Friday, June 18, 2010

Oh when the Yanks go marching in!

It's been a great week out here in SA. Barely have had a chance to catch my breath and there's far to much to write about. The two USA games have been the bookends to our first week out there. Two draws sounds like a dull sporting experience, but it has been anything but that.

For our first game vs England we found a little pub near where we were staying in Joburg. The place was filled with England fans (though mostly South Africans) which made for a spirited though friendly atmosphere. The game ended 1-1 and will make England hold their heads in anguish for years to come.

We spent the next couple of days in the more rural city of Rustenburg northwest of Joburg. Here we went to my first World Cup match ever, New Zealand vs Slovakia. The match was entertaining and a NZ equalizer in the 93rd minute toped off a memorable (and slightly deafening) World Cup experience. The next day was spent doing our own self-guided safari in the nearby game park of Pilanesberg. We had a great time and saw quite a lot of wild life.

We're back in Joburg now. Today was dedicated to the USA vs Slovenia game. We showed up early to avoid traffic and started painting our faces outside the stadium. Shortly into our face painting session some guy showed up with more face paint and asked us to paint his face. Before we knew it there was a mini USA party happening on the street corner. If we're ever short on money all we need to do is show up to a game with face paint and start charging. The USA game started our as a disaster, some poor defensive play put the USA down 2-0 at the half. The USA players and fans weren't discouraged and shortly into the 2nd half Landon Donovan had a world class goal to get the USA going again. The USA threatened for most of the 2nd half and the equalizer finally came with about 10 minutes left. Needless to say the mostly American crowd went crazy. We were unlucky not to win the game when the ref mysteriously called our third goal back for no known reason. Still a USA game for the history books and an experience I will never forget.

So far we've met lots of great people (from South Africa and all around), been hosted by a few generous South Africans, and in general just had a great time. Tomorrow morning we're off for Durban where we'll spend a couple days near the coast and watch Japan vs Holland! We thought we didn't have much time to relax in Jozi... just wait for our trip along the cape.

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