Attending a World Cup finals is a rare opportunity to meet people from all over the world, with different views, drinking habits – and bathing.
We were barely settled in the media tribune seating – great seats they were, front row upper deck, no tables but power bars and wireless cords; in Port Elizabeth it was 150 steps up to my highest-row perch, and of course I left my power cord back in the press centre and had to go back to make the trip twice – getting ready for the England-Algeria kickoff when the Globe's Stephen Brunt, sitting to my right, whispered in my ear.
“Guy beside me is ripe.”
I leaned over. Little guy, sports jacket, five o'clock shadow, looked harmless enough. With Brunt as my human shield, occasionally giving me that who-farted-inthe-elevator look – he was truly taking one for the team here – I didn't really notice. But when the breeze was just right, it was pure finest Limburger, and there was no way I was going to penetrate that aura to check his media badge.
Ah, memories ... World Cup '94 at Giants Stadium. Bulgaria, with Hristo Stoichkov the main man, went all the way to semis against Italy. We were similarly settled into our seats at Giants Stadium when the Bulgarian press corps showed up, about a dozen of them. They looked like they hadn't shaved in two weeks, they smelled like a tanker ship full of spoiled eggs, and they were roaring drunk, spilling into their seats like it was a Motley Crue concert.
At least this guy wasn't drunk.