January 27th 1982

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
Street scene, Antigua

I felt rather better this morning – well, a little, at any rate, so that I was able to cope with my lessons, + at first break buy a copy of the better Guatemalan newspaper, the Diario Grafico.  Searching the sports page vainly for some reference to England, specifically who their opponents will be in the World Cup, discovered the news that Diego Maradona, the “new Pele”, was coming to town with his club, Boca Juniors, to play an exhibition match against the Guatemalan champions, Communicaciones.  Then, going home for lunch, we saw a sign outside a shop opposite the house offering tickets for travel to the game.  We bought a couple, altho’ this would mean missing our tea… Still, what the hell, it’s not everyday you see a superstar.

We arrived at the stadium at about 7, + were immediately able to buy tickets for Q2.10 from a lady ticket-tout – this was only 10 centavos more than the actual price.  I was rather pleased, because I had tried + failed to buy tickets off a guy on the bus for Q2.50.  First we bought some food from the stalls outside the stadium, + then went in.  There was the same excitement there always is at a night match, the lights adding to the atmosphere, + the stadium was already pretty well packed with everyone seated, in our section (the cheapest) on concrete benches.  We made a mistake tho’, in not immediately searching out, + fighting for, a place with a decent view.  At first we tried down the front, but there you could see nothing, + were a target for various missiles as well.  Eventually, + rather too late, we set off to find a better place, Val thro’ the mass, me around it.  I aroused the attention of a few “throwers”, but by acting a joke out of it, managed to escape serious injury.  Eventually found a half-reasonable place, tho’ it turned out to be a through route for various food salesmen with their wares, until we just grabbed the fence in front of us, + wouldn’t allow anyone thro’.

At half-time, + at the end of the match, there was bedlam, with oranges, beer, water, + burning newspapers being thrown around, to everyone’s great amusement.  The game, incidentally, was dull, Boca winning 1-0 with a goal by Diego himself.

Quite the cultural experience – or culture shock, more like, this proving to be very different from your average game back home.

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