Saturday, June 14, 2014

2014 World Cup, Chile Style

Yesterday the entire country dropped everything to watch Chile's first game in this year's World Cup, against Australia, but the excitement has been building for some time. Vendors have been selling crazy hats, flags and vuvuzelas at stop lights for over a week and PUCV's administration got into the spirit of things by cancelling classes for the 13th, 18th and 23rd of June, for Chile's preliminary matches. We also got a notice from Joel's school on the 10th, that after-school activities would be cancelled for the 13th (even though yesterday's match was slated to start at 6 p.m.!), and that students and teachers would be watching the other two matches during school hours.

This of course, is fascinating for someone like me who comes from the US where: A) most don't understand soccer, let alone watch the World Cup and B) school is never cancelled for sporting events.

I'd been out earlier in the afternoon to do some errands, and saw the preparations for the evening's festivities. At a plaza about 5 blocks away, a big-screen TV was up, and all around the area restaurants and bars had Copa Mundial specials on their outside chalkboards. As you can see from the picture, even the weather was cooperating:
I tried to watch the game online, but it didn't work well. By the time Univision started a delayed stream, Chile had scored not one, but TWO goals early in the first half. I could easily tell, because the entire country screamed GOAAAAAAAAAAL! I then went downstairs, and watched with the two guys who were on duty at our reception desk. They'd set up a large TV behind the desk, and didn't even notice I was watching until I'd been there for about 6 or 7 minutes, so intent were they on the game. I went across the street for the second half, to Wall Street, a restaurant Steve, Joel and I went to quite a lot. Things looked a bit scary in the 2nd half, but La Roja got off a 3rd goal in extra time, right at the end of the game, for a final score of 3-1.
That is when the beeping started: all up and down every street, cars kept up a rhythmic beep beep, beep beep beep for almost two hours. The revelry went on long into the night, with groups of people singing, cheering and just generally celebrating the victory.
Chi Chi Chi, Le Le Le, CHILE!

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