Saturday, July 01, 2006

Dispatch from China: A Day of Rest

Another day, another computer screen. In between, there is rest, a shower, some journaling, a few meals, and some relaxation before the World Cup matches this evening. I had a chance to witness the first half of the Argentina:Germany match last night before my stamina gave in to dreary eyes and the wicker mattress. After an emotional burst of activity to start the match, it settled into an Argentine dribbling affront to the German's preferred attacking style. I figured what would result from the first half, the stuff that played out while I was dreaming. Although I cannot understand Chinese, I can understand visual highlights on the television and had a chance to witness the final outcome with an Asian flavor. It turned out to be an instant classic, some great chances on goal, both sides breaking through, then a tie to carry over into penalty kicks that fell into high drama. The end result: a German victory that surely led to some great fun across Germany last night.

In curious form, the Chinese get all of this madness and take it to a new level. World Cup fever is everywhere, even though China factored no chance of even qualifying for the final tournament. In fact, I am resting partly as a result of the concern by Wendy's family that the cab drivers - all huge World Cup fanatics - would be in poor form from very late nights watching World Cup matches to take us out to the Three Rivers Gorge to check out the largest dam in the world. I have seen World Cup banners, insignias, advertisements, and paraphenalia across my journeys thus far, punctuating the fact that China includes itself with the outside world as much as the outside world looks on curiously at China.

I should not be surprised- there is nothing that I have experienced thus far that would suggest otherwise. As for the rest of the World Cup, it appears to be shaping up to be a bout of traditional powers (Germany & Italy through to the semifinals, Brazil, England, France, and Portugal remaining) that will be well worth watching. I guess it is a good thing that I am resting this afternoon - more potential that I will be able to last into the second half of the first match tonight between England and Portugal!
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