Thursday, February 10, 2011

Travel Thursday: South Africa Day 10

The draw for the World Cup was held the December before the tournament. It was at that time when we learned what teams we'd be seeing in the group stages and we could look at the different groups and make educated guesses as for which teams we would be watching in the Round of 16.

USA and England were placed in the same group. Obviously, England would win. Hopefully, USA would advance. So, seeing as how our first Round of 16 game featured the winner of the USA/England group, we'd be seeing England play.

Except we didn't.

We got to see the United States play again.

Which was so, so awesome. Every game that we saw at the World Cup was awesome. Absolutely every one of them. But the games featuring OUR team, OUR country, they were just a little bit more special and more awesome.

And, with it being a knockout game (winner moves on, loser goes home), everything was just a little more intense, too. More special, more awesome, more intense.

And more of a pain in the ass, because we had to go back to Rustenburg.

F'ing Rustenburg, that two hour trip that took three hours last time. And was not any better when we traveled there to see USA/Ghana. Oh, except that it was an 8:30 pm game.

So we take a 3:00 pm bus to Rustenburg. We get to the stadium way, way early. And we decide to get some food. We get in line for concessions. We wait. And we wait. And wait. And, 45 minutes later, we're still in line. We HAVE NOT MOVED.

Not awesome. I am definitely not a fan of being hungry. We, thankfully, had snacks packed with us...but a Luna Bar is not a substitute for real, warm food. It just isn't.

Had it been earlier in the tournament – like, at the first game that they hosted at that venue – I could almost understand the food debacle. But, it was the last game at the stadium. And we stood in line for 45 minutes and couldn’t get food. So not cool. (I really hate being hungry.)

Know what else wasn’t cool? The game. The United States lost, you may recall, early in extra time. The Americans game out of the game pretty flat, so I wouldn’t say that they deserved to win, but I certainly was hoping that they’d pull out the win.

We got to see a Landon Donovan penalty kick taken at the goal that we were seated closest to, which was a HUGE thrill. (I think that I might marry him, that Landon Donovan. He looks a little bit like my longtime boyfriend, David J. Matthews, plus he plays footie. We’d be a jolly match. me, Landycakes!)

People were cheering loud and hard against the American team. After South Africa was knocked out of the tournament, all of the support fell to the other African teams. As you may know, Ghana is an African team. No hostilities, that’s for sure, but definitely little to no support for the Americans from anyone but the Americans.

You know who were really nasty? The England fans who had bought tickets to that game, assuming that England would finish first in their group. They were NOT a happy bunch.

Needless to say, there were a lot of people really happy to see the Americans lose that match. Meg and I were not among them. And then we had the three hour bus ride home, just to add insult to injury. We got back to Johannesburg at 3:30 in the morning. Absolutely exhausted and fairly miserable, I was so relieved when we got a cab right away. I’d been worrying (shocking!) that we would have a difficult time getting back to our hotel, as Johannesburg was not a town that was particularly alive at nighttime.

One of the most amusing parts of the day came at 4:00 am, when Meg and I were getting ready for bed and Meg, so hungry for real food, decided to eat the pasta leftovers that had been sitting, unrefrigerated, in our hotel room for 27 hours. It has been seven months and I’m still amazed that she didn’t get sick.


Kari said...

I love your recaps! Feels like I was there with you.
You still haven't commented on what you are doing with the Coach this weekend?
Enjoy your trek to the Great White North(although Windsor is south of Detroit and I doubt it is all that white at this time of year - likely more grey). Maybe you will meet a nice Canuck and settle here-- after all we do get 1 year mat leaves.

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