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Sunday 20 Apr 2008
Pinar del Rio, Cuba


Got up really early to catch the bus to Pinar del Rio for the baseball game. On board were a few Estonians (v unusual to meet, but cool guys), a Canadian Red Socks fan and Selina who was coincidentally my buddy on the dive trip two days before! Cool!

PDR had lost the previous two games, and Santiago are generally regarded as the best team in the country (primarily because the teams are made up of only locals.. and Pinar has a population of 1 million, whereas Santiago has a population of about 8 million!).

20,000 cubans packed into the stadium, and the bongos/trumpets/horns/you-name-it played throughout the game! There were probably about 10 tourists at the whole game, so the photographs I took were of real Cubans expressing raw passion for the game (I think I spent 70% of my time looking at the crowd's reactions rather than the game itself).

No alcohol is allowed into the event (unlike US or Canadian baseball) yet that didn't stop some people in the crowd from hurling abuse (and water bottles) at the players when they didn't perform well (in fact many in the crowd would have been related to the players!).

Then in the 4th inning something magic happened... PDR and SDC tied 4 runs each! The PDR crowd were over the moon... then biting nails.. then over the moon!

The Pinar Del Rio crowd then broke out chanting "Olé olé olé", loud enough to put Irish football fans to shame!

This could have been PDR's chance to crawl back! It was looking really good! PDR were as much my team as their team!

Then the complete opposite happened in the 5th Frown
SDC somehow got 6 runs through and the score suddenly dropped to 4 - 10 ... no coming back now.

People even started leaving at that point ... then in true pathetic fallacy of King Lear dimensions it started to rain.. heavily.. tropical!

That's when the other fun began.. trying to escape the stadium without getting crushed by 20,000 other Cubans doing the same thing!! I was mostly worried about my camera in fact, but eventually after 20 minutes we managed to get out.

The game was over since rain stopped play, but in reality there was no way PDR were going to recover anyway. It was sad.. but still very enjoyable.

I wasn't able to purchase a t-shirt there either which was annoying since I really wanted one. Apparently tourists are generally not allowed to buy the baseball t-shirts for some reason... maybe I'll get lucky on the internet when I get home.

I was pretty tired after that, but managed to meet up with Ines for one last dance that night. We promised to keep in touch by letter too.

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Perdido en Cuba de Fidel

Travel blog by peterforan

Swish antique

Swish antique

2 weeks in which I crap-dance salsa-stylee in my own inimitable way; terrorise the Cuban people after one-too-many mojitos and visit bars where they actually ENCOURAGE people to smoke cigars as big as your leg. If I get time I'll take in some culture..

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Photo Album

  • Baseball...

    Pinar del Rio


    Baseball crowd 5
  • Baseball...

    Pinar del Rio


    Baseball crowd 4
  • Baseball...

    Pinar del Rio


    Baseball crowd 3
  • Baseball...

    Pinar del Rio


    Baseball crowd 2