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Watching the Super Bowl in Mexico City

Even though my NFL team has been out of the playoffs since the wild card round, it seemed like a given that I’d end up watching the Super Bowl while I was in Mexico City. Although soccer certainly gets more attention, American football is in fact quite popular in Mexico. And sure enough, on the first day of class, one of my classmates, born and raised in San Francisco, asked about my Super Bowl plans. Both of us planned to watch the game, but neither of us knew where. So as the week went on, we bounced ideas off each other. In the meantime, I invited one of my American housemates to join us.

(We also invited our Chinese housemate to join us, in order to experience this uniquely American cultural event with us. She accepted, and we now know why she never showed up.)

We had narrowed down the venue to two places, both near the school. Both places are popular hangouts for expats, which meant they’d be even more crowded than usual during the Super Bowl. I did some reconnaissance work shortly before the game started, and both places were packed before either of my schoolmates arrived. So when the San Francisco fan showed up, he already knew what we were up against. However, while walking to meet me, he’d noticed a little taco shop that wasn’t crowded, was quiet enough that we could all talk, had only locals in it, and had the game on. A quick text to the other parties, and we had a new venue.

Watching the big game from a small taco shop.

Watching the big game from a small taco shop.

The menu had more than just tacos, and since it was Super Bowl Sunday, they offered wings as a special. So when the third member of the group showed up, we ordered some beers and some wings and settled in. After a couple more rounds of beers, we ordered some more wings. It turned out, though, that this mom-and-pop taco shop wasn’t expecting three gringos to show up and clean them out of wings with fourteen-and-a-half minutes still remaining in the first quarter. So we settled our bill, finished out the half, and decided to go somewhere else for more wings.

Like the self-respecting Americans we are.

Well, the guy who’d found the taco shop remembered also noticing a wing shop in the food court of a nearby shopping mall. It’s not the first place you’d think of watching the Super Bowl, but we all decided to give it a try. It was only a couple minutes away on foot, and we had ourselves a table before Shakira started shaking her body.

Watching the halftime show from a food court.

Watching the halftime show from a food court.

As you might expect, the wing shop had plenty of wings. In fact, they were offering a special of twenty wings and six beers. So we got started with that, although we did end up needing more wings and more beer than that.

Since two of the three of us had no dog in the hunt, we decided to support the native San Franciscan and root for the 49ers. As a result, it’s tough to say we enjoyed the outcome of the game, especially the fourth quarter.

However, we were the only Americans in both of the venues where we watched, so instead of seeing a feed from a U.S. network, we saw a Mexican feed in Spanish. That in itself was something of a unique experience for the three of us. It means we didn’t see any of the ads seen in the U.S., which are usually as much a part of the Super Bowl as the game itself. And it means I had no idea what my wife was talking about when she suddenly texted, “April 10!”

(Apparently it’s the release date of the next James Bond film.)

Bonus fun fact: The Spanish word for wings, as a menu item, is alitas. It’s a word none of us knew before we sat down in the taco shop.