20 March 2014

Tourist Trap Tournament: Culture (or Something), Round 1

More heart-stopping thrills in Day 2 of the Tourist Trap Tournament, as competition got started in the Culture (or Something) regional. And if you're just joining us, we suggest that you start from the beginning and also fill out your own bracket so as not to miss any of the action.

Running of the Bulls (Pamplona, Spain) v Kimchi Museum (Seoul)
Mascots: Stampeding Hemingways v Fermenters

The Stampeding Hemingways, in their trademark playoff beards and red bandanas, came out strong, with energy and movement like they were being chased. The Fermenters, meanwhile, took too long to really get going, and quickly found themselves in a pickle, while the Stampeding Hemingways kept charging with a bullish optimism.

Graceland (Memphis) v Mardis Gras (New Orleans)
Mascots: Gyrating Hips v King Cakes

In a closely-watched match-up between two American favorites, the Gyrating Hips proved to be King-Cake-Eaters (or is that King Cake-Eaters?). The King Cakes showed an impressively wild style, but had a terrible time finding their famous little guy in the middle, and their famous coconut throws routinely missed their targets and fell to the ground.

Oktoberfest v Kyoto Golden Pavilion
Mascots: Drunks v Monks

It was a tale of two styles: the plastered versus the placid. The Monks showed off a refreshingly zen approach, meditative and deliberate. But no one drains ‘em like the Drunks of Oktoberfest, and in the end, they were toasting themselves after stumbling to victory thanks to their sneaky Belgian’s triple-dubbel.

Terracotta Warriors v Avenue of Stars
Mascots: Mount Li Legends v Paparazzi

The Legends are known as visually imposing but ultimately flawed defenders, their movement nonexistent, like their feet are stuck to the ground. This time, though, they lucked out by drawing an opponent who happened to be not only equally lethargic but notably vain, spending all their time posing for the cameras. The Legends got a major assist from their deep bench, the skills equal from the sixth man to the six thousandth.

Blarney Stone v International Museum of Toilets
Mascots: Kissers v Crappers

Gross. This was a tough one to watch, with the Kissers flopping all over floor and the Crappers’ #1 and #2 generating all kinds of foul problems. The Crappers had some unstoppable runs, and their truly international line-up was awash in global styles. But those legendary Kissers were coasting on a bit of residual Luck of the Irish from Saint Patrick’s Day, and they flushed the Crappers for good.

Hagia Sophia (Istanbul) v Full Moon Beach Party (many locations)
Mascots: Istan-Bulls v Glassy-Eyed Bros

What was billed as a transcendent, almost spiritual match-up turned out to be a bust, as the Istan-Bulls—formerly the Constantinoples, but that’s nobody’s business but the Turks—showed simply more staying power, more determination than the Glassy-Eyed Bros, who spent much of the competition staring at their hands and giggling. It was like comparing a chandelier and a glow-stick: no contest, really.

Phallological Museum (Reykjavik) v Wall Drug (Wall, South Dakota)
Mascots: Super Schlongs v Jackalopes

Pity the Super Schlongs—where once they were symbols of vigor and power, here they looked as lifeless as museum pieces. The Jackalopes, though, hopped all over the place, racking ‘em up and well-hydrated by their famous Free Water. Throughout the night, the Super Schlongs’ ball-handling was as impressive, but try as they might, they just couldn’t get their happy ending. [I’m so sorry. -Ed.]

Forbidden City (Beijing) v Currywurst Museum (Berlin)
Mascots: Dynasties v Saucy Sausages

Keep your 1990s Bulls and your early-Aughts Lakers—for a true dynasty, look at, well, the Dynasties. The pride of Beijing from Ming to Qing, they’re quite the Thing, with particularly strong guards. The Saucy Sausages will never get far with all the double dribbling going on, and though they do have a tendency to come back on you, the outcome of this contest was never in doubt.

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Next up: The Natural World! 

Make your picks in the comments.

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