Devils and smurfs

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.

Smurfs and football. These are not Belgians though. They're British. Supporters of a team called Hartlepool.
Smurfs and football. These are not Belgians though. They’re British. Supporters of a team called Hartlepool.

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?

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