Sunday, February 13, 2011

Our night out with the kids...and the Packers.

Through a stroke of fate, the Mister and I were in Barcelona for Super Bowl Sunday so we were able to watch the game. Being that we haven't been in the States for a long time and the only means of "watching" NFL games in Saudi is by huddling around a computer listening to the audio broadcast of the live games a la America during the Great Depression, we were stoked to soak up some seriously ridiculous American machismo.

We were well aware that we would probably be surrounded by obnoxious Americans who had bribed their wives into letting them out of the hotel room for the night to watch the Packers beat the Steelers (and Christina Aguilera botch the national anthem). We had steeled ourselves for the onslaught of random obscenities, the possible cheese head and guaranteed rounds of one-upping with stories of favorite NFL games gone by. We were ready for it, and had accepted our fate.

What can I say, there were free wings and trivia before the game.

What we weren't ready for was the onslaught of study-abroaders that were a mix of horny and homesick with a side of Europeans trying to get into the pants of a drunk American study abroad girl who had just come to the bar because there was nothing better to do with her Sunday night. But that's exactly what we got.

We had to reserve our seats ahead of time, and being that it was a small bar and we were only two people, we were put at a table with strangers. We were the first at our table to arrive, so when the strangers stumbled in and saw two old people sitting in the places they'd expected their new BFF of 3 weeks to be, we were front and center for the wave of disappointment that washed over all of their faces.

No matter. We had just as much right to be at that table as they had. Plus I like to think we're pretty interesting people, so all we needed to do was strike up a conversation and they'd realize that their night wasn't totally ruined.

That's where the hitch was. It's literally impossible to start a conversation with a person who sits 2 feet away from you on the shared banquette and then turns his body completely away from you so you just stare awkwardly at the cowlick on the back of his head. And you might as well not try to look past him and make eye contact with the other people in his group, because they're glaring you down and clearly talking about you in hushed tones to the other angry 20 somethings around them.

It was like I had B.O. or something. The Mister wasn't having any luck on this side of the table either. He had the chairs, and the girl next to him didn't even try to angle her chair slightly in his direction.


A word to the wise for all study abroad American college students out there: don't be total pinheads. There are interesting people in places other than America, so engage in conversations with strangers. Just don't go home with them and you'll make your mommy proud.

Eventually, after copious amounts of greasy wings and a few drinks, the kids warmed up to us. That and the fact that our story was way cooler than "we're just on vacation."

A few of the things that only viewers outside the US got to enjoy:
  • No American commercials. Biggest. let down. of. the. night. I seriously only watch the Super Bowl for the commercials. Because the game was aired on Sky Sports, a British satellite channel, they couldn't show the American commercials. Instead we got lame Tesco adverts and shots of Brits pretending to know what was going on in the bar they'd stumbled into. Seriously at one point before the halftime show, they interviewed a guy in a Vikings jersey. Too soon, dude. Too soon.

  • The creepy Spaniards that either thought they were going to watch a soccer match, or thought they were going to be waking up in a girl's dorm bed the next day. Neither of which became a reality. Hey guys, it doesn't matter how many drinks they've had, American girls don't think it's charming when you ask "What's the name of the team in the green?" or "Why do they call it football when they don't use their feet?" Especially during the Super Bowl.

  • The time difference. The game started at midnight, Barcelona time. It didn't end until 4 am. Apparently bars in Barcelona have to close at 2:30, so we got locked into the bar and were told we could not leave. A dream come true for every American college sophomore ever.

All in all, we did end up having a good time, and we got a good dose of Americana to last us at least a few more weeks.

Vicariously yours,

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