10 June 2006
I´ve arrived. And things are looking good. Mostly looking good as I´ve been cruising the city looking for an internet point so I can juggle my Fantasy squad line-up and post my World Cup blog.
Germany is ready. Seriously you guys, eat shit. These people are ready. I had volunteers helping direct me to Berlin right out of the airport doors. One man clad in the Adidas red volunteer uniform even came to make sure I got my ticket and got on the right train. We won´t keep in touch but he certainly word the "A Time to Make Friends" slogan on his sleeve.
Infact, everyone here I talked to are busy soaking up the vibe. I walked by the Brandenburg Gate to get to this EasyInternet Cafe. Right in front of the gate is the big screen where I will go check the England Paraguay game. The streets in front a pedestrian promenade with concessions and souvenirs.
All over the city (the 2 square kilometres I´ve seen) there is evidence of football fever. Aggressively friendly volunteers ready to direct people to the happy events.
It´s not a "don´t mention the war" scenario. It´s more Germany going about the ultimate in rebranding; they´re not seeking to increase tourism so much as effect a global paradigm shift in ideas of Germanism. As well as celebrating football and "making friends" World Cup 2006 is about creativity and innovation. And fun. According to the mandate of the organizers.
So the city, already well organized and full of disciplined buttoned up people, has unbuttoned their shirts, filled the squares with safe, friendly football mad faces and set the stage to if not win the Jules Rimet trophy, at least win the hearts of the visitors. They may yet get mine.
I also got a yellow card as part of a store promotion, took pictures of giant football cleats, ate a brie, tomato, and cucumber baguette, and