Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Hey Former Soviet Republics, You're Welcome

Peter King is really far away, meaning he gets to demonstrate the scope of his ignorance on anything non-NFL.

Specifically, he's on some USO trip to pump up tha souljaz. If I were stuck dealing with Afghani opium lords, the last person in the world I'd want to see jiggling up the road towards me is PK, but neither here nor there.

On the way from Istanbul to this military outpost...defensive lineman Luis Castillo of the San Diego Chargers pulled out...the in-flight magazine. He started looking at the world map, with the routes that Turkish Airlines flies. "Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan,'' he said in amazement. "Who's ever heard of these places?''

I'd say 75% of the general population, and 100% of people who've watched Borat.

Travel is cool, particularly going to places you've never been before and likely never will go again. I mean, ever hear your kids say, "Hey, let's go to Kyrgyzstan instead of Disneyland this year?''


Amazing culture change when we land in this breakaway Russian republic. The airport employees speak Russian and look almost Mongolian -- a cross between Russian and Chinese. The writing on the walls and the airport is Russian. We're not in Russia, but only the map indicates that.

A) Not a Russian Republic. B)You say a cross between Russian and Chinese because you know you're somewhere between those two.

"Where are we? Russia?'' I said.

Stop it, you're not in Russia.

To the six or eight of you who e-mailed to mention how I'd love Green Beans Coffee over here, you are right. With an exclamation point. As I sit here with a triple grande latte (damn good, too), I feel like I could be in a suburb of Spokane, not halfway across the world in a land straddling Russian and Chinese culture.

It's reeeeeeeeeeeeeally not that surprising. You're not strolling the fucking streets, you're in an American Army base. Boring "omg, look at the globalization!" stories suck at the best of times, but this one doesn't even count. And for the last time, they're not fucking Sino-Russo-halfbreeds.

There's some stuff about everyone being happy, which is nice. One paragraph starts:

Football is so big to so many of these people.

The next paragraph starts:

"Football is so big to all of us,'' Lance told me.

Peter King, professional journalist everyone.

As we check in to eat, Stars and Stripes Mideast Edition is laying in a pile near the reception desk. "PACKING IT IN" is the headline on the back page. "After years of speculation, Green Bay's Favre retires" said the subhead.

When we sit down to eat, TVs all over the dining hall are replaying an abridged version of SportsCenter on Armed Forces Network. It's all Favre all the time.

Where are we? Afghanistan or Atlanta?

Peter, this can't possibly surprise you. It's AN AMERICAN MILITARY BASE. I promise you, if you talk to 20000 actual Afghanis, you will get no Favre all the time.

All that said, I love to think that Peter King thinks he thinks (see what I did there) people in Afghanistan watch SportsCenter.

No comments: