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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

71. Goooooooooooooool (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

Argentine futbol song #2:
Vamos vamos Argentina
Vamos vamos a ganar
Que esta barra quilombera
No te deja no te deja de alentar

Go go Argentina
We're going to win
This damn group of fans
Won't quit supporting you
(OK, that's my crap translation)
Thanks to you all for the support I received in both comments and emails on my last post. As one reader put to me, I'll try to keep it real.

News wise here - Argentina have won their first two World Cup games and with that are through to the quarter finals, with one game to go against Holland (tomorrow) to determine who qualifies as first and second qualifier of their group. I'm secretely hoping Argentina loses that one and is second qualifier. The reason: if they're top qualifier their next game will be on June 25th, but as top qualifier their next game would be this Saturday, the 24th, which is the same day the All Blacks are playing a one off test match against Los Pumas here in BA, which I'll be going to. Nice work NZRFU (or ARU), for scheduling the one off Rugby test match to likely clash with Argentina's must-win game in the second round of the football World Cup! I've never actually seen the All Blacks play live, since back home the tickets are so expensive (and hard to get). Here, where Rugby games struggle to get a full house at the best of the times (and will really struggle now), the cheapest seats start at NZ$10. Incidentally, I've yet to see a single local news item mentioning the game. If I hadn't heard about it from friends back home months ago, I honestly would not know the ABs were coming.

It's been amazing to see how excited everyone here is about the World Cup, and how proud (but not arrogantly so) they've been in victory. My girlfriend, who I didn't even think followed football, confessed to me she had trouble sleeping the night before their second game, and that she'd been thinking about it all week! Although Argentina weren't convincing in their first game (2-1 victory against Ivory Coast) they absolutely thrashed Serbia & Montenegro 6-0 in their second game.
The streets were empty during both games, as everyone was to be found in front of a TV set - whether it be in their workplaces, homes, or cafés. After both games there was the usual celebration from people in the streets - cars honking bip-bip, bip-bip-bip, and a gathering of fans in front of Buenos Aires' Obelisco to chant Argentine football songs and jump up and down in circles. We headed down with the masses after the first game and my girlfriend got her face on TV. And of course, whenever there's a goal scored the commentators here do those famously long goooooooooooooooool calls.

While I've been happy for the team and the country for having won two games so far, a part of me wondered if they've been celebrating with singing and dancing in the street a little too early. It is just two victories after all, there's still 5 more to go if they're to win the thing. But then I realised that's just the pessimistic Kiwi in me, and that we wouldn't be celebrating so wholeheartedly until we'd won the Cup. So good on the Argentines.

I was going to write I've never seen a country so united behind their team. Until I remembered 1995, when Team New Zealand was challenging for the America's Cup. Remember how the whole country watched every race? Remember how we all went out and bought lucky red socks? And remember how we whipped the Americans 5-0 to win the nine race series outright, and steal the Auld Mug from the US for only the second time in history? And then the tickertape victory parade? Yep, it's pretty much like that again. I mention this to point out that this parochialism certainly isn't an exclusively Latin American trait. The only difference is that here the papellitos (tickertape) are already being thrown.

Reader's question:

I will arriving in September to learn spanish and live in B.A. roughly how long has it taken if at all to have a good standard of spanish. (sic)

It depends on how much you study Spanish and how much you hang out with locals. It took me six months to feel fluent enough to get by, to be able to have conversations etc. Having been here a year and a half now, I'm still learning. And still making mistakes. My girlfriend still hassles my pronunciation of olvidar. But I feel like I learnt most of what I know after six months.
I'd studied Spanish a bit before I came too. The hardest part is the listening, and the only way to improve that is to hang out with locals (who don't speak English!).
Here's a benchmark. I watched the movie Nueve Reinas three or four times before I came to Argentina (it's a really good movie!). Obviously I didn't understand a thing so had to use English subtitles.
After I'd been here seven months I watched it again. Since the movie's set in BA, I got a big kick out of recognising everything. Now, while in person I could understand conversations fairly well, I still struggled to understand the film's characters' quick delivery, so this time I had to use Spanish subtitles.
The other day I watched it again. I understood most of it, including its lunfardo insults - "la puta que te re-mil parió" (the slut that gave birth to you x1000) so I can get by without the subtitles. But I still missed bits. Hell, last night we watched Shrek in Spanish, and while I understood the dialogue I missed all the double-entendres which made the English version funny (assuming they were present). So I've still got some way to go!

Argentine futbol song #3:
Pan y vino pan y vino
Pan y vino pan y vino
El que no grita Argentina
Para que carajo vino

Bread and wine and bread and wine
Bread and wine and bread and wine
He that doesn't cheer Argentina
What the hell did he come for?
(NB. in Spanish it rhymes)


  • They're through to the second round, not the quarter-finals.

    Otherwise, soak it up, mate - you're in just about the best place to be for the World Cup short of actually being in Germany. Argentina, on current form, should win it.

    By Blogger afraid, at 7:51 PM  

  • Prediction (i'm good at this, you know):

    Argentina 1-Mexico 2. Vamos Mexico...!

    By Blogger chematuco, at 12:39 PM  

  • chematuco.

    your prediction sucked, is that what you are good at?? then oh boy, that means you're good for nothing really, rest my case

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:24 PM  

  • once again, a brain dead, anonymous muppet fails to understand irony.

    By Anonymous chematuco, at 5:15 AM  

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