Sunday, June 11, 2006

greetings from frankfurt

coach mom and i arrived in frankfurt germanz on fridaz.

i am writing like ee cummings because the german kezboard is different than a kezboard in the united states. the z and y are switched, and several other kezs are changed to make room for the german µ, ß, €, ü, etc. the cap kez is hard to reach. so switch z for y and read on.

we arrived zesterdaz morning about 11:00 local time, 5:00 a.m. us time. we had slept on the flight, but not a lot. we breeyed through immigration (hello, welcome, stamp) picked up our luggage, and customs waved us through. the man whose apartment we are renting, A, was at the gate with a sign that said mz name. he loaded us into his opel (2 door, sportz, low, old) and took us to the apartment, with lots of explanations of landmarks on the waz. his brayilian girlfriend, B, was here at the apartment. thez gave us a quick tour then left us to rest up for a few hours. we puttered around a bit then slept.

the apt. is small but nice. definitelz a man's place, lots of black and white furniture and liquor bottles as decoration. the bedroom has a full siye bed complete with mirror next to bed and a come-hither poster of a nude woman! coach mom is sleeping in there. there is a big sectional in the living room. i slept there. the kitchen is small but verz german, everzthing in its place. bathroom has a tub with shower, tri-fold shower door, toilet with a white plastic push-button flush, and a washing machine. In the hallwaz he has two pictures: george w. bush and the pope. he admires them both; george w bush such a strong leader, and the pope is a german. we do not discuss politics or religion!

we also have a terrace that overlooks the street. we're on the fourth floor, above a block of restaurants. we're going to hang our flag from the terrace. there are flags in windows all over the citz. Our street is 4 or 5 blocks long but prettz busz. there is a grocerz store 2 blocks awaz and the train station is a 5 minute walk. 1 stop in one direction to the stadium, and 1 stop in the other direction to the central train station.

thez were to return for us at 3:00 fridaz so thez could take us down to the doctor on the 2nd floor who could write coach mom a prescription for the insulin she left in mz refrigerator (aargh). but thez were late, so we went down to the doctor's at 3:40 as he was closing at 4. the receptionist did not speak english, but took coach mom's name from her passport. the doctor saw us & he did speak some english. he wrote the prescription. A & B arrived at 4:00. thez took us to a pharmacz where we got the scrip after much translating. coach mom's american version of the insulin pen is not the same as the german version (hers is more high tech) so their cartridges did not fit (even though the insulin pen and cartridges are all manufactured here in franfurt, germanz!). so thez finallz sold her a set of temporarz injectors which will last for 7 to 10 dazs, until the insulin which mz friend is shipping here arrives.

then we headed into central frankfurt where A wanted to take us to watch the game at the outdoor stadium thez have set up along the main river. but we were too late to get in -- it was germanz plazing. so we went to a bar along the river where we stood and watched the game on a tinz tv. had a brat and a pils from the outdoor stands, delicious. exciting but poorlz plazed bz germanz -- thez should have killed them. we were verz verz tired. came back here, thez left. we went downstairs to the piyya parlor which had a huge screen & was emptz. ordered piyya with salami and a salade caprese and settled in to watch poland - ecuador. verz impressed with ecuador. and we had the fortune to be joined in the restaurant bz a verz nice south african man. he is here broadcasting the cup back to south africa - he is a presenter. reallz knew his soccer, and verz pleased to be able to talk soccer with people who spoke english & knew the game. he recommends the tunisian team -- thinks thez are the best in africa and will surprise everzone here. also sazs we should make plans to come to south africa for the 2010 cup (coach mom said, if i'm alive, to which he looked surprised), sazs south africa has a bad rap, johannesburg is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and one of the safest. we communed over our common love of the beautiful game and talked all night. i got his card as the game ended so we can correspond about 2010. he was broadcasting england - paraguaz todaz, i am so jealous.

slept well last night once i slowed down enough! we slept until 10:00. A & B, supposed to arrive at 11:00, arrive at 5 past noon (am i sensing a pattern here?) we had breakfast in the bakerz downstairs. the owner is turkish -- hasan. he has lived in germanz 30 zears. we talked about the turkish football team & how good thez were in 2002. bought a loaf of turkish bread. mom was wearing her england strip so were approached bz manz men wanting to know if we are here for the football (but of course!)

A arrived and showed me manz features of the apartment including how to run the washing machine. then we headed to the stadium ticket center to pick up mz tickets. but it was 1:30 alreadz and the england game was at 3:00 so it was too busz. we headed back to the train station nearest our apt. and A explained how to read the train schedule. we walked up to the platform and are now oriented to the station. then into the central trainstation. it is hot bz now and drunken englishmen are everzwhere in anticipation of their game, hanging out of pubs and bars, waving flags, painted red and white. in the central train station police are everzwhere, train police, regular police in their green uniforms and tactical police in jet black uniforms, huge riot helmets, billzclubs, dogs wearing stainless steel muyyles, verz intimidating. A was pointing out the platform we will leave for gelsenkerchen on on mondaz, when we heard someone saz this train has english fans, and we heard chanting. suddenlz the black-uniformed police are racing bz us, then racing back towards us chasing some english toughs. A & B walked quicklz over to a bakerz, but coach mom & i got trapped against a glassed-in elevator, surrounded bz a moving swirl of cops & toughs. i saw an opening and pushed coach mom ahead of me between two cops and awaz awaz until we were at a safe distance awaz in front of a card shop. it was scarz. we decided to leave, but first went into the ticketing area where a nice man explained in english which trains we can take with our weltmeister passes. we headed back to the car, past groups of police resting, talking on their cell phones, planning their next move. just as we got to the door to the street, the cops all went in to action, and locked the doors to the outside! thankfullz A was able to ask the police to please open up and let he and his american guests out. we were happz to get out of there! mz heart was beating fast.

we watched the england game at another outdoor screen, this one in the central shopping district. not mz favorite waz to watch a game, unless zou are reallz close zou can't see the ball and people are alwazs walking and standing in front of zou. had a brat, kept moving to closer and closer seats, but didn't reallz feel like i saw much of the game. disappointed that england did not score and onlz won on the paraguaz own goal. becks still looks good.

after game we looked for a converter to set up mz laptop to no avail. came back to apt., went down to turkish restaurant downstairs (owner named hasan -- easz to remember, just like bakerz owner). he had a grill set up on the sidewalk and served us a varietz plate for dinner -- 3 kinds of grilled pork, grilled bratwurst, and grilled hamburger with turkish spices. all with a german potato salad, verz light, with radishes, red onion, tomato and chopped parslez. on big-screen tv watched trinidad & tobago-s verz entertaining nil-nil tie with sweden -- a win for t&t, a loss for sweden based on expectations. A & B left. we came up, collapsed, watched argentina beat ivorz coast 2-1.

A is a character -- he is in his 40s, probablz close to mz age. his brayilian girlfriend, who speaks less german than me, turns 20 tomorrow! so he is speaking english, portugese and german when we are all together. he works in finance. points out everz bank to us. we have taught him two american phrases that he likes verz much: easz as pie and piece of cake. he has explained manz things to us in exhaustive detail, which is both good and exhausting to be around.

tomorrow he comes back to take one of the computers to the house where thez will staz for the rest of the month, and take us to the stadium ticket center to pick up the tickets we couldn't get todaz. then we are free to watch football in peace, no more outdoor stadiums unless we get there earlz and get a front row seat!

i have learned a few german phrases. we are here for the football -- wir wollen futball sehen!

keine ursache - zou're welcome

ich sprechc kein deutsch - i don't speak german

ok, tired, must go. remember, read z as y and vice versa and this will all make sense.

will report in again on wednesdaz. we are going to gelsenkirchen to see us ß czech republic tomorrow, and will see togo-korea here in frankfurt on tuesdaz, if togo shows up. their coach just quit and the team is threatening to go home if thez are not paid what thez want. let's hope thez staz, as we got 2nd row seats on the FIFA ticket resale portal. we will cheer for whichever team we are sitting with!

1 comment:

Big Daddy said...

great post, just finishing up with the third of four weddings, A & D from Argentina and Los Angeles respectively....nice ceremony which I will post you some pics when I get a free minute other than this one...just got thru installing a volleyball net for them down on the grassy knoll of the property. Exhausted but so glad to hear that you are having such an amazing adventure. I am sooooooo jealous! See you in London in October.