Tag Archives: futbol

Colombia + Rain + Football = Epic Adventure (with photos and videos)

Picking up where we left off in the ongoing saga of World Cup mania in Colombia, I had just bought tickets on the street to Colombia’s sold-out September 6th Qualifier against Ecuador. I bought the tickets literally a few hours before the game, and paid a hefty price.

Marcello's nursery school class on game day.

Marcello’s nursery school class on game day.

The purchase was dicey in two respects: 1) tickets are all too often found to be counterfeit, which can mean a colossal waste of money for the purchaser, and 2) my husband Gio had to work until just before the start of the game, which meant it would be no small miracle if we were able to arrive at the stadium on time. We made the leap anyway because we realized at the last minute that we would not be in Barranquilla during the remaining home World Cup Qualifiers. This would likely be our only chance to see our team — the number 3 ranked team in the world no less! — in action. It didn’t seem like an opportunity to miss.

So you can imagine our dismay when, just as we bolted out of the house to rush to the stadium, the storm clouds let loose.

The arroyo at the corner of CR 47, our street, and CL 85, the nearest cross-street. The wall that is submerged behind the tree is probably five feet tall.

The arroyo at the corner of CR 47, our street, and CL 85, the nearest cross street. The wall that is submerged behind the tree is four or five feet tall.

A torrential downpour just before a major sporting event is a problem in any city; it’s bound to cause traffic snafus. But in Barranquilla, a major downpour doesn’t just slow things down — it stops everything. This is because Barranquilla has no drainage system other than the streets themselves, which means the streets become whitewater rivers — called “arroyos” — that are capable of sweeping cars underwater and (sadly) killing people too. Gio and I donned plastic garbage bags in a (failed) attempt to stay dry and ran down the street desperately trying to hail a cab before the streets became impassable. With each step we took, the rain came down harder. We made it about two blocks from our house before the water began rushing down the street and over our shoes. At that point, we knew it was too late. Just when we decided to turn around and head home, and just when I thought it couldn’t rain any harder, it did. We were starting to feel waterboarded when we finally made it to the shelter of a nearby apartment building’s porch and a small store on the ground floor.

That’s when the fun really began. Continue reading

Prepare Yourself… This is Big

IMG_1218Something big is coming to Barranquilla. Very big. Bigger than Christmas. Bigger than New Year’s. Bigger than Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Bigger than the World Cup – oh wait, not as big as that. No one can compete with fútbol. But big. Very big.

It’s Carnaval – the traditional celebration that comes at the end of the church season of Epiphany and just before the belt-tightening of Lent. Continue reading

Fútbol, not Football

IMG_0784As the United States gears up for Super Bowl Sunday, I thought it would be a good time to provide a little taste of Colombia’s sport of choice – fútbol. We’re talking “fútbol,” the game with the round ball that you kick with your feet, as opposed to American “football,” the one with the pointy pigskin thing (is it really even a ball?) that you mostly touch with your hands, despite the name of the game (honestly, I have been confused by that ever since I was a kid).

Colombia is crazy for fútbol, and perhaps nowhere more so than Barranquilla. Continue reading