World Cup Fever

The World Cup starts next week in Germany. Everywhere you look these days you see the official World Cup logo. It is all everybody is talking about. Tickets are a hot commodity and extremely hard to come by. They are also non-transferable unless you want to pay a 10? transfer fee for each ticket. Say you spent hundreds of Euros on tickets and you for some reason can’t make it. Tough. You can’t hand them off to your buddy. It is all very bureaucratic, which for Germany is fitting.

I remember the last one 4 years ago and people in Germany were flipping way out. Every time Germany won there were large groups of drunk people roaming the streets, shouting, singing and waving the German flag. More than usual I mean. Like when the Dallas Cowboys won the Superbowl x10. I found that interesting. Because of Germany’s history, many of her citizens have an ambivalent attitude towards patriotism. They may claim that it is not a German character trait and that they don’t understand this national pride that Americans have. Why should they be proud? It doesn’t make sense. Ohhh, but just you wait buddy until their team makes it to the World Cup Final. You’ll see all kinds of patriotism. Flag waving, National anthem singing (just the tune, because nobody knows the words, nobody), etc, etc. I can only imagine how insane it could get if Germany hosts the games AND makes it to the final.

Somebody also found it necessary to dra up a set of rules for wives and partners.

Me? I might watch a few games and cheer my team on but I won’t be getting into it that much. This is why I am somewhat relieved that I will be out of the country for the first half of the tournament. Of course I’ll be in Rome and the Italians are not known for their calm demeanor when it comes to Calcio, so it doesn’t matter. Some bloggers will be right in the thick of it though.

Last night was a warm-up game between Germany and Japan. Jens and I went to watch it in a local bar. There was a very international crowd there. I ate a very poor German attempt at a burrito. It ended up 2:2.

There is also some controversy here about what would happen if Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad decides to attend one of his national team’s games. German Chancellor Merkel has extended an invitation to him to attend. In Germany there is freedom of speech and expression with very few exceptions and, as far as I know, almost all of them have to do with Germany’s nazi past and the Holocaust. For example, it is a crime here to deny that the Holocaust happened. Ahmadinejad has done just that on more than one occasion and has called for the destruction of Israel. As you can imagine, this is a touchy subject in Germany. Now a diplomatic problem could arise if Ahmadinejad decides to express these opinions while on German soil. A foreign dignitary knowingly commits a crime in his host country. Should he have diplomatic immunity? Should he be arrested? Should he be charged and or fined? Would he be that stupid in the first place? What if (and here is a long stretch of the imagination, I know) Iran and the USA make it to the final? Ahmadinejad and George Dumbass Bush would have to sit next to each other. That would be rich.

Update: Apparently Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not coming. Crisis averted. Whew!