I don’t know if you noticed but Argentina went and won some manner of international competition and we were in Buenos Aires when it happened. I didn’t want to just not mention it because it was absolutely-fucking-lutely epic! We’d taken an obnoxiously early bus from Colón that morning because we really wanted to be in the city before kick off. We went back to El Pibe, had showers and were allowed to check in as soon as the room was cleaned. Right. Let’s do this.
We’d not booked a table anywhere to watch it so we figured we’d just wander with the singing crowds. Fun fact though, we Googled the lyrics to the songs they were singing and pretty much all of them include a couple of lines about the Falklands. Like, just shoehorned in there. They go “Football football football football WE’LL NEVER FORGET THE MALVINAS!!! football football football FUCK THE ENGLISH!” Maxi in Colón had explained that they were taught in school that the English were entirely to blame for everything and they still fully intended to take the islands at some point. So yeah. There’s that.
The atmosphere was incredible though. We headed to el Oblisco where the crowds were massing. Enterprising locals had set up grills and were selling choripán. People were flogging beer and fernet, flags, face paint, everything you could possibly need for an historic footy match. Oh fucking hell, I hoped they’d win. When the match started the mob dispersed on search of TVs. As we walked to the river we saw people climbing on railings and bus shelters to peer into bars and restaurants that were showing it. We found a restaurant that had a TV outside and watched the first half from there, then watched the second half by the big bars further along. I say we watched it, we couldn’t see much through the throng of blue and white shirts but wr sure as shit knew what was going on by the reaction of the crowd.
When France equalised we did consider bailing before shit got real but we stuck it through extra time and to the penalties and oh my gosh, the tension. When that last penner went in winning Argentina the World Cup I think we were as relieved as the Argentines were elated. We headed back to el Oblisco to enjoy the celebrations before it started getting too busy and a bit too Covidy.
People were on the bus shelters, they’d climbed the towering lights by the obelisk, every single structure was covered in cheering humans. The road was completely blocked. What a place to be though! The chances of being in the country that wins the world cup when it happens are so low, especially as a person who spends the majority of their time in England.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Stayed at: Hotel El Pibe, Buenos Aires