I wrote a bunch of random and mostly disorganized thoughts about my trip to the World Cup. I will break them up in a two posts in order to avoid boring my readers too much. Hopefully someone finds them interesting. Click on read more to check it out.
It took a lot longer than I had hoped for due to unforseen technical difficulties, but I am finally done going through the ~1500 photos we took in the last couple of weeks, selecting and post-processing, and have posted them to The MKX® Photo Central.
I am really happy with how the photos came out. We used an Olympus E-PL1 Micro Four Thirds camera on the trip instead of the usual crummy pocket camera, which we occasionally paired with a Panasonic 45-200mm telephoto lens, which allowed for some cool closeups at the stadiums and in the safari. The main album is broken up by day:
- To the World Cup!
Carrying a sombrero across the world is not fun.
A 12 hour layover in Cairo. Let’s make the best of it.
- South Africa VS Mexico
Opening match in Soccer City, Johannesburg.
- Argentina VS Nigeria
Messi and Maradona, in front of me.
- Lory Park
Awesome VIP tour in this beautiful animal sanctuary, courtesy of Sharon Salomon. Also, an encounter with former world champion Oscar Ruggeri.
- Holland VS Denmark
At Ellis Park. Not the best match, but look at that crowd!
- Brazil VS N. Korea
The jogo bonito. Also, Apartheid Museum, SAB World of Beer.
- Pilansberg Safari
Extreme closeups of wild animals, and also of my flat tire.
- Mexico VS France
If we are going to beat France, we should do it in style, flying private and hanging out with Figo and Zidane.
- England VS Argelia
In Cape Town. Zague said hello.
- Cape Town
Enjoying the waterfront.
- Simon’s Town
Table Mountain, then drive to Simon’s town to see the penguins.
- Portugal VS N. Korea
Jewish Museum, then see Ronaldo and friends kill the Koreans.
- Uruguay VS Mexico
Not much luck in Rustenburg.
- Return to reality
Another loooong trip through Egypt, where Mexico is famous for the wrong reasons.
We lost 1-0 against Uruguay in a very tight match. Still enough to make it to the second round. We will be facing Argentina (again) in the Round of 16.
The game was in Rustenburg, near Johannesburg. Getting there was very painful… about three hours for what should have been a 1.5 hour drive. Coming back was even worse: 1.5 hours just to get to our car! (There was no parking by the stadium, it was all park and drive).
The stadium was all Mexican. Someone heard there were 30,000 Mexican fans and 2,000 Uruguayan fans. Too bad that doesn’t count in the tournament.
A freaky thing happened on the way out: it took us forever to find the car. That’s because we saw it but we ignored it, as all four of its doors were wide open. Yes, all four doors were wide open! We obviously didn’t leave them that way. We had left all sorts of junk inside the car and in the truk, but it was all there. Bizarre.
In our first night time game, we were able to do some touristy stuff: Newtown, the Apartheid museum, the SAB World of Beer museum. Then to Ellis Park for our last game in Johannesburg: Brazil VS N. Korea. It was a little bit like watching the Globetrotters. Fun to see. Sadly it was freezing cold, so the usual Brazilian eye candy was hidden under many layers of clothing. Maybe in 2014.
One thing I cannot complain about in South Africa, is how the World Cup (unlike USA 94) is being lived and felt everywhere. No matter where you turn, people have flags and Bafana Bafana shirts. Also, vuvuzelas.
Nothing special about them: They are just plastic horns, just like the one that my dad bought me at the stadium during a Mexico 86 match. However, they are everywhere!
During the opening match, the whole South African crowd had their vuvuzela and they used it nonstop. It got really, really loud… a high pitched buzz constantly in the background. It prevented the players from hearing each other and get organized. We struggled in the stadium to get some Mexican cheers organized, with limited success, due to all the noise. You could see Chicharito tell one of his co-players that he can’t hear him.
And this is all good, after all, they are the hosts and this is their home team advantage. It’s a South Africa match.
But why are people bowing on this damn thing ALL THE TIME? Before the game, after the game, on the streets, inside restaurants. Everywhere. It’s really annoying. I’ve been really close to sticking a vuvuzela up somebody’s ass for three days now and it’s not likely to get better. You know it’s especially bad when you are the Holland vs Denmark match and you can’t hear a single chant, which takes away a lot of the World Cup experience.
Update 6/15: Yes, ear plugs are always in my pocket but so far I haven’t used them (except to sleep, but that’s a different story). Tonight during Brazil’s game, the kid next to me had a vuvuzela. I hid his vuvuzela when he went to the bathroom. Oh well…