Thursday, January 28, 2010
Angola: Day 8
So little I can write about today.
Ricardo picked me up at 1 o'clock to take me to the stadium for a 5 o'clock game. Traffic in town was bad as usual, but traffic out of town was nothing like it was the day Angola played Ghana, so I arrived at the stadium very early. For my non-soccer-writing brethren, there is no pre-game clubhouse access in soccer. You get to the park early, basically, you hang out 'til game time. So I hung out, ate a "Fahita" (very chewy) for 600 kwanzas, nearly fell asleep, and chatted with my Ghanaian friends.
Ghana beat Nigeria 1-0 to advance to the final. The non-biased Ghanaian press corps, dressed in team colors, waving flags and screaming at the top of their lungs, were pretty happy. I posed for a bunch of pictures with them. I'm big in Ghana.
Always good for a sports scribe covering a soccer game when the guy who scores the only goal in a 1-0 game (Asamoah Gyan) decides he doesn't want to talk to the press. Maybe the fact that half the press corps was hugging him left him speechless, I dunno.
Ricardo, as always, was there to pick me up after the match. Only he had a "very good friend," who was standing in the back of the pickup.
"What's his name?" I asked Ricardo.
"I'm not sure, I just call him Boy," Ricardo said.
"I thought he was a very good friend," I said.
"Well, he's done a lot for me today. He keeps the truck clean. He helps me," Ricardo said. Well, that was good enough for me. So I opened the window and asked Boy in Spanish what his name was. "Payzin," he said with a smile.
"His name is Payzin," I told Ricardo, who was now in stitches.
When we hit traffic, Ricardo shouted something to Payzin, and wouldn't you know it, Payzin jumped out of the truck, ran into a gas station and emerged with some cold Cucas for Mr. Jeff. We began the long trek home, through Luanda's dusty roads, always filled with people, always filled with life.
Ricardo blasted 50 Cent, which was cool, because I got to explain to him what an "Oompah Loompah" is what a "P-I-M-P" is...see, me and Ricardo help each other out.
Three days to go. Ghana and Egypt in the final Sunday.