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“The one not jumping is a Brit!” – Argentine Soccer Chant

16 Jun

Soccer teams in Argentina don’t rely on cheerleaders to keep fans up out of their seats during a game. A voluntary “cheer mafia” made up of hard-core fans in various states of soberly disorder eagerly does this on their own from the stands. At least, so we’ve heard from our friend Galen who braved the madness and went to a Boca Juniors soccer game and experienced the “cheer mafia” firsthand.

At one point in the game, one of the men leading the cheering and singing went to their row and punched a dude who wasn’t cheering. The dude was a tourist. Then, this cheer-man grabbed one of Galen’s friends by the shirt, essentially commanding them to cheer or else face the same fate.

What Galen discovered later was that the cheering at a soccer game in Argentina is a bit of a superstition. The louder, rowdier, and more pervasive the cheering is the better the team will play. A moment of silence or a silent onlooker may be the root cause of a player’s mishap. So, it’s not that the cheer mafia are simply jerks, they’re superstitious. At least this cheer man was, Galen believed.

While cheering in the U.S. for hours on end sounds incredibly tedious — how long can you go yelling a “Yay!” here, a “Go team!” there, and an occasional collective “De-Fense!” without a break? — cheering in Buenos Aires is more like singing choruses over and over again. The crowd is one large choir, and each team has its own songbook. It’s a lot easier to sing for hours than to yell.

Friends at the Argentina vs. Ecuador soccer game

Lionel Messi before the Argentina vs. Ecuador game - June 2, 2012

The game we went to wasn’t enforced by a cheer mafia, thankfully. But they still had a songbook to sing as they watched Lionel Messi destroy Ecuador.

My favorite song from the night went like this (not my video, but taken at our game):

 

“Y ya lo ve, y ya lo ve, el que no salta, es un inglés.”

Which basically means, “And now you see it, and now you see it, the one not jumping is a Brit!”

Notice in the video everyone is jumping! Hilarious that they sing it at a game against Ecuador!

In the end, we were super excited to see an awesome game where (1) Argentina won, (2) Messi scored a goal, (3) the cheer mafia men were not on the lookout, and (4) we were able to sing the songbook of Argentina soccer. Good times.

After the Argentina vs. Ecuador game at River Plate Stadium

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Cafe Rivas, Jazz, and an Umbrella

4 Jun

A Romantic Night at Cafe Rivas in San TelmoWe were standing on the cobblestone in San Telmo at midnight. It was wet, but not raining, and after an amazing dinner, it was simply the most natural thing to do. We paused to soak in the romance of the evening before heading back home. Then we heard a man calling out to us from down the street. We had forgotten our umbrella in the restaurant and the waiter trailed after us to return it.

Oddly, it was the perfect conclusion to our evening spent at Cafe Rivas.

Of the four or five times we’ve dined at Cafe Rivas, not once have we left disappointed. With live, talented musicians jiving on old standards almost every night, and a gorgeous building and ambiance nodding to an earlier era, it’s easily become our favorite restaurant in the city.

Inside Cafe Rivas

Cafe Rivas Traditional Menu

Cafe Rivas Pear & Gorgonzola Salad

The menu is also smartly done. For less than $40-50 pesos a person, you can have a consistently delicious and filling meal. The prices grow steeper as you tack on wine, starters, and dessert, or opt for the Rib Eye steak. Which, by the way, has surprisingly been the best meat (not just steak) I’ve had in Buenos Aires, only second to the ribs at Estancia La Candelaria.

On Thursday nights during the warmer months, the jazz trio sets up outside on the street sweetly complementing the charm of the San Telmo neighborhood. On a previous visit to Cafe Rivas we also hung around outside after dinner — dancing on the opposite street corner — hesitant to end the evening.

Cafe Rivas Jazz Trio

Cafe Rivas Jazz Trio


Part Two: Dinner with Friends

As a farewell dinner for our friends, Galen & Laura, who will be returning to Canada on Thursday, and Scott & Ashley, who will be in Santiago, Chile, for a month, our normal crew of eight went to Cafe Rivas at our recommendation. They loved the food and atmosphere, and since it was a Thursday night, the jazz trio was playing upstairs as we ate like royalty. Here are some photos of the amazing night with great friends.

Left to right: Kara, Matias, Stephen, Galen, Laura, Scott, Ashley, & Maggie.

The Rib Eye (“Ojo de Bife”). Seriously, the best steak I’ve eaten in Buenos Aires.

So good!

Kara (and Laura) celebrating their gazpachos in a glass.

Good ol’ Matias, the only Porteño in the crew. He teaches us so much, but especially to not ask, “So, how you do say … in Spanish?” too many times in one night.

The Mango Flan. Unique and delicious.

Chocolate Marquis: the most amazing bite of chocolate Maggie has ever tasted. No exaggeration.

An Afternoon with Horses (Polo Game)

3 May

horse polo statue buenos aires

I’ve been wanting to go to a polo match ever since I saw that there were fields here in Buenos Aires. Our recent move into the life of luxory brought us just blocks away from the two fields in Palermo. So, one afternoon in March at the suggestion of our friends, we got together for a little free polo action.

Before the action started, I was taking pictures of the horses from outside the fence on the sidewalk.  One of the guys brushing and braiding their tails called over to me and told me to come in for a closer look. I couldn’t believe that just feet from one of the busiest avenues in Buenos Aires I was standing even closer to 30-plus horses ready to chase a ball around. They didn’t look as excited about it as I was.

polo horse buenos aires

polo horse buenos aires

polo feild stadium buenos aires

polo field stadium palermo buenos aires

That’s our new neighborhood, Las Cañitas.

polo field buenos aires palermo

polo match buenos aires field horses

polo match buenos aires field horses

It was pretty funny as we tried to learn the rules by watching the game. I was trying to cheer for the black team, but got confused when the blue team was scoring on their goal. Apparently, after every point scored, they switch directions!

Even though it took us a while to figure out the basics of the game, watching the horses sprint across the field, stop on a dime, and bump one another entertained us plenty.

polo field bueno aires

horse polo statue buenos aires

If you’re in Buenos Aires during the summer and fall (Dec – May) there are many games at the fields in Palermo (Campo Argentino de Polo). Many of them are free and it’s a wonderful outing for families in a relaxing setting. Here’s a Spanish search results page of “Palermo” on the official polo site that is helpful in finding about games and tournaments.

Meat, Cheese and a Photography Lesson

5 Apr

One of our new friends, Jaco, recently took Maggie and me out for lunch at one of his and our favorite restaurants in Buenos Aires, Las Cholas. We loaded up on the “Parrillada Completa” (complete grill) and “Provoleta de Cabra y Rucula” (Argentine provolone goat cheese and arugula).

In the US, we’re not accustomed to eating the non-muscles parts of a cow. Here in Argentina, they eat just about everything, so we ventured out and tasted “morcilla” (blood sausage) for the first time. It got one thumb down from Maggie and two thumbs up from me.

After stuffing our faces, Jaco gave us an amazingly in-depth and helpful photography lesson in crayons. Just in time for Maggie’s mom and sister’s visit!