domingo, 1 de julio de 2012

Soccer in Lebanon

It is the final. Tonight. Italy vs. Spain. And I am not watching it (please don't hate me).

The past couple of weeks have been a little disorienting. I have really felt like I was in Mexico. Except I am in Beirut. And people here seem as obessesed with the Euro 2012 Soccer Cup as they are back home. Mind you, neither countries are in Europe. But I guess that is just a minor detail.

When there is any sort of soccer related event, Mexicans go crazy. I mean, life literally stops. I used to date this guy who would tell me never to call on Sunday afternoon, because that's when soccer was on (that relationship didn't last much). Also, I remember this place where I used to work in Mexico during the 2002 world cup. The director decided to buy a TV and put it in the office, since no one was showing up to work. It was a smart move...

The last few weeks my Facebook page has been occupied by 50% people cursing because of the presidential elections in Mexico, and 50% cursing because this and that team lost/wan.

In Lebanon it is the same. But what I like about the Lebanese is that they really went full out with the Euro 2012. The square near my house is virtually covered with European flags. I actually didn't need to watch the games, as every time a team lost, the flags from that country would be taken down (who would want to buy flags of a losing team, anyway).

Tonight, the square is covered in red and yellow. Some little flags of the non-Spanish team are flown here and there. But I am clear the Lebanese are going for Spain (don't ask me why, I don't know either). I was just at the mall and I couldn't even hear myself speak, people were yelling so loud. Giant screens were on in every restaurant, in every floor on the building. People have those noise makers that you would actually bring to a 100,000 people stadium (and that I am sure can make you deaf if you stand next to them in a confined space). Teenagers have flags as capes and their faces painted. Young girls shriek everytime, what's his name- Shakira's boyfriend, enters the screen. I decided to escape. And spend some alone, quiet, soccer-free time in my house.

I guess I just didn't know the Lebanese were that much into soccer. Which brings me back to my point. The past couple of weeks have been a little disorienting. Because the more I spend time in Lebanon, the more I feel like I am in Mexico. The more I feel like home.

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