PostHeaderIcon World Cup and South Africa observations

Here are a few of my observations of South Africa and the World Cup so far…

  • South Africans are really friendly, hospitable people and all that I’ve met so far are really excited that we’ve come.
  • South Africans feel like the media in other countries gives the impression that South Africa is unsafe.  They do like to tell us that South Africa is safe, but then when we say we’re going to drive through X they’ll quickly draw their breath and say things like “Oooh you don’t want to go that way, it’s not safe”,  “I wouldn’t go that way”, “make sure you don’t stop” or “Make sure your doors are locked and the windows are up”
  • ADT is making a fortune here.  Most houses have security systems, high fences, electric fences in some cases, armed scurity patrols etc.
  • Fans tend to arrive late to the games, at the beginning of the games it has often looked like the stadium is only 2/3 full, and then 10 minutes into the game the rest of the attendees arrive.
  • Public transport to the games in the from of park and rides has been great.
  • The roads between the big cities are in pretty good shape (less pot holes than most Mass. and UK roads)
  • Chris said he wants to get a five point harness to handle Andy’s English braking technique
  • Traffic lights are often called Robots (If Crouch plays again, he can easily do an impression)
  • When driving down the road, do not be surprised if you are overtaken on the inside where there is no road (French drivers from Paris would feel very at home here)
  • Do not open your car window for the roadside salesmen.  Cos if they get their stuff in your car, you own it and need to pay for it.
  • South Africa is a civilized country, they drive on the left side of the road.
  • Television has loads of channels, with nothing on,  just like the US.
  • The food in the market is closer to English than American so they have real meat pies!!!
  • The South Arican fans can sing in tune, they can be working down the street and break out into song, and they always appear to be dancing.  Could be a tribal war dance, I have no idea, but they do smile while doing it.
  • They have great smiles, maybe it’s just a contrast between the dark skin tones and the white teeth, but most smiles look like Colgate smiles.
  • Distances are in kilometers, not miles.
  • They have real bacon, not just that fatty American Bacon (and no Canadian Bacon is different)
  • People keep telling me it’s cold, I think the weathers been great.  It’s sunny, dry and about 50F during the day.  Plenty warm enough for a T-shirt in my book.  Mind you, if it’s not snowing I always think it’s warm enough for a T-Shirt.
  • Woolworths still exists here.  They have lots of little markets, that are very similar to the mini M&S markets in the UK, they’re so similar I wonder if M&S owns part of Woolworths.  You know this isn’t the real Woolworths though, when you realise there isn’t a pick and mix section.  I wonder where South African kids hone their shoplifting skills?
  • Some places you go to have very distinct smells, Malaysia for example smelt of menthol cigarettes, Tokyo boiled cabbage, Newark Airport sewage, so far I have not really got a smell of South Africa which is probably a good thing.
  • VuVuZelas much has been made about this little b flat horns.  Honestly in person they are not as bad as they appear on TV.  I think to all the people watching at home complaining, they should know something.  The people blowing these horns are not just South Africans, at the USA vs Slovenia games, there were lots and I mean lots of Americans blowing hard on their horns.  In the crowd you can still hear fans cheering, and during tense moments in the game, and during national anthems people have the respect to stop blowing the horns.  They’re part of their culture, this tournament is in their country,  respect that this is how they celebrate and embrace it.
  • Did I mention that the people are really friendly? Sure I did, but well worth repeating.
  • Chris Miller is a patient man, not sure he is getting any sleep with my snoring, but he’s being very understanding about it. I give him 3 more days of sleep deprivation before he breaks.
  • In the shopping centers, public toilets are really poorly marked.  I’m finding the best approach is to look for exit signs and assume there will be a toilet there.
  • The ratio of male fans to female fans is probably 1 female for every 20 males.

More observations as I find them…

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