Thursday, September 23, 2010

Travel Thursday: South Africa Day 4

Enough of the family drama and the no electricity and all of that foolishness. Back to the highlight of my summer: South Africa.

We had Day 4 planed out before we got to South Africa. In the morning, we would head to Rosebank, where we would go to the African Craft Market. In the evening, we had the Brazil vs Côte d'Ivoire match at Soccer City.

The day worked out exactly as planned. We took a cab to the African Craft Market. It is right outside of a mall and, like any craft market you'd go to in any country, it was totally crazy and filled with vendors handing you their goods or asking you to step inside of their stall or whatever. Typical.

We bought a lot. Jewelry. A few vuvuzelas (you know, those buzzing horns that annoyed everyone who was watching the games on TV). We admired scarves and animals carved out of wood. We bought a few gifts for others and a few more gifts for ourselves. And, at one point, we ran out of Rand and I had to find an ATM machine inside the mall while Meg stood at a stand with her hands full of bracelets for all of our cousins.

When we were through, we went into the mall for a quick lunch at a European-style cafe. The first game of the day was on TV and we had a quick, satisfying lunch. Since we the game we were attending didn't start until 8:30 pm, we had a little bit more time to kill and decided to stroll the mall.

And, then we got to the top floor. And - OMG. The African Craft Market is upstairs, too. And, like, 50 times the size of what is downstairs.

So we bought more.

I got a totebag for Colleen and a pair of flip flops for Lucy and...hmmm...I can't really remember anything else I bought upstairs. Maybe that was it. Whatever I bought, it was MORE on top of A LOT and, ahhhhh, I love shopping. I really do.

When we were all shopped out, we went back to the hotel with very little time to spare. We were actually supposed to leave for the game at 4:30 pm (traffic to Soccer City was always brutal, on top of a long walk from the parking lot into the stadium), but actually wasn't until 5:00 pm. Because Africa time isn't exactly as precise as American time.

We stopped at another hotel on our way, picking up a really nice family (a dad and his two sons who were around our age) from California. They had just arrived and they were SO EXCITED. It was kind of adorable to me at the time. Me, four days into the trip and feeling like an expert. We traded stories about what we had seen and what we planned to do and we gave them a little advice about what to expect at that night's match and over the course of their trip.

It was always nice meeting friendly, interesting people. Which is actually kind of funny for me to say, because I don't think that I lean towards either of those attributes. Put me in a bus with a bunch of strangers and, if they don't strike up a conversation, there probably won't be one. (I'm getting a little better with that.)

The stadium was gorgeous at night, all lit up. And the Brazil fans! So many and SO LOUD. We sat by this Brazilian woman and her husband and she was like a wild person. Standing up and screaming at the referees and waving her hands and, gosh, she must've burned a lot of calories. Her husband just chilled next to her. Except for when Brazil scored. Then he went wild.

Just before the game starts, we see these boys who are clearly Scandinavian. Hey! We're Scandinavian! So Meg trots up there and sees their Norwegian flag and tells them that we're Norwegian, too. And gets a picture, obviously, because that's what you do.

And that's part of what made the World Cup so cool. Because, yes, you might be seeing Brazil and Côte d'Ivoire play a match, but the whole world is still going to be there. Or so it felt. It felt like we were forever surrounded by the whole world.

And that's a really awesome feeling.

You know what else was an awesome feeling? Feeling the whole building hum with the sounds of vuvuzelas when Côte d'Ivoire had a free kick. We learned pretty quickly that South Africans, if they weren't rooting for South Africa, were rooting for the other African nations.

While we were in Brazil gear, we were certainly becoming great fans of the nation of South Africa and, thus, were happy to cheer for Côte d'Ivoire to do well, too.

It didn't terribly matter to us who won, just as long as it was a good match.

And it was.


k said...

I don't think I ever told you, but I loved the trip blog you wrote while you were there!

A said...

:) Awww...thanks, pumpkin!

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