Flashback to Iran. Everyone is great. The most hospitable people I have met in my life. Unexpected invitations to people`s homes and peeks into their family lives are sometimes so overwhelming that we are at a loss for words.
But of course there is the one idiotic exception that leaves us speechless in a slightly different way.
“My son is a big fan of Hitler”, said our couchsufing host.
Antonio and I looked uncomfortably at each other, not quite sure we heard correctly.
“He likes history a lot. Especially everything about Germany. He is a big fan of Hitler.”
This little bomb was dropped casually during an otherwise amicable conversation about our lives and interests besides cycling and diving. History for me, of course.
Feeling this would not be a subject we would bond well over, I tried to quickly change the course of the conversation. No succes. Our host disappeared into his sons bedroom and came back with a small bronze colored bust of the man himself.
Awkward. I think I might have mumbled “Nice” in an attempt not to offend our host.
At this point I should probably mention that the son in question was 12 years old and cuddling in bed with his mother who was scheduled for surgery the next day. Our host was a friendly middle aged university professor who had taken us out for dinner the evening before, let us stay in his home and let us do laundry.
What do you say in a situation like that?!
Of course a twelve year old doesn`t become a big Hitler fan spontaneously all by himself, and he certainly wouldn`t have bought the statuette with his own pocket money. Some responsibility (blame?) can definitely be put on the father in this case, who by all accounts was such a friendly, polite, hospitable and educated man.
Should I have started a discussion? Get angry and offended and walk away? I feel bad about not saying anything, but what would you have done?
I seriously want to know because even six weeks later I am still not sure about what I should have done.