October 28, 2013
Sunday we attend our first Bolivian soccer game, in which Sucre’s team, Universitario, beats La Paz’s team, The Strongest, 4–2. They play in the biggest stadium in Sucre, Estadio Patria, which probably seats 25,000–30,000—17,000 attend, which is 13,000 more than for the previous match. There are no seat numbers, just concrete bleachers—you buy a ticket to either the North, South, East, or West part of the stadium, then sit where you want. Our tickets are about three dollars apiece. The sun is in our eyes, so everyone puts their coats over their heads to shade their vision. The goals are terrific, though only one happens on our side of the field, and both The Strongest’s goals are on penalty kicks. At one point The Strongest’s goalie gets kicked out of the game; at another point their lead scorer spits in the face of one of the “pasapelotas,” the boys who are supposed to pass balls to the players, for being too slow. It’s a pretty violent sport—five stretchers are called out at various points. Still, it’s a gas.
Not much else is new. Ryan and an American artist named Maria who’s come to live with him for a few months are giving the kids pottery classes for four hours every Saturday morning—they’re learning all about pre-Columbian techniques. Karen and I are finally watching The Sopranos on low-res pirated DVDs. The non-violent bits are pretty engrossing; the violent ones are pretty hokey. The rainy season has begun, with sporadic thunderstorms. I’m trying to figure out how to do chemistry experiments at home (I’m homeschooling Thalia) without a kit (you can’t ship chemicals to Bolivia). My folks came to visit today—our first visitors from the USA. I found out that the yatiris and brujas who sacrifice rams on Churuquella do it on either the first Tuesday or Friday of each month, and that they’re dangerous folks—they’ll kill you if you try to witness their rituals. So next week I’m going to look up at the hills at night and see if I can see the fires.