Friday, Sep 2, 2016

It’s been a busy and fun day here in the country of zero degrees latitude. Pam and Eddy invited us over for an early dinner, so we got to listen to some of Pam’s crazy stories when she was a young waitress in the states and learning English. Pam is originally from Chile and speaks Spanish. She told us that at one point her boss said she was the worst waitress in North America. Pam has the cutest smile and she just grinned telling us her story.

Learning a foreign language is hard, and words and their meaning vary so much. When a man asked for eggs sunny side up, Pam asked him why he was joking with her. He asked her if she was stupid. She said no, that she is from Chile. He told her to go back to Europe. I was dying of laughter.

When her toes hurt she said to her girlfriend in the restaurant, “my feet fingers hurt”. Spanish does not have the word toes as a direct translation. Pam gave us an example of how words and meaning don’t translate straight across the board. She said for the intended meaning of  “pulling my leg” in English, one would say “pulling my hair” in Spanish. These are just things you have to learn. I could relate to her stories trying to learn a new language.

Tonight we went to our first professional soccer game. It was between Deportiva Cuenca (Cuenca Sport) and Fuerza Amarilla (Yellow Force), a team from Machala on the coast. We met Scott, his friend Manuel, and Auro at the stadium. We needed to buy tickets and none of us had done this here before. We decided to by the cheap seats at $4 bucks each to see what we would get.

We found a line selling tickets and stood in it for a good twenty minutes before we were at the window. (Note to self: the $8/seat window had no line). I asked for seven seats for Cuenca. The man behind the barred window told me I was in the wrong line. This window was for the opposing team. The line I wanted was on the other side of the stadium.

We walked around the large oval structure and found the window for our tickets. Since the game was going to start in 5 minutes there was no line here. The man gave me our tickets and pointed to my left where the line to get in the stadium was at. The entrance we went to was for, what I think, season pass holders and were turned away. I was told I needed the line for “boletos”. That entrance, with “BOLETOS” above the door was about 10 feet away next to this one, but we had to wind our way out of, then back through makeshift metal isles.

As we approached the door for boletos we were turned away again, because this was the door for the $8 boletos. Again I was pointed toward my left to the entrance I needed. As we followed around the curved stadium we found our entrance. Yep, a line of people from the entrance door all the way across the street. We got in line and it wasn’t too long before we were inside.

After a man took my ticket I was pointed to a wall where four policemen stood. I was instructed to face the wall, place my hands on it, and be searched. All the men entering were searched before being allowed in. The women got a pass on this part.

Our tickets had seat numbers on them and as I looked at the tiered rows of concrete seats lining the stadium, they had isle letters and row numbers painted on them. We made our way to our seats and there was a crowd of people sitting in them. No big deal because I guess the cheap seats are really more like general admission. So we found a place for the seven of us to sit together and watched the game.

The first half was slow. The most action was watching the heavy dramatics players made rolling around on the field like they were going to die when they were fouled. Their rolling around and holding their legs didn’t stop until the ref pulled out a card. Yellow for warning and red for ejection from the game. It took the ref a minute or so to evaluate the situation, but once he did, the card was raised. The fouled player was always hoping for a red card, but once the card was displayed, whether red or yellow, the player stood up and ran back to his position. Healing happens quick on the field.

Go Cuenca!

Go Cuenca!

Half-time Show

Half-time Show


Turns out we had great seats. We were at the opponent’s end of the field for the second half and close to the net. We had great views of every goal that was made and for most of the second half all the action was happening at this end of the field. Cuenca emerged the victor, 3-2 and the fans went crazy.

Deportiva vs Fuerza Amarilla

Deportiva vs Fuerza Amarilla

I can’t remember when I have had so much fun for $4 bucks.