Sunday, July 16, 2006

World Cup Fever: The Final Chapter

As you know, Italy won the World Cup last week!! My neighborhood went absolutely nuts. For this post, I will try to relay the interesting events from beginning to end:

The game was to begin at 2pm, but the prep had begun in the morning. I went out to go to the store around noon and there's not much going was very weird. There's 2 ice-cream trucks parked on either side of the street. There are no cars driving around because the road has already been closed down. There are cops walking around, but other than that, very eerily quiet. Like the calm before the storm. I walk to the store, get my milk, and go home to watch the game. But not without stopping to get my Italy "World Cup Champs" T-Shirt, of course, because I already have a funny feeling they are going to win.

At the game start, I can hear the fans watching outside from my balcony. I notice there is an announcer added to the square where the game plays this time. Nothing to report except that the crowds roar and people at home come out on their balconies screaming and waving flags when Italy scores. ..twice (but only one counted)

But here's where it gets interesting. The game is over and Italy wins in penalty kicks. The street erupts! I go outside, look up the street and there is a continuous SEA of people making their way to the square. (The picture to the left is from about 8:30-9pm...hours after the game ended and people are STILL streaming down the street. You can see this very clearly because it's a downhill walk to the square - wonder if that's a sign? - if you look to the bottom of the trees way at the back...that's all people walking down!!!)

The usual stuff is there, including crazy fans with flags everywhere, people screaming. But here's some new stuff:

Today there is a DJ and a stage built on the square, so there is extra noise with the announcements and music blaring.

There are the 2 ice-cream trucks as previously mentioned and a catering truck.

There are extra cops everywhere, but they seem to have nothing to do so they stand to the side and just watch people.

I met some people and we stopped at one of the restaurants in the square to have a drink. The restaurants are out of beer. Why were they not more prepared??? Oh, but not to worry, because there are two, count 'em, TWO ice-cream trucks parked out front at the ready. Yeah, because that's what crazed soccer fans want after a World Cup win...Ice-Cream.

The crowds are out way into the night. I hear it went until about 3am. The people that I'm with leave around 10:30. I take this time to walk home and download my pictures so I could go out again for a while.

There has been a Cement truck with the whole mixer painted with the Italy flag stripes parked outside the fruit store since the morning. This guy's got a monopoly on the horn-honking business since the road is closed and he was smart enough to smuggle his loud, obnoxious truck into the street earlier. He has taken full advantage of this, including scaring the bejeesus out of me when I was walking back from the store earlier.

A group of men walk through the square carrying a coffin pasted with France flags and some sort of condolence written in Italian.

News reporters are here.

Helicopters overhead at night. One with the big spotlight - you know like the ones you see in L.A. that search for criminals running from the law; and another plain one circling above my neighborhood.

Of course, eventually they open the road up (I can hear it from my balcony after I get home so they must have opened after midnight). Let the horn honking and people screaming on flat-bed trucks waving flags mayhem begin!!

And last, but certainly not least...

Guy out taking a leisurely stroll...walking his pet Sheep...on a leash...dyed the Italy flag colors. Red, white and green. I don't even know where to begin describing what was wrong with this scenario.

Viva Italia.


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