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Homecoming + Germany 2006
Hello to everybody,
I have recently joined this cool website,
and as a fellow traveler and writer, here's my latest entry wich was written shortly after leaving London where I lived for the past 7 months and traveling across Germany for 3 weeks before coming home to visit.
Hope you like it!
"Home, home again
I like to be here when I can
When I come home cold and tired
It's good to warm my bones beside the fire "
I forgot how hot the Israeli summer can get. It's only June here, (if its some other month somewhere else, I'd like to know) and I'm already soaked in sweat from walking 5 minutes. So yeah, hot, humid and sticky, and i fuckin love it!
You have to survive winter in Britain to fully appreciate good weather (and its not like I spent the past 8 months in a Siberian working camp or anything) so I'd like for all the Israelis around to stop bitching and go out and enjoy the heat. Okay.
(I'm pretty sure that 2 or 3 more days like this and I'll be longing for the gray rainy skies of the English landscape)
So, Hi, Hello everybody.
There's no place like home. I think over the past 8 months (If not the last 22 years) I've had the privilege to have a few(!) places to call home. More recently, the backpackers in Edinburgh (even if for a short time), and of course the now legendary Boyne Avenue 32 in London, which will probably will go down in history books (mine) as one of the best experiences in this lifetime.
But we don't talk about that now.
Now the dry facts: I arrived in Tel Aviv some days ago, to surprise my mom who apparently still believed my poorly told fake plans of staying in Germany at least until the end of the world cup. I have to say that she did seem surprised although there must be something true about the motherly sixth sense when it comes to her children's whereabouts, as in the second my dad called her to tell her to stay put because he's bringing her a present, the first think she asked was: Adam??! so there you go.
So I said hello to mother, went with father to pick up sister and went straight on to the main reason to come back in that specific date: Roger Waters and the Dark Side of the Moon (and a whole lot of other songs). And what an amazing show that was- Definetly at the top of the Best rock shows i have ever seen. 56,000 people gathered in Newe Shalom for the occasion, wich made the atmosphere around it amazing- though in the downside, the traffic jams were unbelieveable- but who cares really.
The way back home was ridicolous. Just comes to show what happens when a Banana Republic tries to pull off an event thats way way out of it's league. Not that I'm complaining, but the police are a bunch of idiots, the roads are inadecuate, other drivers are suicidal, and I'm loving every minute of it!
"We are the authors of ourselves, co-authoring a gigantic Dostoevsky novel, starring clowns"
It started the second i got home from the show. I called Ariel, asked whats up, and we went to the Foggy, our usual pub in town.This feeling has been with me ever since, almost a week now:
We wandered into a fucking time capsule!
It's almost as if time stood still in this remote part of the world. Such a weird feeling. Well, of course stuff has changed, the usual stuff, some new shops, a new intersection near the rail station.. but this is fucked up. I could almost pretend that I have been asleep for the past 8 months, and just got out of this time bubble.
Getting behind the wheel of the dearly missed mazda, staying up until morning only to watch the sunrise while cruising the Ayalon freeway, the Tel Aviv skyline beautiful as ever on the horizon (with some additions or is my memory playing tricks on me?) Oh yeah, the Tel Aviv skyline... Euphoria at 6:30 AM on a friday morning, I can't stop smiling. I'm home.
If you're smiling now too, then you probably know why we were driving in that direction so early (or late) in the day instead of crashing asleep for the next couple of days. For those of you that are not lucky enough to have experienced the best meal in the world, let me be a little more specific:
-ABU HASAN- The one and only hummus in yaffo (and israel) thats worth waiting through the night, even if you just got home that same day, havent slept for a month (literally) it makes absolutely no sense, your body doesnt understand why you're sitting in a dirty street instead of being fast asleep in your own bed at your own house.
Well, your stomach understands, and your tongue, and palate, and every single and minor component that contributes to your sense of taste. Moreover if its the first batch, so warm and fresh and unspoilt just waiting for the first lucky man to dip a pita.
I got carried away and now I'm fuckin hungry
Very very hungry.
3. Germany and Football
Almost 3 weeks in Germany, World Cup running strong, the rivers of beer flowing in the streets and the armies of goal-hungry colourful fans from all over the world conquering over and over the Altstadt (Old City) of every host city. The best description I could find in my mind (though very much lost for words) is that of a huge festival, where people forget for a while about everything else and just enjoy themselves and their surroundings and ofcourse watch football and get incredibly drunk. Over and over.
I started in Munich, 3 days before kick off so I had some time to roam the city before the madness started. Munich is awesome, beautiful. but I dont know if it's a good place to party and meet people otherwise (non- world cup time) specially after seeing other places such as Hamburg and Berlin.
The Fan-Fest of Munich was located in the Olympiazentrum, The Olympic complex and right next to Bayern Munchen's old home ground the Olympiastadion (They have now moved to the newly built World Cup Stadium in nearby Frottmaning). Anyway the Fan Fest of Munich (Thats the place where the HUGE screens and the food and super expensive beer stalls are) was by far the best one, with a lot of green areas so you could lie in the sun in between matches and spend your days barefoot.
From Munich, i traveled to Nuremberg for Mexico's first game, against Iran. Impossible to describe what was going on. Almost as if Mexico had conquered the city in some kind of blitzkrieg move and put a flag in every imaginable spot in town. Add to that lots of alcohol, a 3-1 win against the persians and a night out in town with a great girl singing drunken karaoke and we get one of the highlights of the trip.
Munchen, Nuremberg, so long Bavaria, next stop: Hamburg. Think Amsterdam, only with more canals and bridges, some more hookers and sex-shops (the red-light district is for men-only), 24 hour a day partying in the Reeperbahn and you get Europe's premier Sin City- depravity, drugs and tons of fun. Try at least St. Pauli and the surroundings, and you get a place to fall in love with, endless squats, pubs, clubs and the tombstone of the legendary Star Club where the young Beatles used to play before stardom. Junkie town.
"I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me."
---Hunter S. Thompson
But that´s not the reason why I´m here =). So on with the plan, I finally decide to leave Tobi, my German host, for a day trip to nearby Hannover, where Mexico will play Angola. This, my friends, would prove to be the best decision I made on this trip, and since i've gone on for way to long now, I will try to keep this short.
Hannover actually started in the Hamburg Hauptbanhoff (Main Train Station) where I met 3 cool-looking Mexicans who just arrived to Germany (you can easily tell because of the Duty-Free plastic bags filled with Bacardi). I brought 2 beers and a bag of peanuts (We're talking 9:00 AM here, yeah?) and... well what else you gonna do on a train to Hannover? Anyway, one and a half hours later and a lot of tapitas better of, we got to the city to the already familiar and expected sight: The sea of green and sombreros that flooded the city, Hannover was conquered by the Aztec empire for sure. Again, no way to describe it, just the thousands of Mexicans in town looting the supermarkets for more beer, and thousands of Germans out looking to show their support for the tricolor. Now listen to this: at some point of the day, one of the guys I was hanging out with got a phone call. I half-listened to the conversation, and then he said: That was Jared, he's at the Crown Plaza. Let's go say hi. Ok, what?? Jared? Jared Borgetti???
Oh, yeah, he said- We're from Torreon. We are friends from back home.. And before I realized what was going on, i found myself past the security guards shaking hands with Borgetti, drinking a beer (He was injured for that match..still don't tell LaVolpe) and asking him what does he think of Tal Ben Haim (They play together at Bolton). He said "Ben Haim, he's a weird guy" So i said "He's not weird, He's Israeli, you're not used to it".
*(Now for the ladies: Jared Borgetti is Mexico's top striker and superstar nowadays... Torreon is a city in northern Mexico where he used to play before moving to England, Tal Ben Haim is an Israeli defender playing in the same team and his sister stayed in our place in London a couple of times).
After meeting the rest of the Mexican team and getting my shirt autographed like an euphoric little child, we got back into town to drink some more and head to the Fan Fest wich was right next to the Stadium. (By the way tickets for the game were selling strong at 1200 Euro) so the next best thing was the huge screen there. Well, dissapponting game was it, 0-0. That did nothing to disrupt the party atmosphere and it looked like the mexicans would not give up the party mood even if we've lost 0-5. The only problem was, I had a return ticket for the same day. Not that it mattered, because when i finally realized that, it was way to late and the last train was long gone... and that made me happy because the only thing I wanted to do was to stay there!. So I ended staying there for 3 days.
What happened was that I had really 2 options: Keep dancing and drinking until I pass out in some park, freeze a little bit and then figure out what to do the next morning, or, find a nice, equally drunken german girl that would take me home and shelter me through the night. Not an easy task...
Well, a little bit of jumping around and a lot of smiling later, there she was, smiling back and beautifully drunk, my heaven sent german saviour. And thats the story of how I came for the day and ended up staying for 3, with a picnic in the forest and a college house party.
How I ended up back in Hamburg is another story, but i'll make it short: She dropped me in a rest area outside of town, on the road to Hamburg. I had a cardboard sign that read: yes, HAMBURG. So I stood by the road 20, 30 min, and then finally someone pulled over: Polizei.
I was very kindly asked not to hitchhike by the road, so i went inside the rest area (think something like a wild west ghost-city with an average of 2 cars a day). Anyway, I very kindly told them to fuck off and went back out as soon as they left. Ovbiously they were back in no time, and this time the police were not happy. Passport checks and a bit of german shouting later, they wanted to take me to the nearest train station so I could get a train. Very kind. Eventually I convinced them to leave me alone but I promissed not to hitchike by the road so I stayed in, and saw them come back again twice to see if I was on the road again. Fuckin pigs. They're the same everywhere.
So I sat in the rest area, for like 45 minutes and no lift, almost fell asleep there when a car pulled over and went something like this: I'm not going to Hamburg but 5 minutes from here theres a Gas station with a shopping mall so you'll get a lift easier.
And indeed it was easier. 5 minutes there and a Van pulled over, i think I already used Heaven Sent before but this was awesome: THE ULTIMATE RIDE. The kind of van that when you open the doors you get a wave of scents that make you smile. So I got in, two surfers/students from Hamburg, threw me a beer, this car was awesome, it had a stove (yes for cooking) drawers, bed, incredible. They had weed everywhere, (hey sorry for the mess.. are you kidding?! this is the best ride i ever got). They were really cool guys, left me in Hamburg feeling slightly better =) !
Anyway... after the hitchhiking experiences, i decided to cough up the 18 euro for the bus to Berlin. Oddly enough, I had been waiting for so long to explore this city, but i got there so exhausted that all I really wanted was to go home. 4 days in Berlin, mostly spent watching football and walking around the city in the mornings. The city is far from beautiful, with a lot of construction sites and a lot of reminders of its troubled history, but very lively and vey good vibes. So, this are my last days in germany for now, and the best experience of Berlin must be watching Germany thrash Ecuador by the Brandenburg Gate, with millions of Germans out on the street and feel the call of a new generation of young germans, warm, welcoming and friendly that bear no resemblance whatsoever to their bloody past.
So, world cup and a lot more, lots of fun, great people and stories to tell.
So long Germany, Schuss to all the awesome germans I met along the way, un abrazo a mis paisanos que sufrimos juntos los partidos de la seleccion, and to all the people with the football fever and the traveling bug:
Never stop believing!
"I can't think of anything to say except...
I think it's marvelous! HaHaHa!"
And I'll leave you to ponder some words of wisdom from Albert Hoffman, the Swiss chemist who discovered LSD:
"I share the belief of many of my contemporaries that the spiritual crisis pervading all spheres of Western industrial society can be remedied only by a change in our world view. We shall have to shift from the materialistic, dualistic belief that people and their environment are separate, toward a new consciousness of an all-encompassing reality, which embraces the experiencing ego, a reality in which people feel their oneness with animate nature and all of creation ."