Saturday, June 21

Post Game Blues

The blue of Argentina is everywhere. Including a few 'Hand of God' tops reminding me of 1986 and the cheating little cocaine addict who knocked England out of the tournament with his hand. Not bitter.

Back at the parking lot, and a scene is brewing. A bunch of people are blocked in. Drunk and shirtless Argentinian fans are flirting with the parking lady, A Brazilian guy is arguing with who I think is the farther of the parking lady. A family uncomfortably looks around as a guy takes a pee in the corner of the lot.

I try to stay out of it, although I do check my language app to see if they have a suitable phrase for my situation.

I'm finally able to squeeze out and I begin a 2 hour search for a gas station, before undergoing the most rigorous search of a rental car return I have ever witnessed. As this is going on 2 middle aged ladies in the rental shack knit and watch Germany v Ghana. Goooaaaallll and yet not a dropped stitch between them.

The airport has a massive TV with a rug and sofas, so 100s of us watch the game as we wait for our flights home.

Belo Horizonte is a big enough city to have a direct flight to Miami, but small enough to be mostly a domestic airport. The international gate is reached through an office door and a single x-ray machine.

But because Argentina have just played there are 10 extra charter flights to Buenos Aires. As I stand in line for the x-ray machine with 600 Argentinian blokes I realize why it was a bad idea to travel on my UK passport.

Next to me is a guy wearing a t-shirt with a map of the Falkland Islands. The 2 islands each contain a Union Jack flag, but between them is a middle finger wrapped in the Argentinian flag. Beneath? A simple phrase - Fuck You.

I smile nervously, raise a thumb, and say Malvinas.

It's fair to say if he had punched me I would have gone down quicker than the General Belgrano.

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