Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome back into another Happy Hour. For those of you that have not heard, Landon Donovan has been missing in action for over 3 weeks with an “undisclosed illness” and “fatigue”. I don’t know about you, but I starting to get worried. Let’s quickly examine the facts.
Lanbro is an international name in soccer. He is also a good looking cat, living in a city full of beautiful women, fresh off a divorce. When I hear thing like “fatigue” and “undisclosed illness” my mind wanders to deep dark places. What I am about to say is going to piss some people off, but I can’t be the only one who has thought it. Does Landon have the HIV, or even full blown AIDS? I mean if he does, hopefully he can get an appointment with Magic Johnson’s doctor and get that taken care of– we got a Gold Cup to win!! If we are lucky, this “undisclosed illness” is actually just the knee injury that Bruce Arena alluded to in his last press conference. Enough of the completely tasteless jokes, (let’s be honest, it’s what you read me for) and onto my take on last night’s matchup between the NY Red Bulls and DC United. Tim Ream and Juan Agudelo are good, and Thiery Henry is a beast. With that settled, it’s time to move on.
As any good soccer fan should now, the European Championships, better known as Euro 2012, will be dual-hosted by Poland and the Ukraine. For many Yanks fans, Euro 2012 is an excuse to play hooky from work and spend the hot summer days inside watching some of the world’s best players in a non-World Cup year. With no real squad to support, very few Americans make the journey across the pond to attend. I’m here to encourage you to change that. Any American soccer fan with a little extra coin and time to waste in the summer of 2012 should seriously consider exploring Eastern Europe. This has nothing to do with the level of play, or the chance to watch some of the world’s great teams. I mean- there’s that too, but whatever. This suggestion instead has everything to do with the countries, one in particular, that will be hosting the games. Before hitting you with the choice nuggs, I need to first apologize to the female fans of the Happy Hour, of which there are about seven. I am in no way a misogynist, but this piece is heavily geared toward those readers who are driven by testosterone. As long as Amy Sanders still loves me at the end, it will be ok.
When it comes to the Ukraine, I know very little. Even after spending months backpacking through Europe years ago, I did not meet a single Ukrainian. The only Ukrainian I ever knew was some jackleg exchange student who came out for the Rugby team while I was at the University of Richmond. To hear him tell it, the Ukraine is basically like the
Old American West, where gunslingers and criminals fight for the hearts and minds of the early frontier settlers. Basically, it is the epicenter of the never ending struggle between good and evil. How was my vision of Ukraine shaped this way? Glad you asked!! Apparently this exchange student learned how to speak English by watching old Jon Wayne and Clint Eastwood reruns without the subtitles. His TV was all Rossied up on the bottom of the screen and cut the subtitles off. When the team explained to the guy that “The Duke” was dead and Eastwood was nearing 100, he almost cried. While this explained why he used the word “Pilgrim” religiously, it did nothing to shape my view of what is probably a great country.
Enough with the Dynamo Kievery. The reason that Yanks fans should consider going to Euro 2012 is for the country I consider the great jewel of Eastern Europe… Poland. Having spent some time in Poland (mostly Krakow), I feel I am qualified to recommended a visit to this adult playground. Why is Poland so magical? Again, I’m thrilled you asked!
First and foremost, everything there is pretty cheap. Now I have not been in a few years, and I am sure there will be some level of price gouging near the stadiums, but nonetheless, Poland is a bargain. Although a member of the European Union, they are still on the Polish złoty. Food, beers, and hotels are all less expensive than you will find in large American cities. Speaking of the food and beers, if you can’t enjoy a nice brew and a plate full of perogies , you should never be allowed to make important decisions. But cheap food and beer is just the beginning, my friends. That’s a bonus that lays a foundation for when things get interesting.
My love of Poland comes mainly from the country’s beautiful women. I would go so far as to say that 70% of all the women under thirty in Poland are pretty damn beautiful. Yeah, they may get frumpy when they get older, but you’re not trying to find your future wife on a trip to Euro 2012. Hopefully, you are looking to make some questionable decisions. The thing that really puts these Polish women over the top is their love of American men. In order to illustrate the point, it’s time for a little story.
While taking in the nightlife in Poland, I was surprised to see just how accepted Americans where. During my time in Krakow, there were tons of little zip cars, which are basically go-carts that are disguised as cars. These babies filled the streets. After 11pm, these go-cart taxi’s had one single purpose: drive around town and look for English speakers. The assumption being that if
you hear a bunch of loud English speakers on the street at night, they probably have money to burn and a desire to get drunk. After jumping in one of these go-carts, they would take you to some crowded club, usually with a line around the block. Being the English speaker that you are, you don’t have to wait in line, you just walk right in. After being escorted to the bar by some small bouncer that would be laughed out of the building in any NYC club, the barkeep would ask you “How many bottles?”After handing over the equivalent of 50 American dollars, we ended up in a corner VIP both next to the dance floor with 4 bottles of vodka and a ton of mixers. As soon as we sat down, unstoppable waves of dime piece Polish C-Ron attacked the table. They spoke very little English, but by rubbing all over us, they managed to transcend the language barrier just fine. Clearly they were interested in us because we looked like rich Americans, but in a way it was sad, as they failed to realize that Green Cards are not located in an American dudes pants. That might actually be a stretch—who knows—maybe they just liked to party. Either way, it was pretty fantastic.
The first time this scenario unfolded, I thought I was in the movie Hostel and was going to wake up in a damp basement with torture and painful death ahead of me. Luckily, I woke up in a bed, all be it not mine, all cozy, safe and sound. Thinking that this experience could not be toped, we headed out again the next night. To our surprise, different taxi, different club, same result. Basically, Poland is my version of heaven. Yes, this all played out in a Polish college city of Krakow, but I can’t imagine other large cities hosting Euro 2012 games will play out much differently.
All this talk of Poland has got me looking into the cost of flights next summer. Maybe I will see you there.
PUCK’S FREE ADVICE:
If you have been crushing on some gorgeous women for what seems like weeks, but never had the stones to actually go up and start a conversation with her, under no circumstance should you take the advice of a friend (you know who I am talking about, TYAC Editor-In-Chief) and drunkenly stumble up to this beautiful baby and mumble, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I just want you to know, you have fantastic breasts.” While she will most likely laugh at the time, it makes for an incredible awkward second encounter.
Sorry for Partying…
Puck is the Pop Culture Guy for The Yanks Are Coming. He can be reached at Puck@yanksarecoming.com and you should follow him on Twitter at @PuckLovesPBR.