide for the event positioned us just out of the way of the 'serious’ fans – these appeared to be fans who took no interest in the game, but instead faced the crowd for the whole match orchestrating and conducting the chants, playing the drums and being in charge of the flags.

Once the game had started the party was in full swing, we thought the match in Rio was loud, but this one took it to another level; constant singing, chanting, wrist flicking, flares and flag waving, all without the assistance of alcohol, not only was it not served in the stadium but if you were suspected of being intoxicated on arrival you were breathalysed and then not allowed in. With Boca finishing the game victors at 2-0 we were definitely at the correct end.

Having nowhere to stay for the night we decided the best thing to do would be to head out and sample the nightlife, which, if other Argentinian nights out were anything to go by would keep us busy well into Sunday morning, unfortunately Mar del Plata was the first town we had come across in Argentina that actually had a closing time, so by 3am we were out on our ears with nowhere to go. Another rule we had fallen foul of previously was the ‘no selling of booze after 12pm unless in a bar’ rule, however this time with the assistance of a friendly taxi driver and a load of spare jumpers we were able to sweet talk a kiosk into selling us some beers and then smuggled them out into the taxi, just so we had something to keep us warm on the beach for the rest of the night.

We didn’t feel very well on Sunday – thank god we had a night bus to sleep on (even if it was showing Robin Hood, a film we have seen about five times already).
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