I nearly forgot to tell you about the
soccer football match! The night David arrived, we went to the National Stadium to see a World Cup qualifying match between Jamaica and Costa Rica. The evening was warm (as they all are) and the air smelled of jerk spice and smoke from the barbecues. The crowd at the stadium was loud and happy and the sound of vuvuzelas was deafening.
A big-scale sport match is always a good time, and seeing one in another country gives you all sorts of insights into its culture. Here are a few things that were different than a game in Canada:
- There was way more Costa Rican fans in attendance than I had expected. In fact, when I went to the airport that afternoon to greet David, they were pouring out of the arrival gate and into tour buses. I did not know people took airplanes to see friendly matches like this. Football/Soccer has the most committed fans…
- Meanwhile, in Jamaica, the Reggae Boyz (the name of the National team) were basically begging people to come to the match as it was held on Good Friday, which is an important religious holiday here.
- It took me 3 attempts to buy our tickets: first time = not open yet, second time = cash only, third time = seats that are SURROUNDED by Costa Ricans. Coincidence or racial bias???
- The new Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, opened the game. I felt pretty excited to recognize him even before he had been introduced over the PA – I’ve assimilated enough to be able to pick the PM out in a crowd!
- There is no time clock in the stadium. We asked some Jamaicans why not and they shrugged and said, “Because this is Jamaica?” Please keep in mind this stadium was built in 1962, so there has been no way for the audience to know the game time for 54 YEARS.
- National darling Nesbeth performed “My Dream” at the half time with a local high school band and cheerleading squad!
The match finished in a 1-1 tie, with the usual drama and fanfare that goes along with games at this level. We had a great time and I will happily go again, but I am not sure I would fly 4.5 hours to do so!