World Cup final in the Embassy

There is no publicity option the current German Embassador to India would miss out on. So when the German football team reached the World Cup finals, he opened the gates – literally.

40 minutes before kickoff, a huge crowd had assembled in front of the main entrance to the embassy. It was by invitation only, but someone must’ve sent out a lot of invitations. The head of the press department stood in the middle of it all, his nerves at breaking point, constantly exclaimed there were 80 TV camera teams already inside. Many of them going live.

Whoever was wearing a tricot, was sure to be captured.

Whoever was wearing a tricot, was sure to be captured.

Seemingly over-worked embassy staff tried to form a line out of the throng at the gate, first on the right side, then on the left side, but failed. Some of them hectically went through the printed invitation lists to tick off names, but while finding one person, twenty others had made their way past them already.

Nothing was moving really. Reason being: The ground has a double door, with a thoroughful security check in between. Only one door can be opened at a time. Normally, passport details are taken down. And mobile phones are not allowed inside.

In Germany, we call live  public screenings of football matches "public viewing" (with exactly these English words)

In Germany, we call live public screenings of football matches “public viewing” (with exactly these English words)

But that night nothing was normal. When the embassador came to the gates and saw for himself, that under no circumstances would the crowd be inside in 40 minutes, he weighed the options before him: On one hand a PR disaster, which surely would feature in all the national media, already assembled at the place, as the Germans – with the organisation skill predicate attached to them – couldn’t handle a crowd of a few hundred.

The other option included a security risk. He chose the latter and declared the doors open – while the security staff stood stunned next to him, their head shaking in disbelieve.

Kickoff was at 0.30am, so many people were hungry again after they have had dinner

Kickoff was at 0.30am, so many people were hungry again after they have had dinner

Once in, everybody was munching away the Sauerkraut and Wurstl and Berliner, while grabbing as much drinks as possible. Because during the semi-finals, the embassy ran out of beer ten minutes into the match. Only after a while they again had managed to bring boxes of non-cooled, different German brands (from god knows which cellars in the embassy or staff living close by).

To prevent this, the embassador announced on the mic we should go easy on the beer. Otherwise it wouldn’t last the whole night.

Lucky us, it did. The rest was joy.

a happy lot of South Asian Correspondents

a happy lot of South Asian Correspondents

 

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I could have been…

at the finishing line, still in pretty high spirits

at the finishing line, still in pretty high spirits

I could have come second, if only I had cleared all the obstacles! Today the organisers of the Devil’s Circuit published the ranking, and it turned out that only eight women managed the parcour, as compared to 133 men. A huge round of applause for these eight!

But the biggest group in this list are the ones who didn’t manage or dared to do all climbs, jums, swings, crawls, swims etc.  Me being somewhere among them…

Devil’s Circuit

true winners

Everybody got a medal… and aching muscles.

People who think marathons and triathlons are too boring, should come to the “Big Daddy of obstacle Runs”, the organisers of the “Devil’s Circuit” reasoned.

But then, the 5km long obstacle run in a dirty field at the gates of Gurgaon was quite doable. Well, at least for many. I failed on two obstacles – with the effect that now I’m even more motivated to keep up the Parkour Training… next time then!

What lay in our way: walls to scale in turns with barriers to crawl through, a series of deep earthen ditches, several narrow beams to balance over, barbed wire to crawl underneath, a rope hanging down into a waist-deep pond with a vertical, very slippery wall to climb (here I fell back into the water), a horizontal ladder to move hand over hand to get along (no chance for me there as well), a tunnel, a net with heavy ropes on top to crawl through, a six meter high, free swinging rope to climb (with knots, though), a ditch filled with water and covered by a wire mesh fence, a heavy sandsack to carry for 200 meters or so, poles to balance over, iced water to wade/swim through (here’s a video from last year).

 

Parkour Training – first moves

Okay, here we go. There are two videos of some of the stuff I learnt during my Parkour lessons in Lodhi Garden.

As my instructors would say:

Fun with Diving Kong! (you need to click on it, I can’t embed the videos here without paying 60 US-Dollars)

Fun with … ehm, I forgot the name for the vault

stretching

Snowboarding in Gulmarg

We were greeted by incredible powder, when my cousin, her boyfriend and I reached Gulmarg, which is considered to be one of the best ski resorts in the Himalayas.

We plunged into the deep snow, skidded around, walked through the small village, looked up into the sky for a sign of weather change – and had innumerable snowflakes fallen on our faces.

The second day, we rented snowboards. Because there actually was too much snow – 1,5 meter of fresh powder, I would say – the gondola remained closed. So we hired a guide and a pick-up and ran down through the foggy forest to Babareshi and Tangmarg several times, to be brought up in fun, skiddy rides again. But the whole day, it kept on snowing.

And then, finally, the morning we left, the sun came out. Sigh.

One person in the house likes mud more than the others

dirty shoes

After crawling through dirty gras, spinning on trees, jumping over benches and clinging onto walls – in short: getting dirty in the parkour lesson – I wanted to get back home. But half of Lodhi Gardens got closed during the training for the Japanese Emperor, who leisurly strolled through the park.

And this being India, not one of the dozens, if not hundreds, of security guys could tell me which gates were open to exit. So I had to take a loooong walk around half of the park.

Hopefully at least the new lawns and flowers, planted the night before for the royal visit, will remain after the Emperor left – to delight others as well.

The Bus Driver is honest at least…

break down

… or is it a command? Does the bus try to force me to quit, as I was on my way back from an extremely exhausting 2,5h parkour training? Well, it then only inspired me to pedal harder.

Muscle Hangover

It took me ages to climb up the four flights of stairs to my flat. When I tried to get up from the couch, my legs were on the verge of yielding. And I let out cries when I crouched down to get the fruits from the fridge. What have I done?

More than two hours the parcour instructor put us through the mill. We had to monkey-run forewards and backwards, twist-jump as fast as we could, hold gymnastic back bridges, jump over a string that moved up every time we suceeded, do handstands and push-ups, hold our bodies on a wall and above a bench, and so on, and so forth.

Especially the crawling on the newly mowed lawn wore me out. I thought it would be child’s play – until the instructor told me to hold the knees just above the tips of the grass. Well, now I’m sitting here with some Voltaren and dread tomorrow’s muscle hangover.

But I’m so glad I finally did it! Since my university days, I tried to become a traceur. But somehow I neither made it to the training in the theater hall in Freiburg, nor into the Volkspark Friedrichshain in Berlin. And now I found the most unimaginable training tools ever: 600 years old tombs in Lodi Gardens.

n-parkour

National Pastime

archery

As if the Takin as national animal wasn’t weird enough, the Bhutanese picked a funny form of archery as their national pastime. Formally played with bows made out of bamboo and real feathers on the arrows, they nowadays use the latest high-tech carbon-fibre equipment.

Anyways, the good-humoured camaraderie remained. Every time someone had hit the small wooden board, which from 150 meters afar can hardly be spotted, everybody would start to howl and dance victory dances.

And if the team member didn’t succeed, they would communicate with him with the help of articulate hand gestures and by waggling the colourful strips of cloth next to the target.

dancing archers

Rafting from Chilling to Sangam

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