When I disclose that I am from Germany, I am always asked about soccer, cars or Nazis. Sometimes, I would rather pretend that I am from Lithuania or some other little known country.
But in Peru, I had a new “Ah, you’re from Germany” experience.
In a vegetarian restaurant that takes animal welfare as seriously as Peruvian politicians take the fight against corruption, I order rocoto filled with minced meat.
While I am waiting, Ivan joins me at the sturdy wooden table. He has a beard like Lenin, hair like Bob Ross, and he is wearing shorts and trekking shoes. He seems to be working in the restaurant or helping out or just always around.
As soon as he learns where I’m from, he blurts out:
“Ah, like Gunter Hampel!”
Oh dear, no idea for what team he is playing.
“And Reinhard Giebel!”
Hm, never heard of him before.
With increasing enthusiasm, Ivan comes up with more names: Toto Blanke, Hans Koch, Werner Lüdi.
Typical names of soccer players, but none of them rings a bell. Maybe I should read a soccer magazine once a year, so I can have at least a little chat about the subject.
I’m about to apologize for my sporting ignorance, but impetuous Ivan continues already: “Germany is the leading nation in Jazz! Not France. Not the USA. What you are pulling off over there, it’s incredible!”
The filled rocoto is as spicy as a burning volcano. Ivan notices my pain and gets a large jug of lemonade for the ignorant German.