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  • Day12

    Match Day

    July 2, 2019 in France ⋅ ☁️ 25 °C

    Hot and humid in Lyon at 86 degrees and real feel closer to 90. Took a bit to figure out logistics for public transit - Google Maps was of zero help. Bought a 24-hour pass so as not to deal with tickets while bleary-eyed tomorrow AM. Eventually figured it out and found it easiest to follow the masses wearing red, white & blue. Gloriously, the SNCF was running special air conditioned buses non-stop to the stadium. Took that, then grabbed an Uber to the Airbnb.

    Easy enough to get settled. Very nice family. The dad, Jakob, speaks quite good English and showed me around. The mom, Nicole, spoke little
    They have two teen sons. Clean and tidy and will suit just fine. About 10 minutes later, I'm off to the stadium! Metro is right around the corner, so I don't need Google, which is good since it insists there's no way to use public transit to the match.

    I arrive at the correct station and follow along the crowd. Notice a place advertising hotdogs and beer with other American fans. Figure it will be cheaper and likely better food than inside the stadium, so I decide to stop. Good thing because no beer is sold inside! Apparently, FIFA failed to secure an alcohol sponsor. SMH. Funny looking dog in a baguette, with frites and a large beer. I eat and drink as I continue toward the stadium. Looking everywhere for gear, but I'm not seeing any. Figure there will be some inside and head on in, along with 53,512 of my closest friends. No gear, only generic FIFA stuff that's pretty boring, and I'm dressed head-to-toe in black (those who know me well realize I have a gear problem and tend to go overboard with 'flair')...oh, well! The fans are all fantastic and I have lovely conversations with several of them.

    Find my seat and it is fantastic! Right in front of the FIFA/VIP seats, where the lady in front of me recognizes Brandi Chastain, Julie Foudy, and several more ladies from the 1999 winning USWNT! French folks to be left who kept to themselves. A nice father/daughter who drove in from Geneva, who promised they were neutral. I quipped "Switzerland is always neutral" and they laughed (yet then cheered on England!) In front of me were a group of 30-something Americans from the Bay Area, one of whom is wearing a bald eagle costume and had to be roasting!

    The ladies come onto the field to AC/DCs Thunderstruck and I estimate the fan base is 2/3 US (or else 50% louder, which is entirely possible!) Match begins and USA goes up 1-0 five minutes in. UK events it up pretty quickly. Finally, the US get a goal at the 32' mark and despite a nail biter of a game, with a PK and a UK goal nullified for offsides on review, 2-1 remained the final score. They women looked good and I look forward to watching the final when we return home!

    After the match, a (mostly) ebullient crowd and I mosey out toward the tram station. Temp is still 81! Realize that my Airbnb farther out of the city is a good thing because everyone is heading into town and fewer are going my direction. I feel fine on my own, although the block and a half walk to my place was slightly nerve-wracking as I believe I was being followed down a dark, empty pathway by some teens who were part of a raucous group. Fortunately, I'm only three houses up, so I douse my light and quietly slip inside before they see where I went.

    Back at my flat right at midnight, a nice cool shower was refreshing. It's finally starting to cool off a little and there's thunder and lighting in the distance, so here's hoping for a nice cooling rain!
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