05 January 2011

the polo times

I've not been really looking forward to the performance
But there's my cue and there's a question on your face
Fortunately I have come across an answer
Which is go away
And do not leave a trace
-The White Stripes, 'There's No Home For You Here'

All right, Lizbians (that's right, I just coined a nickname for my readers, one which indicates that you are sexually attracted to traveling the world), it's time to hear about the polo. I say 'the polo' because, in my experience, foreigners generally like to put that definite article in front of their sports. I've even heard rugby referred to as 'the rugby.' By native English speakers. Why?!

Anyway, the women's match was to be held Monday. Because host mom would be too busy getting everything set up, I stayed in Jose Ignacio on the beach all day after waiting with the little man for his summer camp mini-bus.

I knew the havoc eight hours in the sun would wreak upon my pale, pale skin, so I slathered on a thick layer of SPF 45. So what if it was three months past its expiration date? I would only be in the direct sun for a few hours, and then I would wrap up in my towel and sit watching the water with my back to the sun.

This plan worked gloriously, except for a few things. Well, one thing, really. I got really, really burnt. And it was a sneaky burn, too--it didn't reach full strength until the next day. So I didn't look too
bad when I made my way to the spot where I was supposed to meet the little guy.

Long story short, they were late in dropping him off. He was supposed to arrive at six (when the match started), but didn't get in until 45 minutes later. It was during this time that I discovered that my phone did not have a signal.

We then proceeded to Medialunas Calentitas (the best croissant joint you will ever find), where we were supposed to rendezvous with his grandmother. She wasn't there, and we couldn't call her, due to lack of signal. What else was there to do but pull up a couple of chairs and enjoy half a dozen medialunas while we waited for an hour?

When the medialunas were gone, I decided we'd better find another phone to use, so we went into a real estate office, and I had the kid put on his saddest face to incite sympathy. It worked, and the ensuing phone call revealed that the grandmother was waiting for us in Punta, 45 minutes away by car. Fortunately, the mom sent a couple of her people over to pick us up, and we made it to the match just in time. . . to see trophies handed out.

The next day, we set up an elaborate plan, designed to guarantee attendance at the men's match. The grandmother would pick up the kid from summer camp a half hour before the match. That way he would be there in time to participate in all the pre-match festivities. I would be riding with some of the staff from the stables, leaving almost two hours early.

I spent the early afternoon obsessing over what to wear, changing my outfit three or four times. The dress I'd bought seemed too dressy, even when paired with a tank top underneath, sandals, and casual hair. I ended up changing into black leggings (closest thing I have to riding pants, which I knew a lot of the spectators would be wearing), my past-their-prime suede boots, and the only white v-neck I have left. I tried to tunic it up by belting it. When I got self-conscious about the fact that it had been part of a Fruit of the Loom six pack of men's tees, which had cost altogether around $3, I threw a scarf on over it. Hopefully no one at the match would be able to tell that my entire outfit, boots, belt, scarf and all, had been bought for about $30.

Well, we ended up leaving about ten minutes before the match started, and somehow the grandmother got confused and didn't arrive with the kid until around 6:45. But it was sort of okay. I spent the entire match following the kid around, trying to convince him to take a seat and actually watch some of it. Meanwhile, I was surrounded by beautiful people and was even confused for one of them a couple of times by over-eager photographers. "Can we get a photo?" they'd ask, and the girls from the stables and I would shrug and oblige, like it was no big deal, and then give our names when asked. That was pretty exciting. Except I think that if those pics do get used anywhere, they'll have my first name spelled as Alis or something.

I doubt you will be surprised to learn that I did not manage to catch the eye of any of the competitors, and I was not invited to the after party at the Setai Club. After the match, though, I did get to hit up Medialunas Calentitas with the kid and his grandmother, who was hella hungry. Then she drove us home and, adding insult to injury, started getting herself ready for the same after party I was so desperate to attend. The mom and her Hassellhoff-lookalike boyfriend came home and started getting ready as well. How did I spend the night, you ask? I sat up until four in the morning, making sure the cat didn't open the door into the house (a neat trick he's learned) and leave it open for all manner of deadly intruders.

This morning, I was on my way into the guest bathroom, located in the room where the grandmother spent the night. On her nightstand was a mojito which she had apparently been unable to part with, to the point that she not only managed to smuggle it out of the Setai Club, but also brought it home and cuddled up next to it in bed. She's got to be late 60s, easy. How is that lady managing to party harder than me?

1 comment:

Mark said...

just before reading this post i saw a british fb friend talking about "the cricket". it's always driven me crazy