June 14, 2010
Sie verlassen den amerikanischen Sektor
Posted by Erik Gerding

It's been a productive and fun first week here in Berlin.  I've never seen such sports mania as the World Cup fever here.  Good luck trying to buy milk for a two-year old when Germany is playing -- all the grocery stores shutter.  The only places open are those serving food and drink.  Indeed, almost every street side cafe and restaurant has a television and a gathered crowd outside for practically every game.  Even the auto parts store beneath our apartment has transformed itself into a temporary World Cup cafe,  attempting to realize synergies among the German passions for autos, bier, kaffee/kuchen, and fussball.

There are, however, a few bones to pick:

1.  Vuvuzelas:  I hate those damn things.  How can a country with as rich as musical culture as South Africa have invented something that blends the worst tonal aspects of a traffic jam and a mosquito colony?  Please let this not become a social contagion.  But, based on the number of these infernal devices here in Berlin, I fear the worst.  Can't fans just bang drums? 

2.  Honking car horns after a victory:  It was charming when the Slovenians and Ghanaians in the neighborhood did it, but memo to Germans honking their horns last night: Ok, so your team looked really good, but a) you beat up a nation whose principal sport is surfing, and b) it's only the first round. 

I know every list should have three items, but that is all I can think of to complain about right now.  Which is saying something for me.

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