Monthly Archives: June 2010

straight ahead, to Best Buy, we go

I give up. It’s been five days since I left South Africa and two since my beloved Mexico was knocked out by those good-for-nothing Argentinians and yet I still can’t come up with a comprehensive, effective plan to take the photos and videos currently stored on my camera, well, out of it.

I’ve managed one step. A crawl, really. I’ve downloaded the contents onto my family computer, courtesy of an SD drive in the tower. The files are too large and too many to upload to my flickr or email them to myself. That would take WEEKS.

Plus, I have to edit. Of course, I have to edit. There’s no way I’m letting everyone have unfettered access to three weeks of international fun and World Cup mayhem.

I guess I have no other choice but to throw down a few bucks on that computer cord. Grrr…..

PHOTO: Long journey through Nelspruit, like mine with these photos!!!

Gone silent

It was inevitable. With all the madness going on in South Africa, my tight schedule and lack of constant proximity to a computer with Internet connection, I have failed to live up to my goal of blogging throughout my trip. I also blame my camera. What’s the best part of these things??… the photos and videos! I have some AMAZING stuff that’s stuck in my camera. No cord to get it out and no computer with a built-in SD drive either.

For this, I apologize.

But, fear not, I will be back when I’m stateside with countless stories, such as:

  • The Rules of Fandom, by English Andy and friends
  • The Adventures of Wrong-Way Driving, by MexiCAN #1
  • The Art of War, by Hay-Va El Agua
  • How to Succeed at Camping without Really Trying, by Ubuntu

Kickoff is in 7 hours… come on, already!!!

Why is it the coldest day of the year on the most important?! It’s 9 a.m. out here and about 40°F. I don’t know if it’s supposed to warm up or start to rain. Apparently, nobody told the weather that it’s uncool to be tempermental today.

The game doesn’t start for about 7 hours, but the ruckus began in full force yesterday. I was a Ratz bar in Melville, watching the opening concert. Did anyone else see Desmond Tutu all bafana bafana-ed out?

Met some amazing people. Of course, Mexican fans were there… on their way to work!! [Sidenote: If anyone’s watching the games on a Latin America channel, I know who you can blame if the connection dies.] Some English fans (just 3) and a bar full of South Africans who didn’t kick us out when we started belting Cielito Lindo.

Time for breakfast and to buy our park-n-ride tickets. You won’t hear back from me until after the game… and if I’m in a bad mood, you may not want to hear what I’m gonna say. But that’s not going to happen, go MEXICO!!!

Made it… along with the rest of México

My journey that began at LAX Monday night, finally came to an end around 4 p.m. local time yesterday in Johannesburg.

Little by little, along the way, I kept seeing more and more green jerseys.

First, there were about a handful of us on the redeye to New York. Then, the numbers swelled and most of the passengers on the Emirates flight were Mexico fans. I was momentarily shocked when I sat next to some guy who was going to be following the US team. “Oh yeah, there are other teams playing in the World Cup. Kinda forgot.”

We had people in green jerseys, black jerseys, hats of all shapes and sizes, t-shirts. We were a pretty mellow crowd. More than 20 hours flying will do that to some.

But, once we landed in Johannesburg, that changed quick.

The vuvuzelas were out. And so were the mariachis.

There were more people rooting for Mexico than any other team, including South Africa. I won’t hold that against them. This was an airport. There’s no need for bafana bafana fans to show up at the airport. They should be proud that the airport security was representing though — getting in a duel with vuvuzelas on one side and mariachis and matracas on the other.

Yeah, I had stuff to do at the airport — exchange some dollars for rands; look for a temporary phone; pick up match tickets — but all the energy made it fun to stick around until 7 p.m.

Tomorrow’s opening match is going to be legendary. Playing at a 94,700 capacity stadium in a city parked more than 6,500 feet above sea level, it is the ultimate home-field advantage. But El Tri knows a thing or two about intimidating home fields. Its monstrous Estadio Azteca seats 105,000 at 7300 feet above sea level. Whenever teams play there, opposing fans are outnumbered and smothered in the stands.

Who knows what the crowd will look like tomorrow? But so far, it looks like what everyone already knew about México fans is true: We will follow our team anywhere. To a tiny village in Germany and definitely to huge venue like World Cup in South Africa.

The parties have officially begun and I’m off to find the bar in Johannesburg that has a replica of El Ángel. It shouldn’t be too hard. I think there are like two Mexican cantinas out here.

PHOTOS: well, there were some and a couple videos too. I’m still trying to figure out the best way to post since I lost my computer cord. Once I figure it out, I’ll update this post.

Day 1: I better not have forgotten my wallet

Alright, this is my last post before I begin my journey to the World Cup. Tonight, after work, I’m heading to LAX to catch the redeye to New York. I had planned to pack everything for almost three weeks of travel in ONE carry-on and a backpack. I have succeeded.

With the help of some creative packing techniques and compression bags, I’ve stuffed weeks worth of WINTER clothes and FANATICISM chotchkies. Only problem is that my sombrero may make my clever packing moot.

Also, my dad bought me an obscenely-loud foot-long matraca that could be considered a weapon. Ergo prohibited on carry-ons.

This unfocused photo was taken at 1 a.m. from my cell phone after I finished packing. (Ugh, sad side note: my cell doesn’t have international calling capabilities. This is when I regret opting for a cheapie phone.) If you look carefully, you’ll see a luchador luggage tag.

Day 2: Nail-thin pride

I have my jerseys. I have my t-shirts. I have my cap and I even have a charro sombrero. Now, I’ve added the nails.

Is it overkill? Absolutely not. I needed a manicure anyway and why not spend some time with my favorite people at Miiyu, who know just what crazy colors I want/need? For awhile now, MexiCAN #2 and I made this a tradition — metro red line to Koreatown, mani/pedis, happy hour. But since she’s already in NY, this was a solo event.

I love bright colors for my nails. I recently had Fiercely Fiona and Who the Shrek are you? That’s why I stay away from French manis. They’re too simple and boring for my taste. But green is neighter simple nor boring. We started with Jade’s the New Black by OPI.

But, wait a minute. We didn’t stop there.


Add a little Spicy Red and a dash of white. And voila! An understated overstatement. I briefly considered doing all my nails like this, but decided to just leave it to a couple lucky fingers. The final result:

I was given the option of putting a little brown spot in the middle of the nail. It was supposed to be a stand-in for an eagle with a snake in its mouth standing on a cactus that’s growing out of a lake. That’s lofty for a “brown spot.” I chose against it.

So now I have the same colors as Italia. I don’t mind. I usually root for Italy when they’re not playing Mexico. Italy v. France at the World Cup in 2006 — rooted for Italy. Brazil v. Italy finals in 1994 — rooted for Italy. Yep, over Brazil. Why? Because I loved Baggio… both Roberto and Dino. I was devastated when Roberto’s penalty went over the goal. What a way to go?

Day 3: pretty, pretty cape

It’s getting down to the wire and I’m getting MORE and MORE excited about this trip. The World Cup is a great excuse to visit South Africa, but even if it weren’t, I would still salivate at the thought of going back. It has some of the most breath-taking sights I’ve seen… from the top of Table Mountain to the red earth of the wine country and the infinite horizon at the Cape of Good Hope.

Below are some photos of a trip down the coast from Cape Town to Cape Point:

The Twelve Apostles at Camps Bay

Cutie penguins in Simon’s Town

Cape Point

Great horizon at Cape Point.

Posing at the Cape of Good Hope

More of Good Hope

In case you didn’t believe I was there…

Day 4: #14 in your programs, #1 in your hearts

Earlier this week, Mexico released the jersey numbers that it’s final team will wear during this World Cup. No big surprises. CUAU once again got the coveted No. 10 shirt. Though he missed out on WC 2006, he did wear No. 10 in 2002.

Among the goalies, OSCAR PEREZ, who played during yesterday’s “friendly” against Italy and who was the national team’s goalie in 2002, will wear No. 1. Media darling MEMO OCHOA takes No. 13 and LUIS MICHEL, No. 23.

There’s talk that Aguirre will stick with Italy’s lineup for the opening match against South Africa. If that’s the case, then CUAUHTEMOC BLANCO will be sitting tight as JAVIER “CHICHARITO” HERNANDEZ, GIOVANI DOS SANTOS and CARLOS VELA start. But we can see what an infusion of fresh legs can do in a game during the second half — CUAU sent a beautiful pass over an Italian defender to ALBERT MEDINA for Goal #2.

In case you want to buy a jersey, here are their new numbers:

GOALIES:

1 – Oscar PEREZ

13 – Memo OCHOA

23 – Luis MICHEL

DEFENDERS:

2 – Francisco Javier RODRIGUEZ

3 – Carlos SALCIDO

4 – Rafael MARQUEZ

5 – Ricardo OSORIO

12 – Paul AGUILAR

15 – Hector MORENO

16 – Efrain JUAREZ

19 – Jonny MAGALLON

MIDFIELDERS:

6 – Gerardo TORRADO

8 – Israel CASTRO

18 -Andres GUARDADO

20 – Jorge TORRES NILO

FORWARDS:

7 – Pablo BARRERA

9 – Guillermo FRANCO

10 – Cuauhtemoc BLANCO

11 – Carlos VELA

14 – Javier HERNANDEZ

17 – Giovani DOS SANTOS

21 – Adolfo BAUTISTA

22 – Alberto MEDINA

PHOTO: CUAU sporting the No. 10 jersey.

Day 5 (still): veni, vidi, vici… or…

¡Venimos! ¡Vimos! y ¡Conquistamos!

What a test of skill and wits. All those games Mexico played these last few weeks against England, the Netherlands and Gambia made them into a well-oiled machine. It showed on the field today: Mexico 2, Italy 1.

I was able to watch the first half of the game online and was thrilled when I saw CARLOS VELA score. Shortly after, my connection went kaput and I didn’t watch a minute of the second half. Luckily, I remembered to set a recording before I left for work. I’ll be able to see how the latter part of this game played out.

Or I can say WHATEVER… I know how it ends and this evening is reserved for LAKERS v. CELTICS game 1.

Here are some match stats, courtesy of ESPN:

ITALY MEXICO
Shots (on goal) 15 (4) 15 (4)
Fouls 6 24
Corner Kicks 6 6
Offsides 4 5
Time of Possession 36% 64%
Yellow Cards 3 5
Red Cards 0 0
Saves 2 3

PHOTO from AP: Mexico’s PAUL AGUILAR celebrates with VELA and SALCIDO during game against Italy, June 3, 2010 in Brussels.

Day 5: The Showdown at the Brussels Corral

Today is Judgment Day.

The last friendly match for Mexico before they mosey on down to South Africa and it will be against the defending champions. On paper, it doesn’t look good for El Tri. Italy has won four FIFA World Cups, including 2006. Plus, it has the honor of being one of two nations (Brazil is the other) to have one back-to-back World Cups. Mexico, on the other hand, has only reached the quarterfinal stage TWICE and that was on home turf. And it terms of ranking, it’s a 13 taking on a 5. It’ll definitely be a test of skill.

But if people cared about statistics then no one would root for the underdog. David wouldn’t have slain Goliath. Puebla wouldn’t have fought the French and we in the U.S. would’ve come up with another tequila-drinking “holiday” to celebrate.

Game starts at 10:15 a.m. PST. You can watch it on Telemundo or a live stream here.

It’s on like DONKEY KONG!!

Check out how the game ended.