One thing I have always wanted to do here in Peru, or any country I visit, is go to a professional soccer game. Of all the sports in the world, watching soccer is definitely one of my favorites. Seeing Real Madrid play one cold December night in Spain was just amazing, and after tonight, it will have some competition for my favorite game.
Yesterday when the team from Nebraska arrived, they mentioned that they wanted to do something special with the boys – take all 44 of them somewhere in Iquitos. We had been to the movies recently, out to dinner, and the weekly customary trip to Quistococha (the local zoo/lake in Iquitos), but they were looking for something different. It was sugessted that we all go to the Saturday night CNI (Iquitos) versus Ancash soccer game at the city stadium and they loved the idea.
Tickets were bought and at 5:30pm, we all boarded the boat in Puerto Alegria to come into Iquitos for the game, which started at 8pm. Our seats, which were S/. 20 (soles or about $7), were right in the first few rows of the stadium near center field. I sat with Oriel, the little boy pictured in the photo above, and was able to share his first ever soccer game with him. He was so excited to be there, at just 5 years old, that he kept pointing out everything new he saw. Every time the players swapped out during the game, every banner that was being waved, the trumpets that played every few minutes, and all the other people cheering and enjoying the night. To see him so happy, excited and interested in what was going on was definitely a joy for me (therefore puts this game in a tie for my favorite soccer games).
Since the game started at 8pm, we didn´t leave the staduim until at least 10:30 to return to the port, where we would find the boat to make the long trip back to Puerto Alegria. (Since it was so late, Oriel missed the last 10 minutes of the game because he had fallen asleep. I had to carry him in my arms out of the stadium and on to the bus.)
We didn´t make it back to Puerto Alegria until very late that night and it wasn´t until 1am before everybody was in bed and asleep. Despite it being a long day, it was a great experience – something I will have a hard time forgetting.
For those that are interested, CNI (the home team from Iquitos) won over Ancash (which the province where the Girasoles Kusi home is located), 2-0. It was a good game to watch.