Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Futbol de naranja

A few days ago we were in Belorado, a fairly large town compared to our recent stops, and were hanging around the Plaza during our daily playtime -- between lunch and dinner. After having cafe con leche and beer in a small bar and catching a bit of the Tour de France, we found ourselves in a small toy store. Admittedly, we overwhelmed the two-aisle place stocked with every kind of toy you could ever want, or not want, and let our loud English flow as we found all sorts of things we used to play with or were considering buying. Then we saw it: Our futbol de naranja. It was bright orange, thin rubber and cost only 1,85 Euro. He was the perfect buy. We threw together 50 cent, 20 cent, 2 cent coins and a peregrino from Ohio, who was also in the store, even offered to pitch in some money. We took our new futbol out into the Plaza and immediately began a small pickup game with a few other peregrinos. Later, a two-year-old Spanish girl named Victoria came over to our group as we sat in the Plaza and she and I had a fun, wordless (except for frequent shouts of ¨Yay!!¨) game of catch... rather, kick and I fetch. It was great. The next day, our futbol de naranja was nearly forgotten under a bunk bed but Ryan the Tried and True remembered him and managed to find room in his pack for the ball. That day we arrived in San Juan de Ortega, a tiny community with only the albergue, a church, a bar and a couple houses to speak of. The futbol came out right after our post-lunch nap and a large game of pickup was quickly underway. Aside from many from our group, other players were Peter and Markus from Denmark, Phil from Zimbabwe, David and Tomas perhaps from Spain? (someone correct me if I´m wrong), and Will who was probably our best player. A few othere peregrinos were transient players, as they walked by on their way to or from the bar. Both Spanish and English were used as we strugged to score on the other team. Water bottles formed the sides of our goals and we took breaks to drink from them as the sun beat down on us. We made a number of great friends that day, and I feel really fortunate that we had our futbol de naranja to get us yelling in Spanish, learning names, making mistakes together (I fell in the gravel and am generally a bad soccer player all around!), but also celebrating when we scored. Not knowing any Spanish, it is these kind of situations that make me feel really accepted when I can´t verbally make connections with people. All through a little futbol de naranja.


Blogger Kristy said...

It's nice to read your post and see that you are still "kicking" (sounds like your toy store purchase was a good one)! Does your hiking through the flat grain fields make you homesick for North Dakota?

Allie's mom

1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations Allie for realizing that soccer is the greatest game on earth. And for calling it football instead of soccer!

JCA and HU

2:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Allie, it's all the Lafrinere's from Raleigh, NC.....thinking of you..wishing you were here. The rest of us arrived today. It's good to see Taylor. Can't wait to hear of your experiences. See you in August. Love, Taylor's Mom

9:24 PM  
Anonymous clint said...

There are many ways to find magic on the camino, to find it with a futbol de naranja does not surprise. I expect you will think of Spain when you see a futbol for a long time. Not a bad gift to be given.

3:19 PM  
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