WHAT ULTRA PEANUT’S BEEN UP TO THE PAST COUPLE DAYS:
- Spending the day on Friday in a sea of orange in Stuttgart, watching a suprisingly tight Netherlands-Ivory Coast game at the fan fest. Didier Drogba makes Carlos Ruiz look squeaky clean. All three goals in that game were the kind you can see coming a mile away. Somewhere in the same plaza, Magpie was running around with his Dutch pals, but we didn’t see each other, possibly because of the orange camoflage. Stuttgart has the best of the fan fest setups I’ve been to–Nuremburg is in a gravel field with nowhere to sit, and the screens on the river in Frankfurt are neat, but seem to be set up for people to watch one game, then leave, whereas Stuttgart is set up for you to spend the whole day camped out. Afterwards, we learned that if your train is late enough all your connections are missed, DB will front for a cab home; they sent us in a taxi from Mainz to Kirn, along with a dad and his daughter who were baffled as to why a couple of Americans would stay in a rural village. “Getting carsick on the autobahn,” btw, is something I honestly did expect to do at least once in my life, so that one’s checked off the list now.
- Spent Saturday walking around Kaiserslautern until we found the rest of the New England brigade, then hung out at the Red, White, and Brew party organized by the fine fellows at Yanks Abroad. Kaiserslautern has a huge American community thanks to the military bases, and that was reflected in the crowd makeup along the streets of town that day–seemingly every group of Azzuri fans had a corresponding group of Yanks. I don’t think too highly of their players, but the Italian fans were fun, in that they were very happy to get into back and forth sing-offs with our guys. Had a singalong of “Country Roads” with a bunch of Germans and Italians, which, as a West Virginia native, was very strange. Postgame, we ran into Hahnemann’s family on the way back to the station (I gave his sister my scarf), got interviewed on live Italian TV, and shared a compartment on the train to Stuttgart with a German family who were eager to chat about the state of US soccer.
- Originally, the idea for Sunday was to sleep on the train into town in the morning, then attend the fan fest to watch Croatia-Japan, but we didn’t get much sleep on the train, and by the time the game was on we had run out of patience for the day, so left at halftime to catch a train that wound up being wicked late anyway. Walking around Nuremburg in the morning was fun, though, and I wish they’d had the fan fest in the town square rather than the parking lot. I gotta say I was a little disappointed in the Japanese fans; they were strong in number but very quiet. Maybe they don’t really get into singing unless there’s a capo to lead? I don’t know, but there wasn’t much by the way of sing-offs like I’d seen at every other game. They also didn’t much grasp the “you can stick your Dado Prso up your ass” chant Mike and I tried to teach them. Had a couple of Aussies congratulate us on our game the previous night, sounding confident they’d make it through to the next round. (“Say hi to the missus!” “I’m the missus!”)
Has it really only been a little over a week?