Visiting the "Mother City" and more...

Visiting the "Mother City" and more...

Monday, July 5, 2010

Lets Talk Soccer

We have been planning for over 4 years to travel to Africa. Soccer was the first and foremost thing to do while here originally. Later we had dicussions about what kind of other activities we wanted to take advantage of... Nervously, we had visions of dirt roads and people walking barefoot and possibly even seeing the natives carry items on their heads. Well we were right to some extent, but wrong on so many other levels.

The Fifa President, Joseph Blatter, ordered that all of the stadiums were to be completed by
Dec 09. Let me tell you, that they[football venues] are absolutely spectacular! So far, we have been to 2 matches and we have cheered and jeered amongst the best fans from around the world.

Really quickly, I would like to touch upon the infastructure in S.A. >>>>>
The highways are actually smoother than a lot of the roads we have in Chicago land area. There are dangers associated with driving besides being on the opposite side of the car such as: watching out for baboon crossings; in addition to being mindful of the local township people who are constantly walking right on the paved driving surface with no reflector tape...[wearing dark clothes at night] Scary!!! Some on them even have their young babies strapped to them while crossing 4 and 6 lane highways.
The Internet is hit or miss but, it is like the land of milk and honey once we get it back all is forgotten that it was array.

A quick review for the non-soccer fan reading this blog.

A soccer match last about 90 minutes in length. There are 11 players on each side, with 13 back-up players to be precisely used as if, in a chess match. Every 4 years, the World Cup is a culmination of some 140 countries battling it out, on the pitch. The final month of the tournament pits the best 32 teams in a random playoff. This is when the fun begins in my opinion. The true soccer purist watch and stay tuned for every qualifier and knock out phase match, but we are here in S.A. just for the main course only.

The Africans have done a superb job making this month long celebration a wonderful time for visitors. The atmosphere seems to have just the right amount of tribal influence, mixed in with the modern facilities of the west. The quality of the food has been outstanding. I must say that it is a bit difficult though, if you are a vegetarian. Nothing appears forced or overbearing [ you know like visiting Mexico] and the people all seem to want to invite us into their homes to meet their relatives. Their genuine spirit and pride of how their country has changed is apparent everywhere...

The world wide fans were hesitant and sometimes afraid from the press reports leading up to the games seemed to be the story on the foreigners minds. In the last week and a half, I must add that we have not seen or been in any uncomfortable situations of security. [I feel like we are prepared just in case]

Back to the football (soccer)...

A few days ago, we got the opportunity to witness the best game of the tournament, being displayed from just 16 rows away on the 40 yard line. The Samba style of the Brazilian nation team fought it out with the Flying Dutchman of the Netherlands. Besides the fans from their respective countries, Vuvuleazas and local South Africans filled the small 46,000 seat stadium in Port Elizabeth. After all of the twist and turns, and a few penalty cards had been given, the Dutch team came out on top... It was a very special feeling to not only see the worlds' favorite[Brazil] get upset, but to see them actually preform live.

Tanja and I arrived at the end of the the 1 round, of the 4 segments. We attended a really crucial match involving Spain and Portugal. (See post labeled- Vuvuzealas). The passionate fans, adorned in their country flag colors, dressed up like we do at home for Halloween; hoping to get a treat of staying alive, in this "lose and go home phase." Meanwhile, the USA was playing in this same sudden death phase at last week. Unfortunately, England sent them packing.
Here is a taste of how loud it was in the stadium...

1 comment:

Kirsten and Bobs World said...

Awesome Pictures. I feel like I am doing this trip with you guys! I am glad you are having such a splended time and experience!