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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Valencia CF vs FC Internazionale Milano

The European Champion’s League soccer season is heating up, Last night Real Madrid defeated Bayern Munich 3-2 in Madrid. Tonight Valencia travels to Milan to plan Inter. I haven’t made too much of an effort to fully understand the intricacies of the different leagues and how points are awarded, but I have watched a lot of the crucial matches. I will definitely be parked in front of a television this evening for the Valencia game.

Soccer provides me with a nice bit of cultural literacy that I can share, not only with Spaniards, but with fans from all over. After Sunday’s game against Barcelona I struck up a conversation with a group of Japanese soccer fans at a bar by my house. Two of them spoke pretty good Spanish after having lived in Valencia for a couple of years. I can’t imagine how difficult Spanish must be for a Japanese student. It is hard enough for me and English shares thousands of words with Spanish.

I found it a little odd that none of the Japanese fans spoke any English at all. What they all did speak, including the two women I their group, was baseball. As soon as they found out I was from Seattle the first question that pops up is, “What do you think about Ichiro?” It was great to talk about baseball although I had to help them along with a lot of the Spanish terms.

After baseball we talked about how Spanish people are total sissies when it comes to eating hot food. We all agreed that the food here is excellent but sometimes you just need to scorch the inside of your mouth with something spicy. What I wouldn’t give for a tearfully hot bowl of pho but there are no Vietnamese restaurants in Valencia. I already asked around.

It is really a kick to be able to watch all of these great games live. I believe that tonight’s match begins at 19:45 local time here in Valencia which means you can see it on the East Coast at 13:45—a good way to spend your lunch break…and then some. Although the game is in Milan I will still go over to my sports bar on the other side of the stadium from where I live as there is more of an party atmosphere in this square. I watched the second half of the Real Madrid game over there last night and there were quite a few people in attendance. I will try to remember to bring my camera this time. I could curse myself for not bringing it to Sunday’s game because the square was a complete madhouse before that home game. I only live two blocks away and I was going to go get my camera between halves but it was raining pretty hard so I did the smart thing and continued drinking under the patio canopy.

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