|Geneva. The town that never wakes. 3 days in Geneva and there was hardly a shop open all weekend. Not that we planned on doing any shopping.
Checking into the hotel I had booked a room with 5 beds. Based on past form Richie was stoked to be on the top bunk, and not have Mark sleep above him (refer New Years ski trip) in retrospect he wasn’t so happy, as his bunk was ‘fold away’, and like so many great 80’s comedies he was trapped against the wall. Frequently.
After a 15 minute walk through the city we realised there was nothing to do, so made our way to a café and ordered beer on mass. Few funny looks from the locals, including a few photos taken of our table as the first of the beer towers came out, but it soon inspired the rest of the kiwis at the café and a mini-skyline of alcoholic skyscrapers developed.
Saturday night and it was a struggle to find a decent bar in the city. Did catch up with Struan and few of the beige brigaders, including one D.Vettori.
Sunday took a boat ride on the lake. Nice view, but ultimately our minds were elsewhere The game was approaching and there were a few butterflies in the stomach, battling with the beer, in an alcoholic tango.
Costumes were doned - white painters suits with silver ferns on the front and numbers and names on the back - beers were drank, and pre match stretching took place.
Johnson Silva, Ze Hadberto, Leroy, Monte Carlo and El Nino.
I assume the brazillian fans must have been camping at the ground, as they were about as scarse in the city as a sign saying “open all weekend”. However kinda like Toddlers day at the local swimming pool, as we approached the ground it became a sea of yellow. We stood out like a white boy in Ngarawhaia, fortunately the Brazilians are a lot smaller and a lot friendlier. Jeepers, there were more similies in that paragraph than…ok, this is getting out of control.
We entered the ground at the brazillian end and began our chanting immediately:
“It’s easy to support Brazil! It’s easy to support Brazil!”
“’82! ’82! We were there, and so were you! Fooooour nil, four nil, four nil, four nil, four nil! Foooour nil! Four nil!”
“It’s gonna be Aaaaalll White! Na! Na! Na! Na-na-na-na-na!”
“She’s all right, she’s all right, a bit….” a can’t really continue with that one.
And so forth.
Brazillians were stopping, pointing, laughing, asking for photos of us, photos with us. Our time had come. This was our hour. Certainly a case of history repeating itself – the Spanish arriving in the New World, the local tribes curious of these foreign Gods, worshiping them for their unusual attire and strange way of speaking. I was disappointed with the lack of sacrificial virgins though.
The atmosphere in the stadium was fantastic, the kiwi minority were in full voice, and there can be no doubt if our numbers were greater we could have taught the Brazilian supporters a samba lesson. I’m not sure what that means but it sounds good.
Of course the All Whites represented well and we were proud of the lads, they certainly didn’t deserve to lose 4-0. We sent them off with the a rousing rendition of the Exponents classic – “darling I’ll say goodbye even though I’m blue…”
Went out Sunday night in full kit, met up with the kiwi fans in Mr Pickwick’s, but soon hit a series of kebab shops and pubs, stopping to perform feats of breakdancing at sites of special interest. Jimmy Hadlow gave his kit away to a man who had been beaten up so the fella could conduct an act of revenge. Jimmy was quickly and unceremoniously set upon by the group for not respecting the kit, during which time Ross may have broken a rib. This was considered less important than a loss of one kit.
I think we got back to the hotel around 3.30am. Mark was up at 5.30am to catch a flight back to London. Unlucky.
Walked to the UN Monday. Saw the gate. It was closed. Jumped the border into France (literally over the fence). Went up a hill on a Vernicular. Looked at Switzerland. Looked at France. Came down.
Queuing for plane at the airport. Girl in front of us turns around, and says “does this look familiar?” as she shows us a picture of us all in our kit on Saturday night. Turns out we met her at a pub. If the evidence wasn’t there right in front of us I wouldn’t have believed it.
Flight back to London was via Paris as some poor fella had a bad seizure. Added an extra hour to the flight, but it was difficult to complain too much after such one of the top 5 weekends in Europe.