If you’re just stopping by, this is a series of posts surrounding the World Cup. I pick a country each day from that day’s match schedule and talk about where I’d like to visit if I ever find myself within that country’s borders. Please feel free to offer other suggestions – especially when it comes to local eateries – or share your own experiences.
I know nothing about Algeria.
This is the tenth-largest nation on the planet. Nearly thirty-eight million people live there. The list of dynasties and empires that have rolled through Algeria is a Who’s Who of names you remember but cultures you don’t from that one year in high school you were forced to take World History and spent 3/4 of the year studying the European Theater of World War II: Numidians, Phoenecians, Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, Arab Umayyads, Arab Abbasids, Arab Fatimids, Berber Almoravids, Berber Almohads, Turkish Ottomans, and the French.
The Golden Ass was written in Algeria. You know, the book you read sophomore year in college which you remember because it was the one where the donkey has sex with the woman and not as a foundational text of the picaresque genre.
Albert Camus was born in Algeria. You know him from your junior level Philosophy class, by which point you had figured out you don’t have to read the books your Philosophy professor assigns because your Philosophy professor is your Philosophy professor because they love to tell you what to think, so you just take semi-decent notes and regurgitate their thoughts back to them in a half-assed essay.
As for movies, you distinctly remember The Living Daylights, Naked Lunch, The Adventures of Tintin, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Ishtar, Highlander III, and, of course, Casablanca were all set in Algeria’s capital city of Algiers. Except they weren’t. They were all set in Morocco, not Algeria. But nice try.
All of that history, all of those people, all those dynasties, and I know almost nothing specific about any of it.
And that’s why I like to travel.
The Travel Box
World Cup 2014 Ranking of Me Wanting to Visit: #21 (out of 32)
Positive: It’s location next to the Mediterranean Sea.
Weakness: I’d probably be so enamored with Algiers I wouldn’t get to the rest of the country.
Local Food I’d Most Like to Try: Asida.
Fun Historical Fact: The African Handball Nations Championship was held in Algiers in 1989 and 2001.
The Men’s National Soccer Team Box
Nickname: The Fennec Foxes
Association: CAF (Confederation of African Football)
First World Cup Appearance: 1982
Total World Cup Appearances: 4
Best World Cup Appearance: Round 1, 1982, 1986, 2010
African Cup of Nations Champions: 1 time: 1990
Now, as for where I’d like to visit:
The Sporting Location: Stade 5 Juillet 1962
The Wildlife Location: Belezma National Park
The Historic/Tourist Location: Hippo Regius