(It's Sunday night and I'm sitting in my hotel room in Frankfort. Each day's report was written on the day it occurred except Sunday--which I haven't finished yet.)
It seems the MS didn’t care for my St. Tropez reports. So much so in fact they had one of the team’s sponsors deliver the message along with the hope it wouldn’t be repeated in Bitburg. A reasonable person might consider such an effort an act of censorship. While I may or may not be all that reasonable all my faculties remain relatively intact and I don’t think it rises to that level. It’s only censorship if it works. At present it’s more of a naked power play--and an attempted act of censorship. It’s also one I take seriously given that the message was delivered through a sponsor. (It wasn't Dye.) So much so in fact I will not be reporting on any of the paintball played. Good, bad or indifferent. It makes me wonder too. If mere words on a solitary blog frighten them so much aren’t they terrified of video? Perhaps we’ll see.
By the way, I didn’t post anything during the event because the price of internet access was exorbitant.
We left Tampa Wednesday afternoon and arrived in Frankfort at 9 am Thursday morning. A front moving up the east coast kept us in our Frankfort-bound plane an extra hour before we were able to take off. It wasn’t a particularly pleasant flight after getting off the ground either. Amazingly enough we discovered meals worse than those offered at the Oasis Village in the south of France. This time served up by the airline. (It's initials are United.) Much of the flight crew were German and I couldn’t help thinking that even when the crew attempted to be solicitous they were really annoyed at having to serve these boring pedestrian people. (Or maybe I was just projecting.) We were also reminded more than once that the first two words of English every German learns is “not possible.”
Having been in the Frankfort airport before--though just to pass Customs and switch concourses in order to reach a connecting flight--my first impression had been of order and symmetry--even a sort of functional aesthetic. Those impressions were replaced this trip by a modernist parody of Pan’s Labyrinth. After clearing customs and collecting our luggage we hiked what might have been miles of twisting corridors and up and down levels to the (lonely, isolated, subterranean) rental car desk. It was easy to conceive that all the underground parking with its constant twists and turns had been dug by urban miners out of the concrete foundations of the airport.
The German countryside was exceptionally lovely with nary a Panzer in sight--all replaced by (supposedly) Gaia-friendly enormous wind turbines that look like--because that’s what they are--gigantic propellers. Even so the country really was beautiful with verdant rolling hills, fir clad chasms and gorges amid swaths of meadows, cultivated fields, Mosel vineyards and speckled by traditional towns and villages huddled around ancient church spires. (I think with a smattering of German one could enjoy a very pleasant and leisurely vacation traveling the by roads of rural Germany visiting the small towns and historic monuments.
The venue is in an industrially zoned area that was once a United States Air Force base. (And an active base remains nearby.) Many if not most of the buildings have been revamped to other purposes--like the Eifel Stern hotel. There's a light industrial and agricultural machinery seller and a decorative brick wholesaler, a taxi service and a low rent strip club in the neighborhood.There is a sign that claims the area is also a sportsschule. The evidence is a few soccer fields, an oval track, some support structures, dorms and a nearby bowling alley. I was told the first year of the Bitburg tournament it was held on the grass verges of the airstrip. Now it appears to be within the grass center of a dirt oval track. It is, on first impression, better than the St. Tropez venue but it also is in the literal middle of nowhere and being a step (or two) up from the Oasis Village site is an achievement nearly impossible to avoid unless one enjoys caravaning in war zones. To be fair it's also a far better venue than the last NPPL event held at SC Village and on a par perhaps with the San Bernadino PSP of some years past.
Once on site we registered, borrowed some guns and thanks to Instinct & Outbreak got in a good hour’s practice. Afterwards we collected our legally stamped event guns and headed for the hotel. Not having eaten since “breakfast” on board the plane everyone was starving. The dining room didn’t open until 6:30 pm. I almost forgot. “Not possible.”