Sunday, July 09, 2006

Viva Italia!

Saludos desde Cartagena--Greetings from Cartagena! I just finished watching the World Cup final in a little bar not far from Plaza San Pedro Claver, where I was the only female in the joint. The two guys on either side of me were Italy fans--I was quietly rooting for France until some French guy slammed an Italian. (They were playing really dirty today, IMHO, so I changed allegiance pretty fast. But the hyperactive French coach in his fancy suit was cracking me up. The Italian coach seemed much more relaxed in both dress and manner.)

This bar was great--they had a nice big but not overwhelming TV, and they turned off the sound, so we just listened to salsa while they ran up and down the field. Everybody could argue and talk and cheer. I didnt understand everything and frankly it took most of the last period for me to figure out which was France and which was Italy, but by overtime I knew what was going on. As the overtime penalty shootout was coming to a close, three other women walked in to catch the last of the action. One lady Italy fan squeezed my hand on the way out. The lone French fan got a lot of ribbing.

I had been looking forward to going to Mass at the Jesuit church today, but it didnt quite live up to my expectations. I had been told by some locals to come check out the noon Mass, where they include Afro-Caribbean drumming. Yes, they had the drum, and they had a guitar and some singers, but it was a lot less intense than I expected. And it was a lot more tourists than parishioners, was my general sense. But Padre Pacho, whom I met earlier this week, was presiding, and he recognized me when I went up for Communion. The biggest pleasant surprise was that not everyone knelt during the Eucharistic prayer. I dont mind kneeling but I used to stand up all the time and I havent for years. And I certainly didnt expect to find anyone standing up in a Latin American church. That was the biggest indicator to me that these guys are pretty darn progressive. Anyway, I heard the drum, I stood up, and Padre Pacho remembered my name. So not too bad for a city Id never seen a week ago.

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