Being on the same continent and time zone as the World Cup was a bit of a novelty. It was great being able to go out for lunch anywhere and watch a game on TV, or stroll down to a bar in the afternoon instead of waking up at 2 a.m. like the folks back home.
A part of me expected fever pitch excitement and crazy parties here as the tournament progressed. This was probably the case in most of South America, but not so much in Bolivia. The football-challenged country hasn’t qualified since 1994 and while the people here like the sport, Bolivian supporters are relatively timid. Nobody here tends to go bat-shit crazy for football like their Brazilian or Argentine neighbors.
We saw the final at an open-air theater here in La Paz. Despite being such an important event, most people turned up late so it didn’t really fill out until 30 minutes into the match. Some kids were playing football on the pitch next door instead of watching the most important game of the last four years, which seemed odd.
To my surprise, most Bolivians were supporting Germany rather than Argentina. One of the nearby supporters explained it’s because Argentinians are arrogant, a statement that reinforces my belief that Bolivians don’t seem to be particularly fond of their neighbors.