Berlin Hauptbahnhof (Central Station). The clock reads 10:27 am. My train is set to leave in three minutes, yet still I am disoriented in this maze of what seem like a thousand platforms. A sign tells me to head to the third floor, where the ICE (Inter City Express) is waiting for the last passengers to board. The door closes behind me. At last I can take my seat. A four-hour journey lies ahead of me before I can reach my destination – the birthplace of my father and the hometown of my grandparents, Essen, a city in the state of North-Rhine Westphalia. My last visit was three years ago and I’m anticipating new impressions. Especially now, during this time, in this year. In 2010, UNESCO puts the spotlight on the ingeniously designed industrial machines and centuries-old culture in Essen’s former Zeche Zollverein (Coal Mine Zollverein), honoring Essen with the prestigious title of “Weltkulturerbe“ (World Heritage Site).
If you are a football fan you’ve probably heard of Sialkot, Pakistan – about 70 percent of the world’s hand-sewn footballs are made there.
In the 1980s, Sialkot gained international celebrity status when it produced the Tango ball used in the 1982 FIFA World Cup. Today Sialkot’s hand-stitched balls face competition from the machine-made and machine-glued balls produced in China. The balls that will be used in World Cup matches this summer, made by hand in Sialkot in previous years, are now being produced in China by machine.