Published: October 4th 2006August 6th 2006
We had upgraded to the fast boat back to Buenos Aires so we would be in time for the football. We arrived at the port early, checked in & passed through to immigration. Immigration between Argentina & Uruguay is the best & most efficient we have seen, Mr Uruguay stamps you out of the country & passes your passport to Mrs Argentina who is sitting next to him to stamp you in, all very friendly. The fast boat was a catamaran & we were soon speeding back to Argentina until all the power went out & we ended up going slower than the ferry. The captain diverted the power from the shields & we were soon back to full speed but we couldn't watch the grand prix.
In Buenos Aires we headed to Palermo where we were staying at Tango Backpackers
. We were going to use a voucher from the last hostel for a nights stay here & asked them to make sure it was aright & that they had reserved a room for us. When we got there they had no record of a reservation or whether we could use the voucher. They were really cool about it while they
Boca's Resident Cheerleaders
were sorting it out & put us in a double room with a mezzanine level with the bed on it & a sofa downstairs, much better than the last hostel & cheaper. We had to get back to the last hostel to be picked up to go to the football so we set off stopping for lunch on the way. At Hostel Inn Buenos Aires the numpties had told us to be there at three, luckily we got there earlier as most went to the football at two & we left at two thirty with another company to everyone else. Tangol
had a minibus outside & we set off to La Bombonera where Boca Juniors
were playing Banfield in the first game of the season. When we got there the reserves were playing a game & the stadium began to fill up. We had season tickets that were spread over the stand at first we were all sitting together but we were sitting in other season ticket holders seats so we split up across the stand not really wanting to upset any Boca supporters. The reserves game finished 1-1 & the stadium was nearly full at the end but people were still turning up & getting their banners, flags, balloons & Boca confetti ready. The banners were huge & stretched right across the stands obscuring the views of most people under them. The fans were noisy & when they started singing they didn't stop until they left the stadium. Before the game started Las Boquitas, the Boca cheerleaders came out to twirl their pompoms & get the crowd ready for the game. The team came out wearing a dark blue top which was the new seasons kit, not one person in the crowd had the new kit which was amazing compared to back home where at least a few die hard supports would have shelled out the cash for the latest kit, but it would appear that you can't buy the new kit until the season had started so the first game is like a fashion show as well. This way you get to see the kit worn by the athletes first & not by the seventeen stone pie eater stumbling out of the local pub. When the game kicked off Maradona could be seen in his special box on the opposite side of the stadium to us, he had just had his stomach stapled & had lost a lot of weight but he was chain smoking cigars all through the match & flashes from his lighter could be seen all the time.
The first half was pretty uneventful, Boca had nearly all the possession but were unable to score, Banfield had a few attempts on goal but didn't really trouble the goalkeeper. The chanting was continuous throughout the match & balloons & confetti sailed down from the high concrete stands. We had been practicing our arm waving during the world cup but these supporters were pros, whole stands stood & rights arms simultaneously waved towards the pitch. There were some variations, my favourites being the two arm wave making the person look like some dictator at a rally & subtle flick of the wrist at the end of the movement. It was just like being in a South American Coke advert. At half time Las Boquitas came out for a few more acrobatics & the flood lights were turned on as it was becoming dark. The second half was a much better game & soon Boca had scored, the crowd behind the goal rushed down the terraces towards high fence cheering & waving there arms. The rest of the stands jumped up & down causing the whole structure to sway. Not long after Boca had scored again & the Boca fans started chanting the spanish equivalent of 'You're not singing any more!'. Boca finally won 3-0 & the oppositions stand was kept back for twenty minutes as everyone else left the stadium. We didn't see any trouble at the ground just a lot of passionate supporters & made our way back to the minibus home. The other group turned up soon after us & we went to the best restaurant in town, El Desnivel where a meal of fillet steak, chips, salad & wine costs about $5. It's been known for some of our group to visit the restaurant on four consecutive nights.