World Cup in Qatar: watch football!

WWe were sitting on a dune in the Sahara Desert, two hours drive from the nearest road. The last rays of sun touched the blown sand in which we had dug our feet. “Barca”, a dromedary driver shouted to us. He grinned an almost toothless grin and formed a zero with his index finger and thumb. “Bayern Munich,” he said, and held up three fingers in the air. Now the last rays of sunshine fell on his appreciative nod.

My friend took the chance. “Tottenham – Sporting 1-1,” he replied – the dromedary driver laughed as if he had just heard a particularly good joke. “But Ajax – Liverpool, 0: 3, too. Very good,” my friend continued. “Yes, very good,” agreed the dromedary driver with satisfaction.

Then he got up and carefully placed my water bottle on the other side of the dune. “Best moment for pictures”, he explained and did a photo shoot with us in the sunset.

Football had brought us this far. In the center of Morocco we had a chat with a hotel waiter about Hakim Ziyech, Erling Haaland and Amine Harit entertain. Then he took us out of the huge old town of Fes and fought for us with the taxi drivers for fares.

When it came to football, we travelers suddenly belonged

In the south of the country, café-goers shooed away the horde of begging cats around my friend’s table when they noticed that the tourist was watching the game on TV as closely as they were. To the north we watched another traveling schoolboy throw in crosses. They laughed at him when they were bad and asked for more when they got it. None of the surrounding dealers spoke to the tourist, even the henna painters forgot for a moment that there was a potential customer right in front of their eyes.

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