MUNICH. Hot weather, hot media, hot time. A full month of World Cup football frenzy begins today in the Bavarian capital as elsewhere, a collective, virtual odyssey from stadium to stadium in faraway but now omnipresent South Africa. Bars and beer gardens have been granted extended opening hours, the police have promised laxity with late-night revelers, and use of the already notorious vuvuzela, a plastic horn producing an earsplitting, decibel-laden exaggeration of an elephant's trumpet, has been permitted -- unlike elsewhere.
Venues for wide-screen, high-definition public viewing of most if not all of the 64 matches are located throughout the city, from Munich's Olympic Stadium to neighborhood bars. The popularity of mass public viewing (or PV, pronounced "pay fow" in German), was one of the many successes enjoyed by Germany as host of the 2006 World Cup, and organizers both public and private expect the trend to continue, especially considering the Germans' love of communal experience.
The Munich Times will offer continuing online coverage of the matches by experienced sports journalists, including reports from our correspondent in South Africa, Andy James, as well as analysis from Sports Editor Salman Mitha in Munich.