Thursday, August 25, 2011

U20 World Cup Final Part 2

Remember the guy in the Utilikilt from Part 1 of the U20 Final post (if not, click here to read Part 1)? Well he and a bunch of other guys were hanging around the stadium to help coordinate the World Cup Closing Show which was probably the most elaborate show I have ever seen in person. Here are a few pictures of some of the performers getting ready, and then since pictures can't really do justice to the performance I have included a few videos (the first 2 are mine and the 3rd is what was shown on TV here) to give you an idea of what it was like.

After that amazing spectacle, the crowd was buzzing in anticipation of the game. The crowd went wild as the teams came out. If you look closely at the picture below you can see the WC trophy on a pedestal just behind the Brazil flag.

The teams were greeted by some dignitaries and while the national anthems of both Brazil and Portugal were playing I was able to get this pic of two of the more important ones: to the far left of the suits is FIFA President Sepp Blatter (if there was ever someone Colombians hoped the FARC would kidnap...) and just to the right of him is the President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos.

Just like the 3rd place match, this game started with a bang as both teams scored goals in the first 10 minutes. The picture below is actually of the ball on its way in for Brazil's first goal (look just to the left of Portuguese player #15)!

A few more action shots from the game here.

This Brazilian, named Oscar (for those of you not familiar with soccer, Brazil wears yellow jerseys even though yellow is only a very small part of their flag and many Brazilians stars tend to go by one name and it apparently doesn't matter if it is their last or first name), was the star of the game as he scored all 3 of Brazil's goals including a nice rebound finish to tie the game at 2 and send it into extra time, and then an amazing chip shot to win it about 10 minutes before we would have headed to penalty kicks. The crowd absolutely exploded after that last goal as it was so unexpected, beautiful, and important in that it decided the game. I can't even describe the sound of the whole crowd gasping and then screaming their heads off all at the same time.

It was an incredible day of soccer (9 goals in 2 matches!) and an amazing experience overall as Brazil won a very even and entertaining match 3 -2 and celebrated their championship on the field to the delight of the pro-Brazil crowd. (Interestingly, the Colombians were cheering and even chanting at times for France to win the 3rd place game since Mexico had knocked the host nation out of the event).

After the game, the guys (from left to right:Bob, Zach, and Adam... in a Carlos Valderrama wig) and I hopped in a cab and grabbed a burger at El Corral Gormet to finish off what has been my best day so far in Colombia. If the real WC is anything like this, I can't wait to see a game!

Monday, August 22, 2011

U20 World Cup Final Part 1

One day last week I walked home from school with a friend who introduced me to a portero, or doorman, at an apartment building up the street because he sells bootleg movies out of the lobby. While we were looking through the movie selection, he asked us if we were giong to the World Cup final in a few days. One thing led to another and Adam, Zach, Bob and I ended up with tickets to the Under 20 World Cup Final on Saturday night. The final was between Brazil and Portugal but the tickets included the 3rd place game between France and Mexico so we headed down to the stadium for a marathon day of soccer entertainment!

A picture to prove that I had a ticket.

We had to go through 3 different security checkpoints outside the stadium.

It was raining when we got there so most fans were hanging out under the stands to stay dry before the games started.

I spotted this guy making an interesting choice in lower body attire (he turned out to be a technician for the closing show of the World Cup which took place between games... more on this in Part 2 of this post).

The teams listening to the national anthems before the 3rd place game in the rain.

Our seats were in the 6th row (the first 3 rows were unoccupied) about 20 yards from the corner post. This meant that once the rain slowed and the game started we were gloriously close to the action and were able to take some great pics of the game and festivities that went along with it.

This picture of me was only slightly down and over to the right from our seats.

World Cup mascot.

Mexico won the game 3 - 1 and provided us with an good game as a buildup for what was to come. Read part 2 of the World Cup Final post to find out what the guy in the Utilikilt did later.

Caught in the Rain!

A group of us are trying to get a running group going once or twice a week. Well, today, we left school and the sun was out and it was beautiful and warm. Well, when we were about 2 miles out, the sky opened up and began to downpour on us. There was lightning and some light hail, and by the time we got back to Amanda's apartment, we were soaked through to the skin! A hot shower, and some warm food and I'm feeling much better, but boy was that cold!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Villa de Leyva

A few weeks ago, our school took all the new staff to a town about 4 hours outside of Bogota for orientation. Villa de Leyva is in the desert part of the country and was where the declaration of independence was signed for Colombia from Spain. We stayed at a beautiful hotel just outside of the main town, complete with its own chapel and wonderful grounds that we could walk around.
The first night there, the school brought the dance teachers from school and we had a dance party. Jesse chose not to participate and was our photographer instead.
Here's the view of the area from the hotel.
The main plaza of Villa de Leyva. We visited a few museums in the town including an archeological museum. The valley where the city is located was once undersea, and since its so dry, fossils have been preserved.
We got to take a chiva, or party bus, into town. This is something that is done a lot in Colombia- a chiva is rented and then people party while they are driven around an area. The school provided this for us, including a few drinks to enjoy on the way!
A highlight of the weekend was a fruit exhibition. We got to see and taste a bunch of the different exotic fruits that are available in Colombia.
One of the other middle school teachers has a place out in Villa de Leyva. She has invited us to join her sometime there and see more of the town. Hopefully, we will be able to take her up on her offer.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

World Cup Under 20

For the past two weeks, the under 20 World Cup has been taking place in Colombia. This is the biggest sporting event ever held in Colombia, and after speaking with a few people who have been here for awhile, a lot of construction and prep work in the city was done in preparation. Colombia won their first few games, so they exited the group stage number one in their group. Jesse and I have watched the games, either at one of the thousands of bars in the area, or at home.

Last night was the first game of the elimination round, Colombia vs. Costa Rica. I was exhausted, so I thought going to bed early would be a good idea. Unfortunately for me, Colombia scored three times, which resulted in everyone in the neighborhood cheering; waking me up with each goal and at the end of the game. The next game is against Mexico on Saturday. I think I'll just stay up and watch that one.