Part I of The Questionable and International Adventures of The J-Man - a Philologist. Well, dear friends.
It looks like it's been a while again, and for that I apologize, but fear not my peoples, for I shall once again open the bag of stories that is my mouth and tell you stories stranger than fiction. For the record, I do realize that technically I'm not opening anything because I'm writing this and not dictating, but please just accept the poor metaphor and move on. Here are the TOP 4 sports stories from my time in Vigo. (Next time, final recap on Spain and future plans..very excited..)
4. Yell the town red!! sport: Screaming
Having already spent a couple of months in Vigo I finally found out where the local basketball team was playing. And before you think "well you should've checked the website, I bet it's there", I dare you, as a matter of fact, it's a DOUBLEDARE, try it yourself. It's a lot of fun, until you find out it would be significantly quicker to build them a new arena than finding the current one. AAAANYWAY.. I found the place and heard there was a game against Mallorca (I think). Cool, count me in.
At first the signs were promising: Spain was the reigning world champion, the fans couldn't sit still and there was even a BLIMP floating around aimlessly above the court!! From there things went bad fast:
The fans would not give the referee a second of peace (shocking..NOT), the field goal percentage (shooting accuracy) was in single digits througout the game, honestly, I could hit more jump shots after a gallon of bad sangria, the cheerleaders (all girls) looked like me, but chubbier and some hairier, AND Mallorca's coach was about to have a stroke from all the screaming.
Since the quality of the game sucked so much I concentrated on the coo-coo coach. He was yelling at the ref, his players, the other team's players, the other team's coach, the fans, and I'm pretty sure he even gave an earful to the poor cheerleaders after a time-out. He went from regular red (like one looks like when one screams very loud), to fire engine red, to a purple-ish blue with spots of white. I was both amazed by the sheer volume (double meaning: loudness AND amount) of the yelling, and the fact that evidently this guy wouldn't go down. He couldn't have had a single O2 molecule left in his body when they finally threw him out in 5 minutes into the last quarter, but he wouldn't let biology get in his way.
He fought his way back to the court from the corridor leading to the locker rooms and two more security guards had to carry him away.. I had to get up and applaud the man's dedication. Luckily the home team scored only moments later, so I wasn't lynched by the fans and lived to tell the tale. And the funny thing is, as far as I know, the coach is still alive, too.
3. Half-marathon by accident sports: running, idiocy
I had just watched 300 on my computer. Now don't blame me, because the Spaniards don't do subtitles because they don't have to because they're special because they're Spanish. (the old "Fuck it, I'm French-syndrome")
So it was going to be either: "Este es locura!!" "Locura!?!...Este...es...SPARTAA!!" in the movie theater,
or the illegal version in English. Can you guess which I picked?
Ladies, you have to understand that a movie like 300 can be very emotional for guys. I've heard stories about guys wandering around in the yard naked after some serious drinking, screaming "Is there no one else?!?!", and I probably would have killed a friend of mine after seeing Matrix the first time, when he somehow would have failed miserably in dodging the approaching bullets in slo-mo, both of us singing Rage Against the Machine's Freedom in a "Pa-naa-na-naa-na"-version. If we would have had a gun, that is.
So there I was, topless (only way to watch that movie), and wanted very much to go out and buy a shield. But the Spanish word for shield escaped me at that moment, so I was forced to go running, because there was no gym within a 3 mile radius to get rid of the excess adrenaline. I picked a direction and I ran. I came to the sea and started following the coast. After a while I got to the beach where we used to go and ventured onward. Soon I was dangerously dehydrated and stopped to drink from a questionable fountain, while watching a terrible street-ball game. Minutes later I felt like the Mallorca coach in the story above and thought it essential to keep running. I was already pretty far away but getting close to a long, narrow bridge leading to a small island with only a handful of houses.
Had I been a cat, I probably would have died of curiosity like in the proverb, but I came close as a human, too. I made it to the other end of the bridge and saw a gate. There was a guardhouse and a guard with a gun. I had to think on my feet, but since my feet were really, really tired, all I could come up with was a loud HOULA!! He didn't look like he invented the wheel, but even he could see I had no business on that island. He asked me for credentials, which I didn't have, since I had NOTHING except for a pair of sweaty shorts, socks and shoes. I tried to tell him that although I didn't live on the island, per se, my friend, Julio did. For a while he believed me, until I had to tell him where Julio lived. It turned out there is no "Rua del Mar 2".. AH.. The dude told me to take a hike, and I ignored the screaming irony.
Well, clearly I had not thought this through. I listed my options. There were two. 1) run back home, which might kill me 2) start shit with the armed guard, which would most definitely at least wound me mortally. Again, I opted for living to tell the tale ("It's a self-preservation thing" - which movie, I ask you??), so I started running again.
Several painful miles later I arrived at my ghetto-fabulous pad, checked my map and got a total of 22,4 kilometers run, and decided to buy an Eng-Spa dictionary.
I'm gonna save you some time and some knees. The word is Escudo. Just buy the shield.
2. Anti-Depo sports: soccer, yelling, hating
I had already seen one soccer match in Vigo when Celta had played Werder Bremen in UEFA-Cup, but that game was quite lame, unfortunately. So I was excited when I found out about the local rivalry Celta-Depertivo (L)a Coruña. Rivalries are always fun, but one in Spain would have to kick the crap out of anything we have back home. With the exception of Finland-Sweden in hockey, maybe.
Since NONE of the guys that I knew wanted to go see the game!!!! (which is why they didn't make the cut to life-long international friends, those cunts), I had to go with girls. Ella, a Finnish girl in the same exchange program and her hot, although fantastically sunburnt, friend who was visiting her. The atmosphere before the game was intense, to put it mildly. There were enough armed police officers to overthrow the Spanish government (which might not have been a bad idea..), and the stadium was filled to the brim.
I'm not going to give you a detailed account of the game itself. It was an OK as soccer matches go, and Celta actually ended up winning 1-0. But the fact that made this game special were the fans. Well, I guess it would be wrong to call the fans, a word which has a positive connotation, because they were far from positive. The fans at the previous game had cheered Celta on and were genuinely disappointed when Bremen scored a crap goal to win the game. These "fans", in turn, were just plain mean.
The weather was nice and the full stadium looked impressive with hundreds of flags waving in rhythm above the masses of people. However, I soon noticed that there were almost no Celta Vigo banners or flags to be found. Odd, it WAS, after all, Celta's home game. Instead, everyone had ANTI-DEPO!! flags, banners, even scarves!
These "fans" didn't care if Celta won, all they cared about was Deportivo losing, and preferably getting seriously injured in the process. The rivalry was so out of hand that it wasn't even about sports anymore. It was closer to a civil war. Even the women and children were shouting stuff that would have made experienced pirates cringe, blush, and shield their ears. (EARMUFFS!!) Getting worried about the safety of my friends (and myself), we left the stadium a couple of minutes before the final whistle, because we didn't have any Pro-Celta OR Anti-Depo apparel, which had to mean that we didn't hate Depo enough to be allowed to live.
I read in the paper the next day that ONLY 12 people got arrested after the game, which was a 5-year low..
1. Houdini finds home sports: orientering, survival
Just as my time in Vigo was coming to an end, two of my buddies decided to grace me with their presence. They came to wreak havoc, get dangerously sunburned, hit on anything that moves (at least one of them), and drink copious amounts of SUPABOCK!! (a very intense beer), 1906 (try to pronounce milnovecientosyseis to the bartender after the first few), aguardiente (dear lord), and basically to burn all the bridges that i had built in the first 5 months. And that they did..
Of the many stories I could - but should not - tell you there is one that beats the others as a sporting event. It's a one man's survival battle against complex city-planning, non-existent public transport system, enough drinks to compromise a man's ability to speak his mother tongue, let alone any other language, and finally the ridiculously poor English skills of the people of Vigo.
It was the second night that guys were in town, and thus also the second party. Normally, after a night of that caliber one's resistance to king alcohol would be as high as Snoop, but the drinking games and the general the fact that we were simply having so much fun caused two things:
1) Fab (friend 1) concentrated all his energy on hitting on a outrageously hot girl who was leaving the country the next, while I concentrated on cheering him on as a completely unnecessary wing-man..
2) Houdini (friend 2) vanished into thin air.
Now, the fact that his nickname (one of many) was Houdini even before this story should have told us that perhaps someone should keep on an eye on him, but the aforementioned girl was simply way too hot for us to pay attention to useless details like our best friends survival in a foreign country, thus forcing us to blatantly violate the sacred "bro's before ho's"-code. Whoops.
The problem, or more accurately the problems were: 1) We had no idea, whatsoever, where Houdini might have gone 2) He wasn't picking up his phone 3) We didn't notice that he had vanished until we had switched bars/clubs at least twice 4) Houdini didn't speak a word of Spanish and the locals didn't really speak English 5) He didn't know my address 6) That very address (home) was on the other side of town 7) The last time Houdini got lost he said he was going back to the hotel (north) and started walking southwest towards Compton (we were in L.A.)
As our livers were burning the booze, our brains starter getting increasingly worried about Houdini. He had done this before, but then we had had maybe 2/7 of the problems above at a time. After failing to take the girl back to her friend who had casually abandoned her earlier (a kind of a trend that night), we took her to my place, but the battle was lost. We looked like shit, she would probably miss her flight, and there was no sign of Houdini, which kinda killed the after party. Then, about 45 mins after we had all gone to separate beds my phone rings. It's Houdini. He says, can you please buzz me in, I'd very much like to sleep..
To this day we have no confirmation on how in the name of Zeus's butt-hole did he find his way back home, but he did. He said he had remembered a plaza and a blacksmith of some sorts and the name Tomas, and maybe taken a cab at some point.. I lived at Travesia Tomas Alonso, 200 metres from Plaza Eugenio Fadrique, a famous sculptor. I guess luck favors the brave.. And after all, Houdini wasn't great because he escaped, he was great because he always came back.
As I mentioned earlier, next time: Spain recap and future plans (Africa, I hear you asking...) [tags]spain, vigo, sports, idiocy[/tags]