Saturday, June 9, 2007

Boca, Indian restaurant, Fog, Ear Infections and Pizza

Before the Spider-Man movie last weekend, my wife and I went to a grand opening of an Indian Restaurant called Tandoor with another couple, Hernan and Andrea. While we were strategizing on how best to get a small plate of chicken ticka masala my wife asked about the Boca game. Hernan was a little depressed about it because he is a huge Boca fan and Boca had lost that game 3 to 1. I reassured him that Boca was going to win the next one. I really truly thought so and told him so. Right away he asked me if I wanted to go. My confidence in Boca must have awoken that positive spirit of his because as soon as I nodded yes he was on the phone scoring some tickets for the game. Now if only he could have worked the same magic on Tandoor... In all honesty though, the restaurant was overwhelmed. They had a bigger turnout than they expected and I am definitely going to go back on a regular night.

Game night: I meet up with Hernan on the corner of Corrientes & Pasteur. As we get into his car a friend of his said "Hey, the game might be called off on account of fog". We laugh it off thinking the guy was joking about the slight fog we saw around us. Fifteen minutes later we are sitting in traffic and in the middle of some crazy thick fog. We decided we were going anyway and luckily for us the game was delayed an hour due to this fog so we still managed to get their with time to spare. We were supposed to meet Hernan's contact at a YPF gas station near the stadium but this guy was a no show and he wasn't answering his phone.

We decided to look for scalpers. We asked everyone and no one had any tickets. We were just about to give up when all of a sudden a guy with a radio in his hands, and an air of authority, asked us how many we were. He directed us to a curb near him and told us not to move.

Me: "Hernan, are we going into the popular seats with "La Doce"? (infamous soccer hooligans).

Hernan: "Nah, La Doce are on the other side of the stadium. These guys are the 36." Or the 18th I can't remember which one he said, but he was just trying to be funny.

Anyway, I noticed a couple more guys like our guy with the radio and other pockets of groups of people. Our guy comes back and tells us to follow him. We walk up to the first turnstiles and the turnstile operators start to let everyone through in these groups. We walk up to a parking lot right next to the stadium and the radio guy sits on the hood of a car and tells everyone to cough up $50 pesos per person and to stand behind him once we paid.

We all do as instructed and then we follow him right up to the stadium where we wait again until he directs us to go through the police frisking area where we are patted down. Once we do that we go through a second set of turnstiles and we are in.

We walk up to the seats and find ourselves in "La Popular". This is where the hooligans watch the game and there are two of these sections, one behind each goal.
"La Bombonera" is actually very steep and even though we are up kind of high and behind one of the goals we can see the whole field. Well, we could see it if there wasn't any fog.

If you want to see and hear what that section looks like click here for a short 1.29 minute movie.
We could hear the chanting and the singing from outside the stadium and now we were right in the middle of it all. We were packed like sardines. The hooligans were leading everyone in song. It was loud, it was rowdy, and it was the most fun I have had watching a soccer game. Meanwhile I was starting to develop an ear infection and pink eye. By the second half my ears were ringing, my throat was soar, I was caughing, my nose was stuffy and my right eye was blurry. Boca prevailed and won the game 3 to 0. Now it's on the finals and to a doctor!

Before the doctor though we had to wait what seemed like an eternity to leave the stadium. We were even more smashed up against each other waiting to get to the stairs than during the game. What was even more amazing is that when any of the official hooligans needed to get through people just opened the way for them and somehow managed to make a path for them to walk through the crowd. Really it was so crowed I didn't think that was possible.

After the game we went out for pizza at El Cuartito. A fellow blogger, Dan from Saltshaker, wrote about his not very good experience with this place. However, I did visit once before and I did like my pizza, which was different from Dan's choice by the way. I really liked their fugazzeta. They have two flavors that are similar--the fugazza, which is a thin pizza with sweet onions on top and their fugazzeta, which is a pan pizza with lots of cheese and sweet onions. The pizza, paired with an ice cold beer, did the trick. I did not like their faina though.

How could I disagree with a local celebrity cheff? Hey, it's an opinion and there are several others that have waxed poetic on this place so I know that I am not the only one. Besides, at 1am this place was full. We had to wait for a table.

Now it was time to head home and call a doctor for the various infections that I was having. The doctor came within half an hour, left a prescription which I then had to go to Farmacity (a 24 hour pharmacy) and start taking the meds. Now I find myself with a day off at home having nothing to do but write.
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