All dolled up in black, red and gold

Nicole's back from Berlin and brought some underwear that says "GERMANY" on it. Today's the first game of the round of 16, Deutchland's playing, and so far I'd have to say it feels pretty comfortable.

A great little football nook

Jose opened the 90 mins cafe 2 years after he came here from Venezuela to work in his cousin's restaurant. He hopes to have tables outside and serve liquor once the licence comes through. Right now, they are working on Coffee in disposable cups. It told him he should get real cappucino cups for that authentic cafe feel, but that's hard because they don't have a kitchen to wash them in.

Have to say that it is a really cozy little hole in the wall - and when I say wall, I mean basement. Check it out :

Watching the World Cup in a Backward Land

Well, I'm sitting in Washington DC in a basement cafe watching Unavision, the corporate media of choice of our newest Americans. Pity the dominant language media of my country can't figure out that the Cup is worth doing well. ABC has had coverage on Saturdays only, with shameful lazy commentary that demonstrates the folly of pressing US multi-sport experts into service as football experts. They fumble about landing their heavy handed touch in an elegant world they know nothing about.

They keep making reference to inane and irrelevant 'human interest' stories as they have been trained to do for domestic consumption. Perhaps because the alternative is analysis painful enough to make you cringe. Case in point: yesterdays England Paraguay game featured the 'most famous player in the world' variously 'Michael Beckham' and 'David Beckett.' Its really a shambles.

This morning I am sitting in the 90 minutes cafe, a little basment nook that has been converted for the Cup. They don't have a liquor liscence yet, but they serve great coffee. They promise to stay open after the Cup, but I have my doubts. For now at least it is an intimate and loud hold filled with opposing shouts by Mexico and Iran fans. The Mexicans are of several varieties, both recently arrived and well integrated. The Iranians are a bunch of Americans, friends of an Iranian girl whose parents either fled the Shah or the revolution.

There is a photographer and a reporter from the Neo-Con rag The Washington Times hovering here. Doubtlessly they are doing some angle on Iran, or perhaps on how Iranians and Mexicans do and should hate one another. They haven't asked me for an interview yet, but I flatter myself that I could walk the right line between scorning their paper and not browbeating the gumshoes at the bottom of the totem pole.

Iran's quite good. I'll have to settle down and watch this.