First up — gotta plug my latest espnW content: My report from Japan-New Zealand, featuring the almost-overconfident Ferns and my second video from Berlin, opening with a joke about one of Julie Foudy’s prior endorsement deals.
Bochum. I used to pronounce it “BO-kum.” Excuse me — “BEAU-kum.”
But as I get used to listening to German, I’ve started to adopt some affectations. So it’s slowly morphing into “BO-khum.” Or “BO-(phlegmy sound)m.”
Some might say that’s appropriate. Bochum doesn’t have the best reputation as a tourist destination. In my Lonely Planet guide to Germany, it’s fully covered in two pages. On a Kindle. That’s like Earth’s entry in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: “Mostly harmless.”
Basically, it has a cool mining demonstration and a cluster of bars with a wild party scene. That’s about it.
As I looked out from my 13th-floor window at the sunset at 10:30 p.m. — somehow, I didn’t realize we were in the Arctic — I saw a few nice neighborhoods and a pretty steeple. Off in the distance, a few miles apart on the horizon, are a wind turbine and a nuclear reactor. And the gummy treats left on my bed are shaped like nuclear reactors. Other than that, I didn’t had a chance to see much else other than the stadium and the train station.
I do wish I had eaten dinner at McDonald’s rather than the hotel restaurant. The meal was fine, but they seemed a little agitated that someone insisted on eating at 8:45 even though they’re open until 10.
But say this for Bochum — I bumped into several people eager to chat. I have a tendency to wear my credential everywhere — at the Olympics, you pretty much have to, and I feel lost without it. Especially because it’s also my rail pass. A couple of people at the stadium tram stop saw it and struck up conversations about the games and the cities on my itinerary.
So on the whole, I’ll stand up for Bochum. Obviously, parts of it are pretty, and parts aren’t. The city center is kind of like Ballston (Arlington, Va.) except that you can go more than two directions on the trains.
The novelty of seeing U.S. movies and TV shows dominating the German airwaves has worn off. I watched something with Ray Liotta being systematically beaten up in a “Prisoner”-type scenario that probably made even less sense in English. I am a little sad that I missed Phineas und Ferb. “Hey! Wo ist Perry!”
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