Correction: We referred to Bloemfontein as being in the Orange Free State. It is now called the Free State. My mistake—I’m reading a history of the country and am only up to around 1880, when orange was still the dominant color.
We returned to Jo-burg and rejoined the springbok and ostrich at the Airport Game Lodge. Much larger room, but winters chill still in the air. We left the lodge for the game early, because we needed to figure out how to get to the Ellis Park Stadium. Once in a modern, almost glitzy suburb called Stainton, we asked around ….
… and no one knew.
No one. Not FIFA people, not hotel staffs, not men and women on the streets, not citizens with red pullovers claiming they were “Ambassadors.” No one in information booths. Conflicting information everywhere, wrong or no signage. Conflicting opinions and vague directions. We finally bargained a decent fare with a Cab driver and arrived in time to watch Honduras and Spain warm up. Good stadium, good seats, enthusiastic crowd, all to see Spain virtually execute Honduras, who also appeared to be passive spectators. Spain was stunning: every pass appeared meaningful, strategic, and always pressing. The 2-0 score could easily have been 6-0, Spain so dominated play. John will encourage Josh to wax poetic, below.
We lucked our way back to our lodge via foot (through dark and silent streets), bus, and taxi. Again, blind luck and instinct were our primary guides. Our trip has really been quite smooth, in terms of outcomes. But we have never had the luxury of confidence that we were on the right bus, or street, or corner. Everyone is friendly, and tries hard to help, but some authority has done poorly with planning and training and documentation.