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Boxed in by Barcelona Fans: She's definitely not the face-painted, flag-waving soccer fanatic that one will see in Paris this week in the European soccer championships or at the World Cup next month in Germany. But living in Spain, correspondent Lisa Abend says that it's impossible to avoid getting caught up in the excitement of Barcelona's winning team, the Barça.

Earlier this month she was in Barcelona working with NBC-TV when she got caught in crowds of people awaiting Barça's send-off parade. Though the parade wouldn't even begin for two hours, the crowds were so dense she couldn't get where she was going. She opted to stay put in the Plaza de Catalunya. Located at the midpoint of the parade, which was expected to last from 6 to 9 p.m., she figured the caravan of open-air buses carrying the players and coaches would arrive at about 7:30. But the convoy didn't arrive until 9 p.m., because so many people were thronging the route.

But even after the three buses went by, "I was hit by a wave of exhaust fumes coming from the people on motorbikes who joined the parade," says Lisa. The motorbike tail stretched for several blocks.

Volcanic Visitor: Michael Coren rented a moped in Yogyakarta and rode up Mt. Merapi in Indonesia to do his reporting for today's story. "Almost everyone else was going in the other direction, evacuating. A few wished me luck. But as I got higher up, I was met by those who were staying. Despite the ash coming down, they weren't concerned."

Michael says he kept one eye on the mountain at all times. "Everyone there seemed to be putting their faith in Allah, a fast moto, or both."

David Clark Scott
World editor

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