Wednesday, June 25, 2008

It happened in Basel

It happened in Basel. And what happens in Basel, should stay in Basel. We lost. And that should have been considered as a small mistake, nothing big, nor important, everyone makes them, so lets move one, what a shame, but here you are, since you did so well before: the semi-finals.
Alas, the world of football is merciless, and this tiny defeat kicked us out of the European Championships. ‘Us’ were the ‘The Dutch National Team’, who against all odds did very well in the first round of the Championship, but failed to deliver in the quarter finals. The quarter finals were a disaster, in which the Russians beat us because they were simply better. However, the Dutch were better at partying in Basel. Because my god, what a party it was before we lost.

I went there (it is only a two-and-a-half our train ride from Geneva), and met a few Dutch friends in town. The city looked like Amsterdam on Queensday, but with even more Dutch, or so it seemed. On the stations on my way there, I saw Swiss people all dressed up in orange, waiting for a slow train to bring them into town. Holland’s finest and not so finest met each other in Basel, were about a quarter of a million liters of beer was consumed on one afternoon, and where it was almost 33 degrees. People were swimming in the Rhine, in fountains and in beer, and in fanzones tired fans tried to find some shadow and a place to sleep- the fanzones reminded me of refugee camps, with people sleeping on the ground, or while sitting against a wall, dressed in orange rags; hollow eyed (okay, of booze), desperately looking for a place (okay, to see the match) and exhausted (okay, from a voluntarily 10 hour drive from Holland to see the match).
All in all it was an experience, to see a city being completely taken over by foreign fans; there were about 120,000 of our finest export products in Basel: the knowlegde economy. And if that is what we have to offer, then, Rest of the World: be aware…

On a completely different note: a survey by Employment Conditions Abroad has shown that Geneva is amongst the most expensive cities to live in as an expat. It is number 6 in the world. Most expensive city to live in as an expat is Luanda, Angola. Where?