Tuesday, June 22, 2010

USA vs Slovenia

Well the time has come for the 2nd USA game and it couldn't be here soon enough! We all wake up at the normal 830 am and have breakfast where we all talk about today's match. After breakfast we all go to get ready and Curtis and I decide to apply some "war paint" for today's battle. (Curtis did Corey's on the way to the game)
The drive to Ellis Park was great we got plenty of honks and Vuvuzella blows in the way. They loved the fact we were dressed for today's game. The drive to the game seemed to go quickly but finding the Stadium? Park and Ride? Park and Walk? was a test for sure.

Ellis Park is located smack in the middle of Johannesburg in what many would call a "Not so good" neighborhood. We decide to drive to the stadium and work backwards from there. We get close enough to catch a glimpse of the place as we ignore the 100's of barkers getting us to park in their spot? on their hill? on their grass? anywhere we wanted it seemed... For a price.

We zig and zag our way through the busy streets to find the park and ride to the game, HOWEVER!!! we were denied entrance to the park and ride because we lacked tickets. Hummm wait we have tickets to the match so we're all good right? NOPE you need to buy tickets to the park and ride... REALLY? this sucks so we decide to move forward with plan B Park and Walk. Hopefully it's close enough that we can sprint through the ghetto w/out any muggings. We all joke that one doesn't need to be the fastest in the group just not the slowest...Ummm this will be a close one for me :)

We find the Park and Walk and yet again you need a ticket!!! REALLY? Damm our luck! But wait! I've got an idea that has worked for me many of times in my travels to Mexico... I decide to ask the parking officer "Is there any chance i can pay you and then you can pay for our ticket, since it's close to game time and we'd hate to miss the kick off" he agrees with little hesitation after a quick glance over his shoulder that no-one is watching. I slip him $100 Rand and tell him it's for us and the car behind me. We're IN! The scene when we arrive to the parking area is wonderful it appears that this is the preferred parking spot for the USA supporters so there is a warm welcome as we pull in and tail gate for a while.

It's 2 hrs before the game so we decide to make our way to the stadium and what a walk it was. It was about a mile long through what normally would be a not so good area of town however today it's something different. Locals have transformed their driveways into BBQ's where you could purchase hot dogs, chips, and whatever you needed for a pre-game meal.
German and Corey were 1st to stop and grab a hot dog like substance that was out of this world :). Then we notice the preschool is hosting a fund raiser w/ food and drink so we must donate of course. We grab a cold been and bratwurst and relax with other fans.
Here is a picture of Ryan, Brett and Corey at the Pre-School.

So after a a quick sip and a bite we continued our march to Ellis Park. The streets were alive. Kids chanted USA! USA! USA! as we passed and vendors sold flags, hats, etc, etc, etc for today's game. We make it to the gates and German has 2 extra tickets for today's game from a friend who was unable to make the trip and to try and help get some $$ back for him we find ourselves in a different situation we don't need tickets we have extra. "Let's sell these suckers" we say and it proved easier said than done. Everyone had tickets to sell. We make a few laps up and down the street and find a Mexican fan who is in need of only 1 ticket so this being our only offer in 30min we decide to sell it to him at face value. So now we are stuck w/ 1 ticket! What to do? well I come up with the idea (since i don't feel like trying to sell anymore) lets find someone else w/ 1 ticket and let's give them to a local kid so they can watch the match. I had my eye on these to young guys that had been kicking the ball around us as their mom's sold food to us. I found another American w/ and extra ticket and he didn't seem to like my idea and went in to the gates w/ an extra ticket in his pocket! LAME Fortunately someone else with an extra ticket gave it to one of the boys so we were the hero's when we offered the other boy our extra.
These two little guys grins from ear to ear! so we took them under our wings and walked into the stadium w/ them.
I ask them "If they are excited?" they reply "The Most!"
We have now been able to pass our love for the love of soccer along to two young South African boys who may not ever been able to see a game of this magnitude ever. We tell the boys to stay together and have fun. Their seats were in the upper deck and ours were about 20 rows from the field and since our chants and cheers are well above the PG rating scale this was a good idea they sat in their seats :)

Game time! and We cheer and yell in support of our boys in blue and things don;t look good for us at half time. However, we start the second half off with a supportive chant of "YES WE CAN! YES WE CAN!" and 3 min into the half we score!!! then not long after another!!!! it's tied 2-2! We soon score yet a 3rd goal and the stadium erupts!!! I'm now 2 sections over from where i was standing with excitement! As i make my way back to our group i settle in and find out for some reason unknown to ALL that the gaol was called back. WTF Well anyways we stay alive in the group with a tie and we exit the stadium with cheers for our boys who wear the Red! White and Blue!
On our walk back to the car we make a pit stop once again at the pre school for a quick road dogg and cold drink... This was to insure most of the traffic had left and our ride home wouldn't take to long. We make it home safety and all call it a night after a quick recap of the match and we watch the replay of the "Phantom Call" by the Ref!!!

Thursday June 17th.
We wake up early and decide to head to Jo-Burg and try our luck at getting tickets to the Argentina VS Korea Game
Soccer City, Johannesburg South Africa.
We drive the hour plus drive to Jo-Burg and try to follow the signs to the stadium. FIFA has done a wonderful job with the signage to the stadiums and we've found them to be pretty accurate however not so much when it comes to the park and rides :( as soon as you exit the hwy it's a 50-50 chance you may not see a sign for the park and ride this is frustrating when you are in a convoy w/ other American guys who all think they know where it is.
Anyways, we settle on parking at Casino parking lot and jump on a bus to the game. (we found out that if you don't have tickets to the game you can not park at the FIFA park and rides.) LAME
We jump into a mini van w/ 5 Argentina fans and head to the stadium to try and get tickets. Once we arrive 3 guys in the group score tickets from an older gentleman then 2 more from a Canadian man decked out in Argentina Gear lastly Corey and myself hit the jackpot with 2-tickets at the bargain price of 1000 R which is like $65usd each. WOW we are all 7 going to the game. We head in with smiles from ear to ear. Bret and German are in the upper deck at mid field and Ryan, Clint and Curtis are behind the players bench and Corey and I find ourselves smack dab in the middle of the Argentina Fans Section on the corner about 15 rows from the field. THIS IS GREAT!!! So great i text Bret and German and they decide to join us at halftime.

There is a little thing you need to be warned about a supporters section before you join them just in case...There are many “No Smoking” signs in the stadium, but that means nothing in this section. The Argentines don’t sit, so prepare to stand the entire match, and your exact seat locations are also a meaningless thing so it makes it easy for the guys to join us. OH and do you best to cheer on the boys in Blue and White.

Here's how it goes (i think)

It starts“Vamos, vamos, Argentina. Vamos, Vamos, a ganar.” (You sing this while waving your hand high in a circular motion)

“Se mueva para aca, se mueve para alla.” (And we move over here, and we move over there)…And we hop a few places to the right, then back to the left.

“Es un sentimiento, no puedo parar!” (It’s a feeling, I cannot contain)…singing non-stop waiving anything you have in a circular motion high up.

Good thing German is there to help me translate because i soon find out i speak Mexican Not Spanish :)

Here is a picture of German and Myself at halftime.

This was SOOOOOoooooo Much fun and it last 90 min Plus!

After the match we head out of the stadium to catch the bus back to our cars. They have set up a line where the buses dropped you off but they corral you into a fenced area and everyone looks like they cattle moving slowly as the buses and mini buses load up and head back to the parking lots. This part takes over an hour and the VuVuZellas make it oh so enjoyable. Mann I hate those things!

We finally get back to our cars and head back to the guest house in Pretoria. Oh what a day!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Catching up on the last week

ok we've been busy since the last post and i've managed to let 5 days slip by so i'll be catching up on those last few days in this one post.

We wake up to yet another wonderful breakfast here at the Guest House we are staying in. Since we're about a 10 walk from the stadium and today it plays host to Ghana vs. Serbia - we decide to try our luck on getting tickets.
We head to the Brooklyn mall where there is a FIFA ticket office, this was a waste of time. The line to buy tickets was too long so, we come back, park our car and walk to the stadium.
We see some people scalping, but not many. The Ticket Office is on the opposite side of the stadium, which because so many streets are shut down, is quite a walk. It's cool, in some way, cause you get to see more fans walking around.
The ticket center had no tickets. We start looking for scalpers. The BUZZ around the stadium seems positive we'll get some for a decent price, but will we get 7? We find a couple of Ghana fans that are selling. We say we need seven, No Problem, we are told. One guy runs to another place, and brings back a wad of tickets. He says we can have them for $90. No way, we tell him. We're not paying more that 400 rand (about $35). He walks away, but another guy, with another huge stack of tickets, says he'll sell them for 500 rand. Again, we say we're not paying more than 400. He takes it. So we've all got a ticket and head for the gates since the game has just started. On our walk to the gates we speculate
Why did two people have so many tickets, and why did he so easily accept our offer? Where the real?
We take a closer look at the tickets and they say Ghana Football Federation. We laugh :)
We have 7 tickets near each other so at first we're split up, then decide to find each other and all stand behind the Ghana group that wore bright colors, had drums, sang, swayed, danced - it was GREAT and to date was the best soccer experience i've ever had! When Ghana scored late in the game, we found ourselves right in the middle of a massive party.
Ghana holds on to win and we sing and dance our way out of the stadium with all of the Ghana Supporters.
What a night!

Today we decide at yet another wonderful breakfast that we should try and catch the Holland vs. Denmark game in Johannesburg. (which is about an hour away) Due to the lack of planning and our late start we hit MAJOR TRAFFIC and w/out tickets we are denied at the park and rides.
We decide to turn around and head back to Petroria to watch the game at the official FIFA FanFest. It was at a cricket ground. Unfortunately, it was nothing like what we'd seen in World Cups Past. There were the 2 large big screens showing the games but it was anything but full due to many of the locals having to work we expect. The lack of a crowd was a nice change for us as we were able to sit on the grass and enjoy a quick lunch and beer and relax.
During halftime of the game Curtis, Clint, German and Myself decide to participate in a quick 3min 4v4 game. We didn't do bad however the Argentina fans ended our hopes with a cheeky goal that we are all still wondering how it went in?
We head back to the guest house and over dinner we make plans to head out early tomorrow for a Safari. I'm excited for this so it's off to bed early with dreams of Lions and Tigers and Elephants OH MY!


We wake up around 7 am and drive from Petroria to Pilanesberg National Park, which was about a two-hour drive northwest. We had done part of this drive last week on our way to the U.S. game (Rustenburg is past the park). As you drive along the highway, large hills can be seen in the distance, as can platinum mines and factories. It’s kind of desolate, with a lot of open space. If there are cities nearby, they’d have to be small. When we pull off the highway, we begin to drive down a rural road with signs that read: No fences, watch out for wildlife – with a picture of an antelope and ones with cows. However, the best sign was this one and what soon to follow it.

It looks like this sign says no street vending but i guess this guy didn't see the sign :)

We continue on, we see tons people with machetes chopping down the tall grass that grew high near the roadside – or at least that was our observation without knowing if they were in fact doing.

We passed by tiny shanty houses, some built out of aluminum or tin and we think WOW how hot would that be in the summer. On multiple corners we passed people that had set up stands to sell fruit and other goods. We really are in the middle of no where.

As we approach the Park, now with fences separating the large expanses of green and trees to both sides, on our way in we get our first look at some wildlife, some spider monkeys in the trees to our left.

We pull into the park. The initial idea was for us to drive the two cars through the park – which is permitted – and apparently inexpensive. However, we also kind of wanted a guide, and to try to get us all together. Our car was happy on this decision to go with the guided tour because our "Mid-sized" car that we have now named "the ant" would not of been the best choice in the park since many of the animals in the park would be twice the size of it.

No one would flat out say it, but I think there were at least a few that felt more comfortable being higher up in a vehicle with a guide that would hopefully carry a gun in case we were approached by a dangerous animal. (Some guys admitted to this after the fact). We found out we could get a personal safari vehicle for about $35 each. Done.

We meet Justin, our driver who had been working in the safari guide business for 17 years. As we begin, we’re told the rules. Absolutely no one out of the vehicles. Also, no loud noises or attempts to startle animals should we see them. "IF" being the key word here.

It was FREEZING!!! and i myself was not prepared for this kind of cold today seeing i only wore a long-sleeved shirt and a light hooded sweatshirt. Our vehicle was an open-air safari truck. After some laughing at us who were not ready for the cold, we all accept the blankets that were passed around.

We’re on our way. (this section of the blog is from one of German's emails)

Right away we notice the massiveness of the reserve. And right away we see our first animals. A bunch of Impala antelopes bouncing around the side of the road. We stop for photos – and see them on both sides. We’re on a real safari!

A little further down, Brett spots something moving in the trees: warthogs and a lone wildebeest. They are barely visible through the trees, but we snap away.

Far up a hill we see zebras – too far for photos. We keep driving and pull off the paved road onto a dirt path. About 100 meters to our right, Brett again spots something. Justin puts the truck in reverse – and we all jump over to the right side: beyond the four foot waving blades of yellow grass, and slowly moving near a tree, is a white rhino. Awesome. The first of the big five.

We begin to pester Justin with questions. Have you seen any kills, do cheetahs live out here, what about giraffes, or elephants. He has a bunch of answers. There are so many lions out here, in this 55 hectare reserve, and they are so dominant that they have nearly killed off a bunch of animals. As far they know, there are only a handful of cheetahs even still around, less of other animals.

I’ve forgotten the exact order of the animal sittings. One reason is because we saw so many wildebeest. You could often see them far into the park and then wonder what all is out there that can see us, but perhaps we can’t see them.

We see a watering hole – next to it are two hippos, a momma and baby.

Then, we come across a larger open area near the bottom of a hill where a bunch of wildebeest and zebras are playing around. In front of them are springbok, another type of antelope. Two impala behind them, noticeable because of the horns.

Suddenly the antelope take a few quick hops forward before stopping to continue pecking at the grass. The impala are in a trance. They are fixated on something behind them, so they stand at attention and look back.

We look in front, trying to figure out what they are looking at. We see nothing but tall grass with sprinkled in trees that stretched for thousands of feet onto the bottom of another hill. Something is out there, the driver tells us. The impala can sense it, which is why they are looking like this.

I get excited. Will we see the beast!

We keep driving, slowly. We’re all quiet, seven sets of eyes surveying the entire terrain in front of us. What is out there?

The driver hits the breaks. We jump. What, what is it? Where? Our heads are spinning around. He puts the truck in reverse and jumps out. He takes one step and with his hand circles a footprint. It’s a lion’s paw. Holy shit! Adrenaline is kicking in. We continue driving and I can see 6-7 more tracks before they fade away. I can’t stop looking up and out, somewhat expecting to see the tall grass moving. I see nothing.

Further along, after more wildebeest and zebras, we come to a large lake. As we find our way closer to the lake, we see at least four more hippos on the opposite side. On the near side, we see three waterbucks, and, laying behind them, a crocodile.

We begin our drive away from the water and spot a giraffe, eating a bone for calcium. We are so close, and to our left are at least four more, eating off the trees.

We’re now a little over three hours into our drive and returning to base. We see the rhino is still in it spot. After another turn, we see a family of elephants – including a tiny baby. They stay a bit away, somewhat behind trees, though they are too big to hide completely.

We’re on the last stretch and we see the impala jumping across the road again, so we slow down. Seconds later, there are a bunch of baboons playing around.

For as much as I’ve written, I think it’s difficult to describe in print how cool it is to be in the wilderness like this. To see these animals in their habitat – not in cages, not staged, not placed out here for tourists to see.

After the Safari and i regained feeling in my fingers and toes we set off to "SUN CITY" it's described as the RENO of South Africa... It's not it's not even the glitz and glamor you get in Black hawk or any Indian Casino. The view is nice but the casino needed some work. We have lunch and watch whatever match is on the TV and then decide to drop by the casino before we head home. Ryan and German hit the tables while the rest of us mill around. Ryan is doing well and as i pass his roulette table he offers me 50$ Rand (about $7 usd) so I have a seat. quickly beginners luck strikes and i find myself with over 1000$ Rand (About $125 usd) I decide this is enough to buy a ticket to tomorrows game so i walk away :)

We all depart the casino w/ more money than we've lost so over all not a bad trip.

The drive home was one for the books. The nights sky was black as can be and only being on this two lane road once i was a little nervous. We made it back fine and went straight to bed. I was exhausted and excited that we decided to head to J0-Berg in the morning and hopefully catch the Argentina vs Korea game.

Monday, June 14, 2010

USA v England

The day has come and we awake with stories and predictions from dreams of what today's results will be...
"It will be 1-0 USA" says Clint
"No, it will be 2-1 USA w/ the last goal scored in OT" Says German
"It will either be a 1-1 draw or 0-0 draw" i say
anyways, we sort out our transportation needs and await the night game.
AS we all suit up for the match we make the necessary preparations:
US Jersey-Check, US scarf-Check, Face paint-Check (this will be applied closer to game time due to the long bus ride), I take the colored hair spray and proceed to make my hair red/white/and blue. We're ready let's go!
230pm we rush to get to the towns city hall where we are to meet our bus to Rustenburg witch we are told will be an hour and half maybe two hour drive and the bus departs at 3pm.
245pm we arrive and pay for or tickets and are told the bus will now depart at 330pm. "UGHHH" so we have a few minuets to kill we look for a shop to grab some snacks and drinks.
We all grab an assortment of quality snacks and drinks. (chips/fruit/cookies/crackers/water and soda)
We return to the bus and board and we all get excited as we begin to share stories about previous World Cup experiences together.
345pm the transportation director boards the bus and says "sorry, this bus will now be leaving at 430pm just in case some is late" A roar erupts from the 40 people on the bus NOOooooo!
he insures us we will be there in two hours and there is nothing to worry about! We all soon realize our delay is to save him money because there was to be 2 buses making this trip and he can now cancel his 430 bus due to the low number of attendance. ANYWAYS 415pm we have convinced the driver to go and we hit the open road. Two hours and we'll be there ready to get our war paint on and cheer on the yanks!
Well due to poor planning and other unforeseen details of exactly how popular the world cup is there is TRAFFIC! Yes only one road in/out of the small town that host today's game. :( The only positive thing to the traffic if there was one is the men were able to get off the bus and relieve their bladder pressure on the side of the road w/ out pulling over.
So just a short 3hr into our trip the sun has gone down and we all begin to get anxious that we may not make it on time. We catch a glimpse of the stadium from the bus window and are relieved...sort of. It's 715pm and there is 45min till kick off and we are still in traffic! We start to ponder the distance of where we are from the stadium and if walking will get us there in time...15min pass and we are closer but still so far away and we've come to a spot where traffic cops are re-directing everyone...UMMM well this bus isn't having any of this re-directing nonsense and begin to vocalize our option to the drive on no matter what the cops say. GO GO GO GO GO!! he complies as we all cheer and with little hassle we proceed down the road no one else was allowed to and we are now headed in the right direction. It goes to prove the old saying "as long as you look like you know and are confident in where you are going those in power will believe you do" well we get about a half mile from the stadium and the traffic is backed up again we all have had enough and decide to walk and take our chances of not finding the bus after the game is less important than missing the kick off.
Excitedly we all walk with a quickness in our steps to the gate. There is a large number of English fans and we soon notice that many of the locals are dressed w/ English Jerseys and flags, we attribute this to them only following the EPL. Who cares the US supporters are many and high fives and chants USA USA fill the air as we walk to our seats. 805pm we enter the stadium and we discuss the need for libations. 30 $ rand for a Budweiser hummm ok, but the line is long, is it worth missing the kick off for a beer? well we each grab two and make it to our seats for kick off.
Corey and I are in row 6 behind a group of about 8 USA supporters making 10 USA fans in a section full of English fans. The game begins and we are soon instructed to have a seat. WHAT? SIT DOWN? ummmm NO THANKS! this pisses off the English fans but their goal 6min into the match keeps them happy. OH well we represent well and continue to stand. The stadium is not to the standards of High School Football stadium. The track around the field make your row 6 seats feel like row 30 and the scoreboard and big screens aren't working. This Sucks! but whatever we'll make due! The rest of our group is in the section above us witch proved after the match to be full of USA fans.
Still in the 1st half and since there is no clock I'm not sure of the exact time but we score!!!! it's tied 1-1 and the stands erupt!!! USA USA USA! We hold on for the draw which is great the US fans take as a huge victory as the English take as a huge defeat. Corey and I rejoin with the rest of our group and make our way out to try and find our bus. We find it exactly where we got off. Nice! we board and sit in traffic again but this time we are all excited and share stories of the match and photos we have taken.
It's a long bus ride home and we return to the city hall around 2am where only one of our two cabs is there it's cold and we are all starving so after waiting 30 min we decide to cram all 7 of us into 1 cab and hit the McD's drive through! It was a tight fit but we made it home after a unique drive through experience and are all head to bed happy.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

World Cup 2010 Day 1

We awake with new found energy after a 12hr nap :) i feel the jet lag is gone, and we are excited for our friends arrivals and today's matches. The B&B is AMAZING thank you "Uncle Bret" if anyone ever ventures to South Africa please check out this place "About Guest House" in Brooklyn Pretoria it's great!
After breakfast Curtis, Corey and I head to the mall to collect our tickets for the upcoming games and explore. We get our tickets USA v ENG / USA v SVN / USA v ALG and what's this???? 2 tickets to the finals on the 11th? WOW they made a mistake right? well no I guess i did.
Here's the story... back on Feb 15, 2009 at 2am when the lottery for tickets opened i placed my bid for 2 tickets to follow the USA through the world cup well it being early in the morning and me not being completely awake i chose to follow the USA and group C unconditionally!! this means Corey and I now have tickets to 7 matches in this world cup including the finals no matter who wins our group or plays in the finals :) :) :) :)
We are now two large children in a a candy store! We have to decide soon what to do about this but plan on making our decision after the England match.
We head back to the hotel to greet Bret, German, Clint and Ryan. Our group is now complete lucky #7! Bret, Corey, Curtis and Myself are all friends for more than 15yrs from Grand junction .Co. German and Clint are soccer buddies from Denver and Ryan is a good friend of Brett's
The 7 Americans here to support the USA and the game of soccer!
Game 1 the host country South Africa plays Mexico our biggest rival in the game of soccer! LET'S GO BAFANA! BAFANA (that's what they call South Africa)
We head to the fan fair near our guest house to catch the games. In a packed square full of restaurants and bars and a huge stadium sized screen we watch the games.
South Africa draws with Mexico 1-1 this is a huge result for the host county and makes the vibe here that much better. People sing and dance with no reservations!
France v Uruguay played next and also tied 0-0.
The rest of the evening was full of beers and cheers as we mingled with those around us celebrating the arrival of the world cup.
We head home around 1am to get some rest for the long awaited match up of USA v England the next day!!! Chants of USA USA USA put us to sleep.

Driving!!! or Something like that.

Ok so Curtis has decided to be the brave one of the three and be the first to try his hand at driving in SA. You need to understand our 1st challenge, driving here is very similar to the UK and other parts of Europe in that the driver drives from the right side of the car (none of us have ever done this)... OK not too difficult right we've been driving for over 15yrs and Curtis has learned his fast and furious skills of driving form Captain Lead Foot himself Marty so we feel we are in good hands, we proceed. WAIT!! it's a stick shift! enter challenge #2 you have to shift with your left hand! WTF really? ok so after a quick few laps around the airport parking garage reminding ourselves to "STAY LEFT" and signaling with the windshield wipers (those are on the side where the blinkers usually are) we feel safe to take it to the streets of South Africa. WAIT!!! Challenge #3! in our rush with excitement to get here we forgot to get a map or directions to Pretoria where we are staying. Oh well forget it! we're a couple of cowboys out for adventure so we make our way to the streets only knowing the address of the hotel and the name of the city it is in and feel this is a good enough plan so we go with it. (I'll have a great pre-driving video of Curtis to post soon)
It turns out that the streets are clearly marked and we hit the road at a swift 100km/h we figure it's close to the speed limt because we are not passing to may people or being passed either.
We make it after a few U-turns and shots of "STAY LEFT!!!" in just under an hour.
One note is that as nervous Curtis was about driving i soon found out that calling shot gun proved to be make me just as nervous riding on the left side of the car w/ out being in control... but we made it and that is all that matters :)
We check in and have a meal while we wait for our rooms to be ready and then pass out! Good night SA the rest of the group arrives in the morning and the first game of 2010 World Cup is at 4pm!!!!!

Our Jorney begings World Cup 2010...Travel Days

After boarding our flight our excitement for the trip was soon stalled just 5 hrs into the 16 hr flight. Don't get me wrong the 10 inch screen in the seat back loaded with the latest movies and music were great it's just strange to see what I thought was a beautiful sunset turned out to be the sun rise and after 3 glasses of wine and a decent lamb dinner it's time for nap number one.
Arrived in Dubai just a short 16 and half hours after leaving LA, it was around 7pm, we took a shuttle to our lavish Millennium Airport Hotel. Dubai was a very hot and humid place. It reminded me of the deep south hot and sticky no matter what time of day. We checked into our suite (all 10x8 of it) and went out to explore. We soon found out that we were miles away from anything worth checking out and with only 5 hrs left on our short 8 yr layover we chose to stay close to our hotel and found our choices were a Mexican Catina or a British Pub... We chose the pub figuring we may meet a few English fans there and we could talk some smack about the up coming game or at least get back at them by drinking their beer. No luck on any limey fans so we had a few pints and went back to our "cell" where we caught 2 hrs of rest and a shower then headed back to the airport. I'm not knocking the hotel at all it was a great place but the room was small and the beds were more like the bed i slept in when i was 10, however the shower was much needed and appreciated.
Day 3
Well I'm calling this day 3 because it feels like it.!
We board our flight to JNB along with a hand full of US Supporters And double the amount of Mexico Supporters And man was this an interesting flight, in the short 8hr flight many people in the back of the plane Including Corey and myself were unable to sleep due to the impromptu "Catina" that was formed my the Mexico fans...and MANN did they drink. They chatted loudly and cheered, but their passion for the sport is what this trip is all about so we didn't mind too much and the often stumbles due to intoxication and turblance was intertaining.
We arrived in Johannesburg excited to meet up with Curtis and begin our world cup experience. Curtis so kindly waited 2 hrs for us to arrive and greeted us with a huge smile. We quickly proceeded to collect our rental car and head to our hotel. We knew it would be a challenge after we got our "mid sized" rental... Hummmm "mid sized" must no mean the same in this country as it does in the US because this shoe box w/ wheels was anything but mid sized! and as we all know I'm not a small man (never was) so we cramed ourselves into our Hyundai Atos and our South African Experiences begun. (Pictures will be posted soon)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Getting Ready for SA210

Departure Day and excitement has set in but so has some sadness as i prepare to leave Cooper and Kelli for the first time and its for 3 weeks :(. Hopefully I'll be able to finds something that will make the time go by quick. i'll miss them a lot but the world and I have been waiting 1,456 days for this trip. As i finalize my packing I somehow feel i'm forgetting something, let's see hummm i have...
my passport, international drivers license, 1-American Flag, 1-Crazy Uncle Sam hat, 3-USA Jerseys (not sure if that will be enough but hoping so), 2-USA Jackets (it will be winter there), I-pod, headphones, 2-pair of jeans, 7-pair of socks, 10- T-shirts, deck of cards and my over night bag.
OH! and a crap load of my favorite snacks! and i'm pretty sure i've over did it with the snacks, i have an entire crafty spread in my backpack.
All of this packed up into 1-checked bag and 2 carry ons, and yes it could of all fit into one bag but after a recent dilemma with checked baggage so i've decided to carry on the important stuff. (a change of clothes and anything that has to do w/ USA soccer)
In only 3 short hrs I will join my travel partner Corey at LAX (he's flying in from Denver) and we will board our 16 hr flight to Dubai. I've never been on a flight this long and not really looking forward to it but having a 9hr layover in Dubai is exciting since i'm sure i'll never get to Dubai again. Then we're off to Johannesburg to meet up with Curtis where the adventures will begin. Stay tuned for pictures and videos as we chase the World Cup 20101

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Time has come

Well the time has come for our trip.
I've decided to create this blog so friends and family can follow along and keep up with the adventures as 4 old friends from a very small town in western Colorado reunite on the other side of the world to watch the worlds most popular sporting event. The WORLD CUP 2010 South Africa!!!!
Stay tuned for the adventures of Corey, Bret, Curtis and me Jimmy P!