Andrew and Donna's Road to the World Cup

Friday, June 16, 2006

Tuesday, June 13, 2006: An Iranian-Swede, some friendly Germans, and some clueless Americans – Next stop, Hannover

Today’s task list had one bullet: get to Hannover, our launch pad for the next four days. Even so, I told Donna that that didn’t mean that I was content to spend the entire day getting from A to B because really, Hannover is not that far from Duisburg.

The trip required two trains and a metro. We found ourselves on the smoking wagon of the first train, across the aisle from one another. The fellow next to Donna in a Brasil jersey seemed to be equally uncomfortable with the smoking and let out a series of pathetic coughs after two seconds or so. Donna started the unlikely friendship by kindly offering him a cough drop. We learned that our friend came from Sweden, originally was from Iran, but supported Brasil. We have a name for this type: glory hunter. He told us about his experience cheering for Iran in the midst of a Mexican section. I told him we were no big fans of the Mexicano futbolitos and he laughed and said it was probably one of the few things Iranians and Americans could agree on. The slogan for the FIFA World Cup 2006 is ‘A Time to Make Friends’.

In addition to our new Iranian-Swede friend, we were glad to make some German friends during the last leg of our trip. What we could’ve easily mistaken for an overly nosy German woman on the metro quickly became a hero. She seemed to be staring at the printout of the hotel information that Donna was clasping while she expressed her concerns to us in German. We were clueless. The only thing we took away from her desperate attempts at communication was that she hadn’t spoken English in 35 years. This lady would not give up though. She called down the half-empty train, looking for someone who spoke English and German. An older gentleman stepped forward and after the lady talked to him for a minute, told us we needed to get off the train because we were going in the wrong direction. Unlike Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, they did know where we were going. For some reason, they thought we were half-retarded or something and proceeded to make the motion of walking down stairs, under the train station and up the other side for no less than five minutes just to reiterate. I don’t blame them. We said about ten dankes before disembarking. This is just another of the many experiences we’ve had that debunks the prevailing idea that Americans are treated badly in Europe.

(The train station where we turned around)

Thanks to our German friends, we made it to our hotel at the Hannover airport or Flughafen before 4. We checked into our comfortable room and got some R&R knowing we had an early morning train ride in our near future.

Just a side note from Donna: I had to take a picture of this word. I think it means exit, but in English, it is a bit too close to something else and continues to crack me up. I realize it is a bit childish, but what can you do?

Andrew 1:17 PM


Hey genious...Sares told us that it meant gas station. But then again you did always fall asleep to her speeches. "Her voice is just so soothing." Ha ha.
Hey Drew and Donna...whatever Ausfahrt means...Sonnie and I were quite moved. I meant...not like that...just in how funny it was! Thanks for sharing!

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