Peanuts and football save the day in Germany


A recent trip to Germany was a sobering reminder of how far American influence has slipped in foreign countries in recent years.

My memories of Europe go back to a trip in the early 1980s. At that time American made cars, clothes, TV shows, even cigarettes were all the rage. This trip, not a Chevy, pair of Wrangler jeans, or pack of camels was anywhere to be found.

Not reading the fine print of my airline ticket meant I couldn’t come home a day early, so I spent a Saturday night at the Radisson Bleu hotel in Cologne, Germany.

Feeling a little un-American and a bit homesick to boot, I took my laptop computer to the bar of the Radisson Bleu, tapped into their free wi-fi and tuned in the Georgia-South Carolina football game.

Wanting to feel more American, I stocked up with the only U.S. made product I could find—a can of Planters peanuts. The local beer, Dom, was more than an adequate replacement for anything American brewed.

So, headphones on, Planters peanuts in hand, I cheered for both teams, much to the amusement of a hundred or so soccer fans who couldn’t buy tickets for the German Industrial League finals, which was going on across the street from the hotel.

The soccer fans fueled up on Dom beer, radishes and assorted other disgusting bar foods and sang and chanted while watching the action on big screen TV.  I enjoyed my peanuts and the best vestige of America I could find—ESPN and SEC football.

When the game ended—about 11 p.m. German time—I headed upstairs to pack for home. Rather than focusing on the nine and a half hour flight back to Atlanta, I left Germany thinking about putting on a comfortable pair of Wranglers, putting the top back on my Ford Mustang and listening to Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow sing ‘I found your picture today”.

Now, I’m curious to know if any other American travelers have noticed the same lack of our influence—for better or worse—in other countries.

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