So, I am back home after that crazy LA sejour. Today was a special day in Uruguay. Our team was playing Korea, and we had to win to stay in the world cup. I had made plans for my friend Arpi to pick me up to go over to our friend Trici´s to watch the game at 11 Am. I don´t know if I am still catching up on sleep after my flight, but the fact is that I didn´t wake up on time to get picked up. By the time my friends got a hold of me, the game had already started and I was minus a ride. Now, you have to understand that our national soccer team playing the world cup is the biggest national holiday you can ever get in Uruguay, so, it would be impossible to get a cab, Cab drivers are also home watching the game. EVERYONE is watching the game. I had no other choice but to walk to Trici´s, which was some 15 blocks away. I walked through a desert. The streets looked liked those scenes in movies where the lone survivors walk through a city that has been devastated by some invisible natural catastrophe. I discovered a different Montevideo, including that rare species, a Uruguayan man who didn´t care about soccer. He must have been the only one on the face of the earth.
But I did make it and, as I knew in my heart, we WON. Uruguay hasn´t won a soccer world cup in 60 years, and it hasn´t gotten this close in 40, so, it was time for a celebration. My personal trainer at the Sheraton spa just explained to me yesterday that the reason Uruguay stopped existing in the world of sports after 1950 (when we beat Brazil in the finals) was the fact that the government of Batlle, the guy who single-handedly turned Uruguay into “the Switzerland of the Americas” used to support the sports, create playing fields for the kids, etc. With Batlle long gone and his policies gone with him, there was no money for sports anymore and Uruguay stopped winning at soccer, as well as at other less locally relevant sports.
No explanation needed for the change, we are back in business and that is what matters.
After the AWESOME game; it was a pleasure to watch the stamina and the technique of the uruguayan team, we HAD to go join in the celebrations.
My personal trainer wasn´t happy when I mentioned the beers that had entailed, but he was happy to see me work out like the world cup win depended on my cycling speed.
After the spa, I saw the wonderful Eli-u perform, and that was the cherry on top of a fantastic day in this tiny country squeezed between Argentina and Brazil that many people are hearing of today for the first time, after we beat those brave Koreans.
Next up: GHANA. They do have great drumming, but so do we. I think it is time for some Uruguayan candombe now. The drum beat is always right.