Around the World With a Vagabond

Fútbol December 21, 2009

Filed under: Fútbol,Traveling South America — christynichols @ 5:01 am
Tags: , ,

Sunday has always meant two things: church and football!  In this way, the two American continents are the same.  Ron, our hostel receptionist, had arranged to get us tickets (to a game, not church), so the four of us and 5th Wheel Phil crammed into a cab and headed to the Stadium.

It was Cartagena vs. Medellin. Cartagena’s colors are yellow, so we bedecked ourselves in yellow streamers tied around our heads, arms, and waists. Meg also bought yellow face paint. Chris covered his entire face with yellow.  I had football markings, as did the others.  I think the Cartagena crowd loved the gringos in yellow.

The streets were insane.  Crowds of people shouting were crisscrossing through traffic, and standing in frenzied groups on street corners. What was almost a mob was lunging towards the entrance.  Chris and I were starving, so we split from the others and headed to the hamburger cart.  No sooner had we ordered when Morgan found us.  Apparently the flood gates had opened, and there were no assigned seats.  The burgers would be a few minutes, so Morgan went with the others to save a few good spots, and Chris and I would be just behind.

Moments later Chris and I were being bumped along trying to get ourselves and our burgers into the stadium.  Chris was bumped rather hard at one point.  He felt for his pocket only to realize his wallet was gone.  It was taken from the front pocket of his board shorts, which was velcroed shut.

By the time I turned around to speak to him, he was a few feet over among the crowd, and the swat-team security had seized the guy Chris thought had stolen from him.  The cop pushed the accused against a fence and roughly patted him down, while the thief shouted hysterically that he didn’t do it.  It totally sucked.

Chris’s stolen wallet had been a decoy, a fake one he uses just in case such a thing happens. He only carries minimal cash.  Had his ID in it though. And it still sucked. It actually wasn’t even an actual wallet.  The boys had picked up little zipper purses in Montserate.  It served as their murse.  So yes, Chris got his murse stolen.

Chris was a star though. As shitty as it was, he didn’t let it ruin his mood. He’d started the day off in a mud volcano, and now was sitting at a very rambunctious football game with a yellow face and beer in his hand.  He stayed happy.

The game was friggin awesome. So much support for Cartagena –  and so much security! The stadium seats were actually raised blocks of concrete.  The field was separated from the spectators by a high barbed wire fence, and cops stood guard along the edge of the field.  The cops were wearing black uniforms, and geared out like Robocop -facemasks and riot gear.  At half time each Robocop went to the center of the field and surrounded the referees protectively, and escorted them off the field.  After the first goal, I could see why. Throughout the game there was shouting and chanting, but as soon as someone scored, the spectators, mostly male, leapt off their seats and flew at the fence. Half of them climbed up it, and several smaller boys made it to the top and stuck their heads through the barb – all shouting and screaming at the players, and shaking the fence!! It was insane.  And intimidating.  I would hate to have been wearing the wrong colors.