River Rules!!!! Football is king!

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Click here for photos from this day. Well folks, when in Rome, do as the Romans, but when in Argentina, one must certainly do as the Argentinians do, and that’s exactly how we siezed a unique opportunity on the 22nd. When we awoke, we were expecting a group meeting, and then boarding a bus for Salta (a 20 hour ride). Instead, we were told the bus didn’t leave until 10pm, so we had another full day in the Paris of South America. While we were initially bothered, since we’d mentally prepared ourselves for the long ride, this did open other opportunities. The two that came to mind were that first off, the next Air Canada flight got in at 2pm, so there was an off chance Jody might be re-united with her bag, if it hadn’t been lifted off the carousel. The second was the fact that later that day the River football team would be playing a home game. This is huge in BsAs, and we were interested in taking part. Read on…

Our guide talked about going to San Telmo, a historic district with lots of markets, antiques and street performances. Sounded okay, but after the meeting, I enquired ..what about the game..? Turns out, he is a card-carrying river fan (aka a rabid fan!!) and jumped at the chance to have to ‘escort’ some of us to the game. Duty called for him, in a good way. So, we went to san telmo first off, to explore a bit, grab food at Le Balcon, another famous cafe, then headed to the big match. It was very intense. We got in as ..locals.. and sat in the home section. What a spectacle it was. Wait till you see the pics. It was nuts. There was loads of security, tons of singing and screaming, a great shower from a fire hose at half-time, and a very sweet victory. Overall, things went very smoothly, which is good for us, given that matches are sometimes prone to violence. TO counter this, here are a few points to ponder; first, no alcohol is served at the games, second, the away fans have their own section, which is guarded; thirdly, at the end of the match, the away fans are given a head start of 30 minutes to get away from the stadium. Crazy. The real funny part was walking away from the game. Everyone was sober, even though during the game they acted like drunken buffoons (but they weren’t.) We then headed back to the hotel to grab quick food, and a quick shower (mainly to get the spit out of our hair… another story) before boarding the bus. end of post..

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