Sunday, April 09, 2006

Happy Mainzer German-American Friendship Day!

Boy, what treats were laid out all over the center of Mainz today as Germans and Americans gathered together to celebrate our mutual relationship. This special holiday, rumored to be a PR smoothing response to the virtual lockdown suffered in Mainz when GWB himself came to visiting in 2005, displays the best qualities of our relationship with each other. From our perspective spending the afternoon hours walking through Mainz, here are the top 7 reasons why Germans and Americans have continued to buddy up over the years:

7) Balloons. They were all over Mainz today. And I'm not talking about hottish air-filled ones that offer rides and land on farms touting bottles of wine, I mean the classic child-don't-let-me-go-cause-I'll-look-super-sad-floating-away-from-you-in-the-sky sort of balloon. Bulbously inflated rubber...very popular today in commemoration of friends.

6) Beer. Yet again, the beer carts were set up again schlogging out brew to the masses. Man, after a straight hour hanging out by one of these, I couldn't tell who was American and who was German. I even thought I was in Boston for a while.

5) Processed meats. People here are usually pretty conscientious of their schnitzel wielding, but for some reason if you throw a hot dog into the grips of a Mainzer local, you set yourself up to be, upon walking collision, slothered with ketchup and bun. Perhaps it was the city-wide fervor towards the ideals of friendship, but you had to be careful out there on the streets today. Hot Dog Stands EVERYWHERE.

4) Signs proclaiming our bond. These witty graffiti artists and poster-makers have developed the eye-catching "F! Bush!" as a shortened version of the popular slogan, "Friend! Bush!"

3) Cars. Dealers' wares were parked all around the Altstadt, including German, American, and French manufacturers. Perhaps the most interesting were the Hollywood Cars, which allowed us to see our first stretch limo since arriving to D-land. If you need a US-Police Car or a NYC Taxi to take you to your international school's prom, well, this is the place.

2) Military Demonstrations: The local Air Force Base's choral group was on stage in the central courtyard, belting out such hits as Thriller and Shout. They were, actually, fun to watch. The area around the Dom was packed with people singing along. The Chorus was even cheered out for an encore. After that, the local Mainzer breakdancing crew spun out to some beats, accompanied by what appeared to be a group of American military officer's daughters-as-background-dancers. We clapped thunderously, if only for the looming scandal.

1) Okay, seriously. I have plenty of friends who are pretty special to me, and it's not like once a year I go up to one, throw them a hot dog, and sing the boogie woogie blues before telling 'em how much they mean to me. Gleason, how weird would that be? And it looks like the people of Mainz agree. Thousands of people were wandering around, merely excited to be allowed to shop! on a Sunday (Palm Sunday, nonetheless). Yes yes, if that's not representative of us heathens 'cross the Atlantic, what is? But for the most part, everyone was walking around with a look on their face as if to say, was machen wir hier?

Wir kaufen unsere Freunde, wir kaufen.


In other news, D and I are flying off tomorrow to Italy for touring and sport. First, we visit (or re-visit) Venice, and then we're down to Rimini as I'm playing in my first Paga with the local German club team. We'll try our best to get online at some point and upload some pictures. If not, expect a full report after our return on the 18th.


Blogger j said...

I should add... there were more American flags flying today than there are everyday German flags. Granted, today shown every star and stripe matched with the schwarz, gelb, und rot, but it was still a little strange walking around.

10:59 PM

Blogger d said...

yeah, I really enjoyed German-American Friendship day, but there was a distinct air of "what on earth is going on?" After all, the American army is still regarded as an "occupying force" by many Germans.

And just to clarify--Bush's visit to Mainz caused a bit of ill will among many Mainzer residents. Not only did everyone have to stay inside (can you imagine Americans putting up with that if Chancellor Merkel came to visit?), but when Bush then went on to Bratislava the next day, he was allowed to "mingle with the people." This did not exactly make some Germans happy.

11:20 PM


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