DubNation Diary: Spain 2014 FIBA World Cup Arrival In Bilbao – Marvin’

BILBAO, SPAIN — Greetings, gentle readers of Interbasket.net! Poor Man’s Commish here again, reporting from Bilbao, Spain, site of the 2014 FIBA World Cup of Basketball (aka #Spain2014). I thought I’d give you a semi-daily report of my hoops adventure here in the preliminary round of Group C.

Group C has the United States, which I am also covering for Golden State Warriors fans (aka #DubNation) at LetsGoWarriors.com, Finland, Ukraine, New Zealand, Turkey, and the Dominican Republic.

Little known fact: The US hasn’t won back-to-back World Championship — what they called it before changing the official name to World Cup of Basketball — ever.

As I took the 3247 bus into town, driving through the green hills and finally ending up near the central station, Termibus, I thought there were similarities to arriving in Portland, Oregon, of the United States. The populations both being under a million, the fast, efficient, and modern public transportation, the clean streets, the fresh air, and the green backdrop.

(Photo: @poormanscommish/LetsGoWarriors.com)

(Photo: @poormanscommish/LetsGoWarriors.com)

My arrival was early afternoon and not only had I missed Team USA’s practice — they were originally scheduled to practice at night, but the team had moved it to the late morning — I hadn’t eaten anything since the McDonald’s at the airport in Lisbon at 10:00AM. I would learn fairly quickly how hard it was to grab a meal in places in Spain not named Barcelona or Madrid.

By the time I had settled into the apartment at where I was staying, figured out where the subway was and how to get to the arena, and re-SIM’ed my cellphone, it was well into the afternoon, a bit past four o’clock.

All the cafes with their seats out past the sidewalk and what not — adorned with basketball stickers to welcome all the tourists to #Spain2014 — were a bit empty and everywhere I asked, dinner wasn’t going to be served until 7:00PM. Apparently, I’m not alone in my desires for a quick meal somewhere, although I did find an (overpriced) Sushi Artist to stem the hunger a bit. I decided to head to the arena early. Surely there’d be food there.

(Photo: Poor Man's Commish / LetsGoWarriors.com)

(Photo: Poor Man’s Commish / LetsGoWarriors.com)

On the way via subway, there were plenty of fans from Finland making their way to the game five hours before tipoff.

The event venue was impressive, but you wonder if Finland had not been given a so-called “wild card” berth into the World Cup, would it be as bustling?

There were three stages and DJs, so everywhere you walked, there was loud music. The arena turned out to be a section of an expo hall inside the vast Bilbao Exhibition Centre (aka “BEC”). For the events outside, you had to buy tickets at 1 Euro each to pay for the food and booze.

I’m not a pizza or sandwich fan, so I found my staple and bought a chicken burrito “light” — um, Pakistani durum, that is — for five tickets. I would have to come back to this staple time and again, due to the lack of available food in Spain. Little did I know I’d be “Starvin’ Marvin” in Bilbao.

[NOTE: For all the latest previews and recaps for Team USA, follow @LetsGoWarriors!]

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