Fútbol is a way of life in Argentina. Other sports don’t hold the allure or fervor that fútbol evokes here. Two teams dominate the media–the rivalry between River Plate and Boca Juniors. River Plate recently had the distinction of winning their league, the Clausura, title on June 8 against Los Estudiantes team.
Football stars are treated like superheroes. Lionel Messi is the national fútbol hero at the moment, a deft player. Diego Maradona, the fallen fútbol phenom of the eighties, is still revered. It’s impossible to go a day without seeing his name in the news and celebrity tabloids.
E. and I watched a game against Boca Juniors and team Racing in May. It was exhilarating. The game was held in the Bombonera stadium in La Boca. Bombonera means “Bon bon box” in español, which seems to be a nod to the revelry and indulgences held inside. Boca Juniors colors are Argentine blue and yellow jacket yellow.
The stadium can be a little dangerous for girls and women.
Tengo Suerte here. I am so very lucky. I pinch myself every day.
On Malvinas Day, V. had a holiday from work. We took a collectivo (bus) to La Boca, the colorful and poster ready Buenos Aires neighborhood. At the Barberia Tango Show cafe, we sat outside and watched two tango dancers strut on a small platform while a milonga singer crooned into a microphone. We were the only women around, so the singer edged close to our table and made moony eyes at us. My face turned beet red. He was trying to romance ladies for generous tips.
Our visit to La Boca wasn’t very long. There are three main streets geared toward tourists. It’s suggested that visitors stick with the busy streets. Though I saw plenty of foreigners, I was impressed by the number of locals enjoying coffee at outdoor cafes.
Much of the neighborhood is rundown and unsafe, particularly at night and during soccer matches. One of the local soccer teams, the Boca Juniors, has a stadium there called La Bombonera. While the colors and vibrancy make this barrio feel alive and pulsing, it’s clear that houses are flimsily constructed and dilapidated.
We walked through tourist gift shops and took pictures, but an hour was plenty of time to visit. We walked next to the stadium and past hordes of stray dogs scavenging the streets. Beautiful and at the same time devastating.