So my first game that I was to attend, was in a city called Mangaung/Bloemfontein, between Greece and Nigeria. The city is located in the middle of the country and would require 15 hours each way on a bus to get there. Time to saddle up and get ready for a lot of sitting. On the double decker bus which drove through the night, someone forgot to turn the heat on, which made for a very unpleasant ride. I kept drifiting in and out of consciousness with my only jacket I brought wrapped around my feet to stay warm. And since I was so deliriously tired from being on the go, I slept through my stop
. I woke up at 9, wonder where the hell we were. I was supposed to get off the bus at 840. I figured maybe we were just a little behind schedule because I never heard any announcement of Bloemfontein. After 30 more mins of driving, I realized I was way out of my destination. All I could do was sit and wait for the next stop. The next stop came 2 hours later....in Welkom which is 3/4 of the way to Johannesburg. AWSOME!!! I just added another 4 hours to and from on this trip, and was risking missing the game all together. I bought a return ticket that would have me getting back to Bloemfontein 1 hour before the game, cutting it close considering all the traveling just done. On the bus, across the isle from me, were a couple of young kids that their grandmother I assume had put them on the bus. They were speaking kosa, which is the funny language spoken in clicks and pops. I was giggling to myself when their conversation got heated...the pops were getting louder. I couldn't impersonate it even if I tried.
When I finally got inside the stadium, there was an enourmous sense of relief because all this travelling had not been done in vain. I grabbed a couple beers to sit and get into game mode. I meet a nice couple of Americans who sat down at the same table as me. We started chatting and they were rather interested in my stories I told them of staying with the Scifres, and visiting the township
. They actually bought me a couple beers and asked if I could tell a few of my stories on camera for them to take home. I gladly obliged since I had already had a few in me. Very nice people. Who ever you were, and incase we meet again....Thank you. I worked my way to my seat since the game was about to begin. I realized I was in the lower bowl, which was a cool place to sit, because the action is right in front of you. I was 7 rows from the field!! Unbelievable. The first goal scored in the game by the Nigerians, was less than 100 feet from me. The crowd erupted cheering on their African brotheren. The vibe in the stadium was rather electirc because it was still the early stages of the cup, and anything can happen. Vuvuzela's were going in full force. I am sure that for you at home that were watching the games, got annoyed with them. Here too, I had my moments of " shut the *&^^ up with those damn things." But when you are sitting in a stadium and hearing 20 000 vuvuzela's going in unison, it gives you goosebumps. SOO FRIGGIN LOUD! And when the crowd start chanting that "waving flag song", the oooo ooo ooo ooooooo part, you would get a tingle run up your spine. Which is saying a lot, cause I couldnt stand that song before I came here.
After the game I headed back to the bus station which was right across the road from the stadium. There I would have to kill 2 hours before my 13 + hour bus ride would even begin. Horray!! In the last 36 hours, I had spent 30 of them on a bus getting to and from Bloemfontein (and Welkom because of the sleep through!) to watch 90 mins of soccer. But to be honest.....every second of it was worth it to see my first world cup match.
So.... now that the world cup is finally come to and end, I have time again to get back to the blog. It has been a month long party that was also a great success. It's nice to see that South Africa showed all the people around the world who doubted them, that they can host a world class event like this with such as the World Cup.