Today was the day of the big soccer matchup between Ecuador and Peru, to determine in part who was going to go to Brazil in 2014 for the World Cup. We all decided to go get the yellow jerseys that the Ecuadorian team wears to show our support during the game. We went to one of our favorite spots that had plenty of televisions to watch it. The game started at 9 so we just hung out after class ended at 6:30. We had a good time but unfortunately Ecuador lost to Peru 4-0, which no one expected. They played in Lima and from what I could gather Ecuador had never lost in a World Cup qualifying match in Lima, so understandably the country was very upset at the outcome.
Soccer matches in South America can become very contentious, so police in both Quito and Ecuador ramped up their presence in the days before the game so that they could prevent violence from breaking out. I asked my host dad if people fought after the games and he told me that they got into things all of the time, which I didn't find too surprising. Luckily, I didn't hear about any incidents of fighting breaking out after tonight's game, but that's not to say it didn't happen.
My roommate from Rhodes College leaves tomorrow at one o'clock. I wish I had gotten to know her better but our schedules prevented us from spending a lot of time together. She was very helpful when I was interacting with my host family. I wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors.
On the issue of jerseys, I managed to find one in a flea market for only $6. I'm pretty sure it was a counterfeit but for that cheap it was worth it. Other people in the group spend $30 or $40 on really nice ones but I didn't want to do that. We all looked kind of funny walking around Cuenca all wearing jerseys! We did get a few "Viva Ecuador" here and there from the locals, though. If only our spirit could have rallied the Ecuadorian team to prevail against the Peruvians. Ecuador has a match against Argentina next week. Argentina just played Colombia but it was a 0 to 0 match.
Time in Ecuador is going by very quickly and I find myself enjoying the country and the city of Cuenca more and more. The group has been frequently several local restaurants and hang out spots and we've gotten to know the owners. They really like Americans and we really like their hospitality. Cuenca has about 500,000 people in it but it truly feels like a small town. Walking everywhere is not a problem and it seems like you can get anywhere on foot fairly quickly. If you don't want to walk, a taxi is only $2. Viva Ecuador!