On Saturday Chris and I went for a jog- yes a jog!- around Antigua. Jogging in Antigua is both awesome and extremely difficult (cars, rocks, dogs, motorcycles), but that is another post in itself. What is important for you to know is that we are jogging everyday, AND to my Crossfit peeps- WODing in the parks. Anyway I digress. The point is that while we were jogging last Saturday we discovered the soccer stadium of the local team. How cool it would be to go to a soccer game in Guatemala, we thought. Lucky for us, there was a game the next day.
To get to the stadium all we had to do was follow the crowds of green-clad people stuffed into the backs of pickup trucks. The crowd ranged from toothless Grandmas to drunk foreigners. Everybody came out for the game.
At the entrance to the stadium there were many Guatemalans selling food and drinks. Naturally, we bee-lined for the folks selling the beer. Two tall boys (16oz) of Brahava cost us 15 Quetzales. For all you folks back in the USA, that would be about $1.90. Thinking that we would be able to bring the beer into the stadium because, hey it’s Guatemala, we splurged and bought 4 beers.
We strolled toward the gates, both of us double fisting our beverages, ready to buy our tickets and head to our seats. We were stopped by a crowd of about 50 people lingering just outside the entrance all pounding the beers they just bought. We thought wrong. No beers allowed inside. Esta Bien! We stood with all of the other people who thought wrong and drank our 32 ounces of beer in 15 minutes. I felt like I was 21 again! We passed our empty cans off to a lady selling trinkets, and headed into the stadium.
The stadium sits in the valley of Antigua and is surrounded by a gorgeous backdrop of volcanoes and hills. The background, however, is not the main attraction, neither was the soccer game (for us at least). I didn’t even notice how picturesque the view from the stadium was until about halfway through the game. There were far too many other interesting things going on around the stadium that needed my full attention.
The field is surrounded by prison quality barbed wire
There is barbed wire on everything in Guatemala, for what reason I have no clue. At the soccer game the entire field is wrapped in prison quality barbed wire. No joke. If you choose to climb the fence, you are not just going to get a few scrapes, you will seriously injure yourself. At first I was curious as to what kind of event occured in order for the government (soccer people? town? Whoever controls the stadium?) to put up this barbed wire, but then I saw how the fans were acting and I fully understood.
The fans are nuts
I play soccer. I watch soccer. I have been to many games in my life. I also know that people in Latin America love soccer. I have seen fans get crazy on TV, but I have never experienced it first hand. The fans of Antigua GFC were very loud, very boisterous and very passionate. Chris and I had to yell in each other’s ears in order to hear. Many groups of people formed impromptu bands that played the entire time. A few very intense guys were jumping on the fence, screaming, cursing and shaking it in an attempt to distract the other team. It was crazy.
Setting off firecrackers in the garbage cans is not frowned upon
Throughout the game there were 5 different times that someone set off firecrackers in the garbage can. Every single time it scared the crap out of me, and every single time no one else blinked an eye!
You can get pizza delivered to your seat
There were a number of pizza guys roaming the stadium selling full pizzas. At first I thought that someone called the local pizza place and got themselves a snack, but I soon realized that the pizza guys are a standard fixture at all games. Pretty cool though.
Antigua won, the fans were happy, and Chris and I got to experience soccer in Latin America. It was a Sunday Funday at its finest.
Total Amount We Spent on this whole outing:
8 beers- 60 Q = $7.70
2 tickets- 50 Q = $6.40
9 Tacos– 30 Q = $3.80
Total: 140 Q = $17.90
If you are in Antigua I highly recommend checking out a soccer game if you can. Check out the team here: http://ww2.antigua-gfc.com