What a day we had yesterday! (June 25) We spent four hours at the zoo, relaxed in the afternoon, then visited the fan zone in the center of town, ate dinner, and watched a super-thrilling soccer game on a big screen with thousands of fans. The weather was clear and sunny with a little breeze - perfect for outdoor activities.
The children enjoyed the zoo very much. They took photos of the animals and made plenty of videos - mostly of the animals. Sarah was the videographer. I made a few just so we would have a record of the family's visit.
We returned from the zoo in the early afternoon. Carol and Sarah stayed home to nap and chill out. Patrick and I went with Thomas to the club for bank employees. We took advantage of the beautiful warm day to splash in the pool. Patrick and I heard kids speaking in American-accented English, but he chose to stay with me the whole time. Again I was reminded of Gávea, this time by the square centimeters of olive or pink skin exposed above waistlines.
As a host city for the UEFA Euro2008 Basel closed off a portion of its center city to auto traffic. The "Fan Zone" thus formed was thronged with people - mostly Germans. ("The German invasion has begun," Thomas reported the local radio saying.) They wore team jerseys, painted their faces, draped themselves with flags, chanted and sang. The chants were more different from each other than the songs, which everyone knew. Turkish supporters were there too, thought they didn't chant or sing. We ate dinner within sight of the Rhine and saw and heard German fans jumping off the old bridge into the fast-flowing water.
The game was an emotional roller-coaster. Final score: Germany 3, Turkey 2. No bloodshed. Some of the chants and songs that I couldn't understand may have been worse, but the most racist display I saw were white letters cut and pasted on the first two stripes of the schwarz, rot, + gold: ABENDLAND. Mostly I saw thousands of young Germans proud to be German.