French Football and German Beer CoastersDate: Sun, 16 Aug 1998 10:23:32 -0700 (PDT)
From: k p firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Achtung! Beers must be placed on coasters
The trip continued as I woke up late on Saturday and hung around the patio with fellow hostlers looking for a good time. My best offer was to go to Sacré Couer, a famous old church on top of a hill, with a Welsh brother and sister and their old family friend. She was a cute little 23-year old Frenchwoman with a pierced belly button, tight parachute pants (I am willing to overlook her fashion choice in this instance because I could just look at her belly button and forget about the 80s) and one of those sexy accents where she pronounces her 'th's' as an f. ("Zat will be firteen francs").
We walked up the big hill to Sacre Couer in very hot sun, passing a fine collection of marvelous cobblestone streets and charming little stucco apartments with different color shutters marred by graffiti and far too many tourists. Instead of getting upset, we found a shade tree right in front of the church with a fabulous view of Paris and fell asleep.
Upon awaking, we quickly paraded through the dark church whispering catholic jokes and confessing all our sins. Then it was back to the shade tree again. After a break, we walked down the stairs and I asked a random Frenchman to take a picture of the four of us with the international symbol of tourists wanting a photo: I stuck the camera in his face and said "Une photo, s'il vous plait?" He still seem confused, and soon showed that he was not the brightest croissante in Paris.
Behind us was this gorgeous view of city rooftops, but he insisted on turning our backs away from the view and standing against this boring tall stone wall covered with graffiti. I was too surprised to say anything, so we smiled apprehensively. I figure I can show the picture to people and say "You can only imagine the view we had while posing for this photo!"
Famished, we searched for a restaurant. The Welsch duo (brother and sister) managed to lead us past all the charming bistros and find a small, noisy fast food joint filled with smoke and the exhaust of tour buses idiling outside the "restaurant." I hadn't eaten that much grease since Amsterdam.
From there we split up with Celine (who I invited to America, though she seemed to have unusually strong feelings against America that IŽve never seen in another French person) with left-right-left cheek kisses, and metroed back to the Hostel. A few rounds of beer later, an international group consisting of 2 Welsh, 1 Australian, 1 Chilean and 2 Americans (one annoying, one me) to Le Match de Football.
It was an amazing atmosphere for soccer. This was the first home game of the team after the French had won the World Cup. They were ready to rumble. Two whole sections of the stands on each goal were filled with flag-waving, drum-beating, French-curse-screaming Frenchmen. Interestingly, they've borrowed the word "Wanker" from the British to describe the opposition team. They, of course, pronounce it "whank-airre" (please roll the R when reading that last passage). They also were beating drums and singing songs all match, which was a pretty impressive feat for a group of people who never put their cigarettes down.
Paris St. Germain scored an ugly goal in the first half, but it brought the place to a standing ovation. A beautiful safety goal in the second half by Italian national and PSG star Simone brought even more cheers, including right after the goal "Aussi, Simon-e" which either means "Again Simone" or "Simone is a dirty Italian, but since he scores goals for us, we'll let him play."
Toward the end of the match, a bullhorn in the rabid cheering section close to us was pointed in our general direction and, apparently, was used to to hurl insults at us. I know this because everyone in our section started to jeer and give the cheering section le finger. No translation is needed for that symbol.
We went home, inspired, and played football in the street by the hostel until we all decided that drinking beer would be a better pursuit. Afer a couple of rounds of Guiness in honor of the Welsch (well, the're pretty close to Ireland) I said drunken goodbyes to the Welsh and the Aussie--address exchanges with all three of them, so I think IŽll tour both Wales and Australia next year in 17 days--and then an annoying alarm clock woke me up at 6:00 a.m. to catch a train to Munich.
I'm composing the e-mail here in the "Times Square Cafe" annoying all the waiters by not putting my beer back on the coaster. It's pretty funny. In the 30 minutes I've been checking and writing e-mail, at least three waiters have had their German sense of order and cleanliness offended enough to come over, grab my beer and put it on the coaster. I finally put the coaster in my pocket, just to see what would happen. Of course, they just brought another.
On the way over here from my hotel, I had the nerve to actually walk across an intersection when THE DON'T WALK SIGN WAS ON!!!! It's amazing to see a bunch of Germans waiting for the light to change when the closest car is in Austria, travelling south.
Anyway, that's the latest. Tomorrow is a 4-hour bike tour of Munich, a search for Birkenstocks and hopefully a visit or two to some Beergardens. That is, if the light ever changes.
Bye from Munich.