Monday, July 10, 2006

This is probably my last post for a while. I'm not sure when or where I'll be back in blog action, but it will happen. Keep checking back and don't give up. If you really need to get your B-O-B fix, wander into my archives and catch up on some of the episodes you might have missed.

Beijing's Millenium MonumentA busy week is coming to a close. We ran around during the day yesterday in the overcast city, busy completing errands before heading out of Beijing tomorrow, less than 24 hours from now, and returned home in the early evening to nap. If we weren't getting married in less than a month, there wouldn't be so much to worry about. Farewell parties, multiple rehearsals and two performances with the Subterraneans, one at Icehouse with Tré (a visiting Blues guitarist from Chicago) and another at the Beijing World Art Museum beneath the millennium Monument (pictured here), only added to the manic pace and exhaustion of these final days.

On top of everything, we needed to be well-rested and awake at 2AM to catch the World Cup final pitting Italy and France. Planning to go to Ritan Park, where we had watched other matches, it had looked for hours like it was going to rain and even began suggestively thundering and lightninging, but no rain fell. We went to sleep at about 11PM and woke up at 12:30AM, ready to get our soccer fix. While getting dressed in my new Azzurri jersey, I looked out the window. People were still eating on the street down below, but I could smell the cool rain in the air. The phone was ringing and text messages were flying as we made and confirmed plans to meet up with various people. Finally, we were ready to go and the rain began to crash down in giant drops. Ritan Park was obviously out of the question, but we weren't going to sit at home and watch the game. Plan B was put into effect. We contacted our friends and then went downstairs to catch a cab, on our way to our new destination, the Goose & Duck. The streets were flooded in seconds and by the time we had taken a few steps in the downpour, Angela and me huddled beneath our little umbrella, our shoes and pants were sopping wet. We sloshed on hoping to find a cab waiting on the street. We found one, and entered, laughing at our misfortune, but we weren't going to miss the game. We were on our way!

We finally made it to the bar, driving quite slowly on the riverish roadways. The bar was crowded and the atmosphere was electric as people whistled and shouted in the waning minutes before kick-off. We were lucky to find good seats and sat down to enjoy our beers and wait for our friends to join us. Unfortunately, the French supporters seemed to outnumber the Italian fans, but that didn't stop us from cheering and enjoying the occasion. Our friends slowly trickled in, some of them drenched from being caught in the wet weather, but everyone seemed to be in high spirits and ready for a good match.

It rained all through the morning as the game rolled on to its dramatic conclusion. Everything went according to plan and our early morning soccer mayhem came to a climax as Italy punched in all five of it's penalty shots, with France missing once, to claim the cup. It was bright and foggy outside as we emerged from the quieting bar, but the rain had stopped and the sun had risen. We wished our remaining mates well, returned home and quickly dropped into a long sleep.

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