Going to a Boca Jrs. futbol game for the first time is a lot like going to Buenos Aires for the first time: you wanna find out what it's like, what's gonna happen. If you get out of there alive, you're going to do it with new memories and a new you. That's the hope.
On the day of the Big Game, my internet was still down. I don't know my home phone number so hadn't given it to anyone else. I was basically unreachable. I had Cory's number but our landline here won't dial out to cells. The local locutorios (phone and internet joints) around here were all closed because it was a Sunday and this is a God-fearing (the Judeo one more than the Christo one) barrio, god damn it!
So during one of those moments when I could cop some free wireless from the farmacia down the road I dropped him a line saying I would meet him and Chris at the Museo de Bellas Artes in Boca, which is 1/2 a mile or so from the stadium, around 2:30PM.
Fortunately my roomie The Kellness showed up with her cell phone and I was able to reach Cory, because he had emailed me that he and Chris had different plans: we'd hook up at the Catedral subte (subway) station at 3 and taxi from there. I wouldn't have got (received) that email, so all praise be to The Kell and her magic phone.
Look at what it says under that burger. If you thought they
spoke Spanish in Buenos Aires, then you see why I weep
for your ignorance.
We did meet at Catedral, got a taxi at Plaza de Mayo and descended into Boca. If you've been to Boca, and I don't mean the little painted houses caminito part of Boca but more that bad-ass Tony Bourdaine smirking and chowing on a choripan (chorizo on bread) kind of Boca, then you know that Bronx-like (lots of cool restos, lots of shirtless guys who've got those major working-class [stoner] eyes) feeling (I've never been to the Bronx but I've seen it from a bridge and it looked pretty urban; so having La Bombonera in the middle of this scene feels a bit Yankee-esque or I guess Fabulous Forum-esque for all my homies out in Inglewood).
So the stadium seems to have several mini-barrios to itself, and there are huge fields near it where one can score some grilled meats, weed, and scalped tickets. And it was this tickets aspect more than the meat or weed aspect, that took up the first 1.5 hours. We did not buy weed and later this proved sentient: the herb-to-air ratio in our section was far higher than that, of, say, a reggae concert in San Francisco.
There were three of us with somewhat differing ideas about what constituted a successful ticket score. The variables were price and location, and the location variable ran from the popular to the platea alta (high plateau areas are places where people with more dough and whiter skin can sit on actual seats and rarely if ever be showered in the urine of the opposing team's fans) . We couldn't always tell from the tickets what we were looking at. But we knew one good thing, strong and true: DO NOT END UP IN THE POPULAR SECTION!
I won't even play. We know, y'all know, we totally ended up in the mas popular section possible.
We talked to maybe 20 different "scalping crews," over an area of several square miles of field and barrio, trying to hustle--under a scalding sun and in a thick smog of BBQ--in our case, the worst possible tickets for the highest price. We are bad-ass gringo sports fans, scalper bitches. Step off.
So now that we had our awesome billetas (b-jettas) it was time to find our way into the forbidden section popular. We had to move through several mini barrios, street by street, crowd by crowd of horse-mounted and boot-mounted 45mm-packin' police, horde by horde of roving hoodlum-esque groups of scary (locally colorful) chanting stoner hooligans, talking to cop after cop to find out which street to go down to access puerta 6 and the mysteries that lay behind it.
There were multiple security barricades in the streets that we had to pass through, being checked for guns, bombs, that kind of deal. Too bad those guys didn't do a slightly better job.
Eventually, four barricade-levels in, we found our entrance gate where we would soon learn whether our totally fake-looking scalped tickets would get us through the turnstiles or not. Fake-looking in that the dot-matrix print job of the ticket info was totally crappily printed and smearing off. Happily, our scalper guy had not been bullshitting us when he said that smeared ink and crappy printing was proof these tickets were legit. We were permitted to enter the Amazing Stairwell of Urinating Hombres.
To be continued.