Tuesday, June 28, 2011

El Clasico

It looked like the highlight for Sunday was going to get my haircut at the local market (4S/. = $2). Which was cool experence in itself, but luckily there was more happening. The "U" (short for the Universitario) is a local Lima team that is beloved in my community, and had earned a spot in the championship game for the Copa de Sur America, agaist Boca (of Argentina). Peru loves soccer, but they don't generally do that well at it, having to play so many other powerhouses (i.e. Brazil and Argentina). So when Adrian and I  found out they were playing the championship game in Lima, we had to go see it.

 Adrian, Adrian's host brother, and Me (I'm the white guy on the left)

However just going to see the game isn't as easy as going to across the footbridge, or walking down Kagy Blvd, or finding parking at the Wells Fargo, it was a process. First we had to beg our host mothers to let us go (they generally worry about their gringos in large crowds, and this place was going to be crowded). Then we needed to find someone (a Peruvian) to go with us. Luckily Adrian's two host brothers were up for it. So from Yanacoto we hopped on a combi to Lima (1 hour, 1.5S/.) and arrived at the Stadium. This place was huge.

We got there 30 minutes before the game started and needed to buy tickets. We ran from the buss stop to one end of the stadium (The more rowdy north end, seen in my videos), but there weren't any tickets. Then we ran to the south end to find people charging rediculous amounts for tickets (Revendadores/Scalpers buy the tickets in bulk, then run up the prices). We ended up buy 5S/. tickets for 40S/. It was a big mark up, but totally worth it.

After buying the tickets, we lined up. There were cops on horse back there telling everyone what to do. "Don't cut", "Stay against the wall", "Remove you belt", etc. Yes, we were to leave our belts outside the stadium, because they were banned due to people whipping them. I did not leave my belt, and stuffed it in my underwear. With the belt in my drawers, combined with the cash and keys I had hid in my socks, coupled with my hands in my pockets covering my camera and wallet, it was nearly impossible to run, when cops told us to do so. We had to run from the entrance gate to the ticket booth, and then squeeze our way through a cattle counter. Needless to say, I wish I would have had my belt on and my hands free, but I made it.

Inside, the energy of the fans was amazing. Songs and clapping, and everyone cheering. In addition to this the visuals of people jumping in unison, the banners hung up, the mountains in the background, and the flags waving made it well worth the stress. As always the videos and photos never do it justice, but here are a few videos of el clasico.

*They aren't the best quality, because was constantly being bumped and jostled. And as a side note, I thought about not bringing my camera because it could have been stolen, but I decided to risk it. I'm happy to report that I still have the camera, and I didn't have to find my videos on some one else's youtube page.