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Argentina v. Mexico

Witness to the Execution


We left our lions and leopards and flew back to Jo-burg in time to watch this match. Our second visit to Soccer City was much smoother than our first. Aftter storing our luggage at the airport we hired a car to take us in, then pick us up. Despite this luxury, we still had a 40-minute walk in and out.

But no matter--the walks to the stadium is a riotous show. Fans compete to don the most outrageous outfit, and hundreds of vendors are thrilled to help. They sold chicken legs, sausages, drinks,vuvuzelas, earplugs so one needn't hear the vuvuzelas, flags, and fuzzy wigs, fake glasses, really silly hats etc. Most sport the national colors of Mexico and Argentina, as do so many painted faces of glowing fans. Josh went over to the Dark Side, buying a vuvuzela. He claimed it was for a friend. Riiiight.

NOTE TO ANDRES: Mexico played well. But Argentina, on this night anyway, was untouchable. Argentina pounced like an Arathusa leopard on the slightest Mexican error. Carlos Teves was a whirlwind; Lio Messi is a force of nature. The immortal golfer Bobby Jones, once said of Jack Nicklaus, "He plays a game with which I am not familiar." Messi seems the same. He is tiny, and singularly quick and precise. Every time he touches the ball we heard an audible gasp as 90,000 people caught their collective breath. It was a privilege to watch him.We have pictures of the pitch, the crowd, the expanse of color and light. We will post them soon.

(But about Nicklaus: don't you wonder how many major tournaments he would have won if at the top of his backswing 30,000 vuvuzelas honked?).

At midnight, back to the airport to wait seven hours for our flight to George. From that small city we will drive four hours. Josh napped on the hard floor; John, sure that his bones would never uncoil after such a nap, wandered the airport, drank too much coffee, and chatted up clerks in every open-all-night retail shop. All were smart, knowledgeable and supremely proud of South Africa. They should be--despite my earlier whining about confusion, this is a delightful party, carried out with enthusiasm, warmth, and determination to shine.

Posted by jfarq 11:40 Archived in South Africa Tagged transportation

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