Sunday, October 14, 2007

Viva Colombia! ...Casi

Sunday is the one day that most Colombians can relax at home, maybe watch some television. This afternoon I walked outside onto the deserted street and into a burger joint, just a block from my apartment. I was really looking forward for some type of meat on my plate since I don’t have an oven or stove in my apartment. I ordered a chicken sandwich and looked up at the television in the corner. A soccer game was on... or should I say futbol. There were a half dozen people in the room, all men, intently watching the game: Colombia versus Brazil. It was a World Cup qualifying match being played in Bogota. I’m not a soccer fan, but I figured I’d sit down and watch a little bit since Brazil was playing. For those of you living in a cave, Brazil historically is the best country in the world in soccer, or as some like to say, the New York Yankees of ... soccer.

They didn’t look like it, though. Maybe it was their uniforms. Colombia, donned in yellow jerseys, blue shorts and red socks looked flashy. They also played their part, controlling possession of the ball. I had started watching toward the end of the first half and didn’t leave until the end as Colombia failed to capitalize on several good opportunities. I talked with some of the guys there, who cursed a lot and helped me improve my pronunciation of these vital Spanish words. The chef/cashier whistled at every pretty girl that walked by the story. That’s what they do in the coast, said the guy sitting next to me, referencing the chef’s upbringing in the Caribbean coastal city of Santa Marta. The chef spoke so fast and with such an accent I couldn’t understand a word. Even I have trouble understanding him, said the same guy sitting next to me. It was a good way to spend a Sunday afternoon, at least if you like ties as both teams failed to score. In World Cup qualifying matches there isn’t overtime play or sudden death or penalty kicks. I knew there was a reason I didn’t like watching soccer.