Tag Archives: Uruguay

Red Hot Americas

I hope to goodness that you’re watching the World Cup this year because it’s mighty exciting. Especially for us folks in the Americas. With only two days left in the opening round of the tournament, teams from the American hemisphere collectively have 12 wins, 5 draws, and only 3 losses (2 of which came from the highly disappointing Honduran National Team—I expected so much more from los Catrachos!). Uruguay, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, and the United States have already advanced to the next round. Paraguay and Chile should join them on Thursday and Friday. Only Honduras is likely to be left out of the Round of 16 party. Wait…you say you didn’t know the US had qualified for the next round of the tournament? Really? Watch this…

While I hope the Yanks go far, I’m not naive enough to think they’ll win the whole thing (actually, maybe I am at the moment, but I’ll come back to Earth in a few days after the euphoria of that Donovan goal wears off). Brazil is always the favorite at these things, but I think folks should keep a close eye on Argentina. They’ve been clicking as a team already, and they’ve got one of the most exciting playmakers in the world on their team…Lionel Messi. And if it’s not the US, we want a Spanish-speaking country to win, ¿no?

Personally, I’ve been watching soccer ever since I took my first trip to Europe fifteen years ago. But if the sport doesn’t float your boat normally, I would still suggest checking out a few games or keeping on top of the latest action in the World Cup. Talking fútbol with folks is almost always a great way to break the ice with locals when you’re traveling anywhere outside of the US or Canada. Unless you support the wrong club team…then it might actually get your legs broken.

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Gigante : a film by Adrián Biniez

Gigante is a quaint Uruguayan film about a shy supermarket security guard in Montevideo. The guard, Jara, is kind of a gentle giant. He loves heavy metal music and playing video games with his nephew. He also gets insanely bored working the night shift at the supermarket. Quickly he becomes enamored with, as well as very protective of, a new overnight cleaner named Julia. From afar, he watches her and does things for her. When a supervisor admonishes Julia too forcefully, Jara—who’s watching the scene over the security cameras—urgently pages the supervisor to an empty dock in order to end the confrontation. Too shy to speak with Julia directly, Jara also begins to leave little presents for her and begins to follow her around outside of work: to the internet cafe, to the movies, even to her house.

I was a little worried when I first saw the trailer that the film was going to be overly disturbing—a voyeuristic security guard stalking a low-level cleaner. There is some element of that in the film; Jara oversteps the bounds of personal space and privacy at times. But it is really hard not to root for the guy. His heart is in the right place, and we get the sense that Julia just might be the right gal for him. Besides…we’ve all been too shy at some point in life to approach someone we really want to talk to, no?

El fútbol y más vocabulario

On an exciting day of final qualifications for la Copa Mundial 2010, Uruguay, winners of the first World Cup in 1930, triumphed over Costa Rica to become the last country to book a place in next summer’s tournament. But perhaps more exciting was France’s win over Ireland, which came literally at the hand of French striker Thierry Henry, who also plays club ball for Barcelona in Spain’s La Liga. It was a game I was lucky enough to watch…illegally over the internet while pretending to do my Spanish homework. Double oops! While Henry’s play has drawn some comparisons to Argentinian Diego Maradona‘s infamous “Hand of God” goal against England in the quarterfinals of the 1986 World Cup, the French striker is actually fessing up to the role his hand played in France’s victory. And Henry has always struck me as a stand-up guy. Maradona? Judge for yourself.

el portero/el guardameta : goalkeeper :: el gol : goal

meter/anotar el gol : to score :: ganar : to win

vencer/derrotar : to beat :: perder (ie verb) : to lose

el partido : match :: jugar contra : to play against :: el equipo : team