High Jinx in Joburg! (Kirsty’s blog)
Well after a fraught bit of confused packing which includes swimming togs, shorts and flip flops alongside thick woolly walking socks, thermal long johns and my Kilimanjaro goose down coat (I’ve been told it’s cold)…we’re finally on our way! Though not before I managed to wrestle some antique Speedos from Andy’s hand so that they didn’t make the trip to South Africa, perish the thought of the perished gussett!
The England brass band were playing outside Heathrow’s terminal 3 to add to the excitement, though to be honest the atmosphere was more low key than I expected. That all changed when we landed in Johannesburg on a gloriously sunny morning to the most surreal airport experience I’ve ever had! As we were coming through passport control we were surrounded by Mexicans in enormous sombreros blowing on vuvuzelas, who were quickly joined by a large group of Germans in full lederhosen followed by another bunch of Mexicans, though this time wearing full wrestling gear, hilarious watching them trying to come through passport control and not wanting to remove their sparkly wrestling gimp masks!
Absolute pandemonium as we come through to the arrivals area, it was packed with TV film crews to capture the ‘fancy dress fans’ arriving in SA, hundreds of drivers holding up name cards and even more people trying to sell World Cup flags or touting for hotel or taxi business. Add the passengers from four large aircraft plus their luggage and a large helping of hysteria and you can imagine the scene. I have absolutely no idea why we thought this was a good idea but Andy and I decide to split up in order to find our driver with ‘Payne’ on his card (very kindly organised by Dom, our friend in Joburg), so I managed to locate the Payne plakard but had lost A Payne along the way. I can already tell that this is going to happen a lot on this trip and I’m starting to realise the true value of a sparkly gimp mask in a large crowd…wonder where I can get one and whether I can wrestle him into it on match days?
So a short drive through Johannesburg reveals the absolute sense of excitment about the World Cup, flags everywhere, the sound of vuvuzelas everwhere, people dressed in the yellow and green of Bafana Bafana (which I’m told is Zulu for ‘Boys Boys’) everywhere. At every set of traffic lights there’s a bit of a scramble to sell you flags, they have flags for all nations and competition is fierce amongst the sellers to the point of surrounding a car that isn’t sporting a flag. It’s obvious that the South Africans are so excited about the World Cup, all of the children have finished school for the duration of the tournament and there’s a celebratory feel on the streets, including a nationwide blowing of vuvuzelas at midday, you could hear them wherever you were.
So we make it to Dom and Natalie’s place…and what a place it is too! We’re blown away by the sheer size, it seems to go on forever, room after room, sun terrace after sun terrace and a beautiful pool…though the piece de resistance is the fact that the whole of the ground floor has been decorated with huge flags from every nation, they cover every wall, numerous living and dining areas and the bar area. Though despite a flag for every nation taking part in the World Cup (and Dom being uber organised has displayed them according to their groups), there is an area that has been reserved and is decorated entirely with the George Cross, which contains a wall covered with a projection screen ready to watch the football and one wall emblazened with ‘1966 ENGLAND 2010’
We’ve come to the right place!
Pictures showing Bella and little Andy (some with big Andy) next to the numerous carefully grouped flags…
So after a delightful evening playing 30 seconds with Bella and Andy and a beautiful dinner with Dom and Natalie accompanied by lovely South African wine, we retire to bed and sleep like logs that have travelled on an overnight cramped flight and had no sleep for 48 hours.
Tomorrow we may have a jacuzzi on the roof terrace before heading into town, though as Andy’s ancient Speedos were confiscated and he doesn’t have his PE kit then he’ll have to do it in his pants and vest!