Most people in South America don’t know a lot about Belgium. They generally know we have the best beer in the world – and if they hesitate between German and Belgian beer, I make sure there is no doubt left on the subject -, sometimes they know we have very good chocolate and they have also heard about Bruges. But they hardly know any famous Belgians.
Lucas asked me if I could name one or two. I tried Jacques Brel, Hercule Poirot, Stromae, Manneken Pis, Elio Di Rupo, Justine Henin, Kim Clijsters… But none of them seemed to ring any bell. Maybe Jean-Claude Van Damme? Nope. Tintin seemed to be there somewhere in the memory but not quite. As a last resort I asked: “los Pitufos?” – the Smurfs? Spot on. The most well-known Belgians are fictive little blue men. A few days later, Belgium was to play against Argentina in the World Cup. I wished that at least the colour of the little men would turn to red. But as we all know, that just didn’t happen.
The day of the 1/4 final game, I got invited to an asado by Romi, another couchsurfer I had contacted in Puerto Madryn. My hosts would never have hoped to have a Belgian in their house for the occasion. Of course, we had quite the opposite reactions on what was happening. When I was shouting “Come ooooon”, they were shouting “no waaaaay” and vice versa. My home country lost. But I had great food and made a bunch of new friends. So who cares about football anyway?