Wednesday was an adventure. We had a boring morning of waiting in lines for photos and applying for new student visas. Our evening by far overshadowed the monotony of the morning. We left at about 2:30pm for Mexico City to go watch the Mexico vs. USA soccer game. There were 16 of us crammed into a 12 person bus with minimal A/C. We grew closer as a Puebla-family.
When we got to Mexico City, we weren’t too sure who to cheer for. Most of us had on some form of Red/White/Blue but there was also Mexican flag colored facepaint and doo-rags. One of the girls ended up buying an American flag to complement all of our Mexican jerseys.
Everyone glaring at the USA supporters could easily be referred to as foreshadowing. We moved into Estadio Azteca and tried to take our seats.
However, before we could, a police officer upon seeing the American flag quickly ushered us to the American section. This section consisted of about 30 fans huddled relatively close together. On the left side of the section was a line of fence with barbed wire at the top and standing proudly next to it: Mexican SWAT. We’re talking full out helmets, riot shields and bulletproof vests. On the right side, another line of SWAT made the other border of our section. That was not all. Behind us, two policemen were guarding the entrance while another ten lined the top border of the section. I’m pretty sure the policemen outnumbered the American fans. We felt both very safe and a wee bit nervous. Who says welcome to a friendly game of fútbol by guarding fans of the other team with riot police?
The first half of this so-called friendly game proved uneventful. The USA played rather poorly although there were a few close calls on both sides. Halftime was fantastic. If you have been watching the Olympics at all the last few days you would have seen Mexico beat Brazil for the gold medal 1-0. Fans, both American and Mexican, welcomed the team wearing their medals onto the field at halftime.
There was an entire fireworks show! A few looked to closely graze the seating areas but hey, what can you do? A few people from our group decided to go get snacks at the half but couldn’t exactly leave sporting USA. For camouflage, they put on their Mexican jerseys/doo-rags/spiky wigs and snuck out, trying to keep a low profile. After all, if we needed SWAT to protect us, it couldn’t hurt to at least attempt to blend in. They came back and we all got settled back into our concrete seats.
Then, lo and behold, USA scores! It’s almost the end of the game and we score! USA has never won on Mexican soil, not even once in the 75 year rivalry. Our section went crazy! Jumping, dancing, taking pictures. Unfortunately, we were the only ones pleased. Within say…about three seconds the beers started getting thrown. We looked behind us to see flying cups being batted away by police shields and saw the crowd start to rumble and move. There was a riot above us! Before the second wave of beer started, we snapped a quick picture. I was very lucky to have just put my raincoat on because I was cold. It deflected liquid quite nicely.
The second wave came and went. The onslaught did not stop. The man behind me had his phone hit right out of his hand to crash at my feet and I lifted my hand to the back of my head to find sticky glaze from the doughnut next to my foot. The riot police decided it was time to go and we all rushed to reach the exit of our section. The mob above us was not please with our departed and proceeded to pour more…unpleasant liquids on us.
We followed the line of police outside of the stadium as we scampered to cover the mouths of the more inebriated of our group while they started singing the Star Spangled Banner. At least until we were safe(r) in the van. That was not even all! Around when we finally got out of Mexico City, our van broke down! We were stuck at a gas station for two hours while we waited on a new bus. There was a lot of rowdy rejoicing and we even brought back some children’s games to pass the time. (Think: Miss Mary Mack, Down by the River, Patty Cake) As loud and obnoxious as we were, as soon as the bus arrived all but two were asleep in minutes. We finally returned home around 1:30am and went to sleep in our own beds before class the next morning. We were so tired that it didn’t even matter that we smelled like beer and worse — it was bedtime and nothing, not even a shower, was going to keep most of us from our beds.
Photos courtesy of Kate, Jen, Andrea, Hali, and Katelyn who were wonderful enough to bring their cameras while I forgot mine.