We checked out of our beautiful guest house in Cape Town and headed toward the airport for our flight to Johannesburg. After returning our rental car we boarded the plane and arrived in Jo-Burg without concern. In Johannesburg we were being picked up and staying with someone none of us had met before. Colleen’s cousin Bridget married a South African named Kevin. When word got out we were traveling to South Africa Colleen was put in contact with Kevin’s sister Karyn. Karyn works for Fairview winery and set up the amazing tasting we had while in Franschhoek. When Colleen asked Karyn how we would recognize each other at the airport, Karyn said she had been following our blog! Karyn and her boyfriend Bruce were waiting for us outside baggage claim and they took us to their cars. One car had a South African flag clipped to one window and a USA flag clipped to the other – a very nice welcome. We went to Karyn’s house and settled in, she opened a couple nice bottles of wine for us including Jen’s new favorite varietal – Pinotage. We were also introduced to a new shot known as a Spring Bok – named after a type of antelope found in South Africa. It is half peppermint liquer (they use one called Old Meester) and half Amarulla (a creamy liquor similar to Bailey’s).
Karyn’s mother, Margaret “Margie”, brought over a homemade meal of salad, pasta, and bread and we started to gear up for the game. It was by far the coldest day we had experienced in South Africa. It was in the 30’s and with the wind it felt much colder. Not being prepared for this, layering became important so the girls wore just about everything they had, on top and bottom. The 4 of us were joined by Karyn, Bruce, Margie, and Karyn’s cousin Ashley “Ash.” Ash was so excited to go to the Brazil game, she had her Brazil jersey on and even learned a little Spanish from a White Stripes song “I’m drunk on a wagon headed to Mexico!” Imagine her dismay when she found out that in Brazil, they speak Portuguese.
To say the game was freezing would be an understatement. No longer proud owners of ninth row seats we were relegated to the topmost corner of the stadium, 4 rows from the top and 2 seats from the edge. The wind whipped in from the edge constantly. At one point the power went out on the concourse level and they fired up this gigantic diesel generator. It kicked off an incredible amount of heat and at half time we went and stood outside the vent to warm up.
It was amazing to see Brazil play in person. Their mastery of the game and the way they cover the field was truly something to see. North Korea, however, did their homework and was prepared for them. It was a great match.