I’m sick 😦 And with sick, goes grumpy. I feel like I have been hit by a freight train that has derailed. But… it is worth it because I got to see the soccer in Cape Town last Thursday night. While the bank told Dad the tickets they were sending him were for the England-Algeria match, it turned out that they were for the Netherlands-Cameroon match. I couldn’t have bothered who was playing – just to be able to say “I was there” is all that mattered to me.
I still haven’t found a word or phrase that encompasses the atmosphere, although electrifyingly-superbly-amazingly-superflyingly-supercalifragilisticexpialidocious does do it some justice. It was a truly memorable experience – a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, which I will be forever grateful to Dad for.
Allan came to pick me up at the guest house just after two and we headed off to the Cape Town International Airport where we caught a fan bus into town. I spent half the journey wracking my brains as to when last I had actually been on a bus. Suffice to say, I still don’t remember – that’s how long it’s been.
From there we walked to the Fan Fest at the Grand Parade, and for as far as the eye could see, there were Dutch supporters, all kitted out in orange gear. Many of the supporters went to a great deal of trouble with costumes for the occasion as you can see from some of the photos below.
From there we trotted off along the Fan Mile (and for those of you who don’t know me, I abhor walking anywhere. I have a car for a reason), which turned out to be an experience in its own right. There was a palpable atmosphere and dotted all along the mile where performers, food stalls and throngs of people. All along the mile the sound of an instrument which has become synonymous with soccer, the vuvuzela, could be heard.
We arrived at the stadium with two hours to kick-off and took our seats – 10 rows from the pitch, right behind the Dutch team dug-out. It was surreal, because the pitch was so pristine it looked as if it was painted. Soon the stadium started filling up and it was evident that there were more Dutch supporters in the stands than Cameroon ones, although Blood Diamond actor Djimon Hounsou and his wife, Kimora Lee Simmons were supporting the latter and sitting three rows down from us. I kept thinking to myself, “those two look so familiar” and eventually Allan enlightened me as to who the former was.
Soon kick-off happened and the game was underway. Even though I know zero about soccer, I cheered for the Dutch team and erupted into applause when everybody else did. At half time the score was 1-0 in favour of the Dutch, but the Cameroonians fought a good game and equalized in the second half, but the Dutch managed to squeeze in another goal and in doing so, moved onto the next round.
Leaving the stadium proved to be quite a feat – with more than 63000 other people also wanting to get out the gates, it took us almost as long to get from the stadium to the bus stop at the stadium than it had for us to walk the entire fan mile. To give you an idea of just how many people there were…
We caught the bus back to the airport, picked up the car and Allan dropped me off just after the clock chimed the proverbial pumpkin-hour and I crept into bed. I woke up as sick as a dog on Saturday, even worse on Sunday (and I had to drive back home from Cape Town), even worse-than-worse on Monday (and I had to go to Hermanus for a head-office meeting and back again) and I am still sick. Mom went to the doctor this morning and he has diagnosed her with bronchitis, which means I am very well suffering from the same ailment, and while I know I should get myself to the doctor – I’m still stuck here for 11 hours a day…