Monday, 14 June 2010

Of vuvuzelas and V8s

What an awesome weekend!

Friday's opening soccer match of the World Cup between South Africa and Mexico had us all on the edge of our seats. The 1-1 draw was probably the best result for TSC and I, seeing we had two Mexicans staying with us ;-) At least relations were still friendly. I'd have loved our Bafana to win though, obviously.

Saturday turned out to be far more exciting than expected - we headed to the FIFA ticketing centre to see if we could still get tickets for any of the games, now that we have a better idea of what our guests are up to and when we will be free.

We managed to get Premier Tickets for the Nigeria / Argentina game at Ellis Park that afternoon. They cost a fortune, but we figured it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so we took the plunge and let our poor credit card take a beating.

In the afternoon, we travelled with our two Mexicans to the stadium, us wearing our SA kit (TSC insisted on wearing his Springbok jersey in support of the Boks, but he did let me paint our flag on his cheek) and them wearing their Mexican wrestling masks. While we drove we listened to the Afrikaans radio commentary of the Boks thrashing the French rugby team. The commentator was getting very excited when Gurtho Steenkamp charged down the field to score a try. The Mexicans obviously had no idea what was potting and asked us if Gurtho Steenkamp was some sort of rude phrase. We said yes, in a manner of speaking. If you're French, it is ;-)

It took us ages to get to the Park and Walk facilities at Athlone Boys' School. We walked almost 2km to the stadium, which I thought was great fun - families came out into the street to blow vuvuzelas and cheer on the groups walking to Ellis Park and enterprising locals tried to sell flags, vuvuzelas and other paraphernalia.

At the stadium, I stopped to paint South African flags on the cheeks of some Japanese visitors before we made our way to our box / suite. When we got there we discovered that we had no seats. Either FIFA oversold the seats available, or people had climbed into our box from the one adjacent, but there was nowhere for us to sit.

We were furious, having paid a huge sum for the tickets. Thankfully, there were two seats available in the box next to ours, which was filled with Nigerian fans. A kind Nigerian gentleman named Andrew let us sit next to him. When he invited us into their box at half-time for a drink and snacks, we realised (on seeing the bodyguards) that we were in the Nigerian presidential box!

Thank you, Andrew, whomever you may be. You saved our game.

It was another nail-biting game. We blew our vuvuzela until we were light-headed and cheered Nigeria on. Unfortunately, the hooligans from Argentina tried to hang one of their banners in front of our seats, but the police came along and took it down, putting an end to the fight (which was about to get physical) between the Nigerians and the Argentinians.

The game, as I'm sure most of you know, ended 1-0 to the Argentinian side.

We said goodbye to the Nigerians we'd met, after stopping to help them take photos of the group, met up with the Mexicans, walked back to the school, sat for 30min trying to get out of the parking field and headed to Nandos for supper.

Apparently our cricket team also performed well against the Windies, but aside from watching the game live, my favourite part of the weekend was last night's Grand Prix, which was epic. Not a single boring lap and my boys from McLaren came in first and second (and in the order I prefer). We watched with our Italian neighbours at our place, having taken the Mexicans to the airport for their two-day Cape Town joint.

What a cool weekend. Hope yours was good too!


Damaria Senne said...

Sounds like a lovely, if eventful time. Glad the Nigerians made your game:-)

Shayne said...

How fabulous that you went to a game - even tho you had to scrounge for seats. I wonder if many people have experienced the same?

I can only imagine how awesome the vibe must have been. Yay to SA for pulling this off.

po said...

EEEE those masks are somehwat intimidating. Sounds like a (vuvuzela) blast!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you had loads of fun!

Slyde said...

i REALLY try to like and understand soccer... it just doesnt do it for me..

DBAWIW said...

Cool pic...which one is you? ;-)

Helen said...

awesome! I'm so keen to go to a game once it warms up a bit! I'm loving the way the (generally) people don't seem to mind if other people support different teams, they all just want to enjoy it. And now you get to say you almost know the president of nigeria!

Anonymous said...

Sound awesome. Poof to the ticket sellers for your seat but WHAT a GREAT consolation prize!!! I really love the openness everyone is having to everyone else. Its GREAT.

BecauseIcan said...

Sounds like you have the #gees!