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Queen Guitar Rhapsodies

In Mexico watching Mexicans watching Mexico

Carlos watching Mexicans watching Mexico v Uruguay in Mexican supermarket

After Norway I flew directly to Mexico. I took time off from my practise to recover my breath from the travel. I went out to eat spicy food. I drank beer laced with chilli and even knocked back the odd tequila or two.

In Norway I had watched the opening game of the World Cup, South Africa v Mexico. In Mexico I was curious to watch Mexicans watch Mexico play Uruguay. I chose the venue: a supermarket, a large one with a car park. The chairs were set up in front of a small screen at the entrance. They were not all taken. People strolled by pushing their trolleys taking no notice. Mexicans are pretty laid back at the best of times, but even this was low key by their standards.

At the end of the match Mexico progressed through to the next round. There was no cheering or stamping of feet. People just got up quietly and went about their business. For the next game, I went to a spacious restaurant full of light and colourful decorations. It was lunchtime. Families with small children and friends gathered around tables with a large screen dominating one corner and smaller screens elsewhere. I ordered my favourite food: taquitos and pollo con mole, which is chicken covered in hot chocolate. Believe me, it is delicious.

As the game started there was a sense of quiet excitement but no cheering. Mexico was playing Argentina. Mexico hasn't won a match against Argentina in about a million years. They started well. Near misses were met with gasps and shouts. Gradually Argentina took over but no one seemed particularly downcast, there was still a festive atmosphere. In the interval the restaurant had hired two dancers in full Aztec outfit to perform for us – a nice touch. As the game drew to a close even the waiters stopped serving to watch the screens. Although Mexico lost I wouldn't say there was a sense of resignation, rather of expectation fulfilled.

I ordered some very sugary dessert and coffee, which wasn´t that good – a pity since Mexico was once an important coffee producer. The happy atmosphere returned to the tables. The television station proceeded immediately to another programme. The restaurant offered me a free drink.

Yes, expectation fulfilled is what everyone felt, but there was no sadness or sense of anguish, let alone betrayal, just acceptance that Mexico had done its' very best against a better team. I watched them all finish their meals and leave, politely thanking the staff for their service, smiling and relaxed.

I decided to take up what I had last done in Norway a few days earlier: some practise for my upcoming concerts, and fired up by the match also decided, oh yes, to watch England in their next game.

July 2010

Printed from: http://www.carlosbonell.com/blog/?p=136 .
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