The Checklist: Sporting Events
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Where: Buenos Aires
Play along: There is simply no better crash course to many cultures—those of Italy, Spain, and all of South America included—than attending a soccer game. You can't understand how deeply passionate the fans are until the manic energy is all around you. If you were to pick just one event, though (as we're doing), go to a Boca Juniors match in Buenos Aires. Trust us, you'll get a much truer sense of the native Porteños than you'd get at a tango show. Home games take place at the legendary La Bombonera stadium, which is named for (and looks like) a box of chocolates. Argentina's most beloved club has claimed 22 league championships and is named for La Boca, the ramshackle, bohemian neighborhood where the stadium is located. When the Juniors are in town, 63,000 fans cram the steep grandstands of La Bombonera, almost to a one wearing the team's blue-and-gold colors. You have never heard such a din in your life, with incessant chanting and songs (often with dirty lyrics aimed at the other team). Massive flags are unfurled, and the crowd bounces up and down so that the stadium literally rocks on its foundation: They call it the sound of Bombonera's beating heart.
How to score a ticket: While games are technically sold out, local ticket brokers can hook you up with good seats on game day, as can online brokers like Worldticketshop.com in advance.
When: The season runs from August through December.
For more information: 54-11-4309-4700; www.bocajuniors.com