So this last week, my cousin surprised me by flying in from Switzerland. Having traveled the world myself (see my puerto rico, haiti or china fanposts), I felt it was important to share as much as i could about my life here during the time we were allotted. I was able to take a 1/2 day off from work on Wednesday and gave to him what I call a #typicalUSAexperience (shameless self plug, follow me on twitter Coryferrier1 ) haha. My goal was to immerse him in as much stereotypical American activities as possible. Obviously, this included basketball (I work out / manage / run camps for several NBA guys on the side)... Before I get to the actual Blazer game, I must share our day.
Experience 1: food. We had grand plans of visiting the foodcarts downtown, but unfortunately I didn't want to wait / eat / drown in the rain. Instead I took him for a traditional USA meal, Thai food. lol. Arawan, one of my favs.
Experience 2: Voodoo Donuts. Just like the non-USA perception, we wash down our healthy meals with sugar. In this case, sugar and bacon. He laughed at me as I ordered (why the hell are there lines at Voodoo on a weekday around 2pm??? don't people work?) the maple bar with bacon as he ordered the plain cake with some frosted cereal. I feel he took one step closer to becoming American.
Experience 3: shopping. I took him to Nike downtown (ps. he is a huge Adidas supporter, football / soccer influence I assume) and a few of my favorite "local" stores that share both a sense of culture and edginess. This included Upper Playground and Lizard Lounge. Check out both if you have not.
Experience 4: Brewery / Pubs. Being from Europe, I assumed he would like to see a pub / brewery here. I took him to Henrys Tavern, just to show how many beers they have on tap (100 if you are counting) and the ice ring thing that surrounds the bar top to put your drink on to keep it cold. He thought that was pretty neat.
Experience 5: Dinner / Transportation. So for dinner, I took him to Kells Irish Pub. I thought he would appreciate seeing a "typical american irish bar" and where we pretend to watch football / rugby. True to reputation, they did have several matches playing and it was a great environment. His dad works for UEFA back in Europe, so he was explaining to me how pathetic our MLS is. a subject for another day lol. We then headed the free double decker bus, sponsored by Kells, to head to the Blazer Game. He did engage with a couple of cougars on the bus. Well done.
Experience 6: NBA Game. So I must tell you, I really wanted to get an unbiased reaction to our sport of basketball from him. So I didn't talk about our team prior or talk about the other nba guys I work with. I wantws his pure unfiltered opinion on our sport / team. He provided me with some great take aways and gems. They are as follows:
THanks I hope you enjoyed!
- During the game there is so much happening. There is never a dull moment. from the dancers, to timeout activities, to the blimp and wells fargo parachute things, the action never dies. From the basketball perspective, he thought the "24-second shot clock" was pure genius. "it gives the game the flow"
- National Anthem - this would never happen in Switzerland. It would be perceived as being "too nationalist"
- #5 - "boy that #5 is good. He orchestrates the entire team, helps rebound and can shoot. he is probably their best player! am i wrong?
- those parachute things - we caught one and let me tell you, next time you have the opportunity to catch one, blow it away. its a burden. you have to go to an info booth and only way to do this is during the game, unless you want to wait in line. next your prize is some remake crap hat that legally the rose garden cannot sell.
- "the pure physicality of the sport was amazing. the force they were dunking the ball was incredible."
- My cousin was laughing at our "french" saying that went around the rose garden when Batum hits a 3pointer. I think he was also trying to yell at Johan Petro, who is also from France. Man, how I would love to speak another language.
- side note, his sister (who obviously is also my cousin) came with us as well. She recognized "Kim Kardashian's ex".... haha gotta love american reality shows.