Journey to Rustenburg part 1

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The last two world cups in Germany and Japan were obviously too efficient for Fifa so they decided to head to a country that could be described as a lot of things, efficent not being one of them.

Public transport is virtually non existent and I’ve already spoke about the trouble involved in getting around locally. Nationally it’s just as bad. There are coach services between the major cities, such as Johannesburg and Cape Town but if you want to head to somewhere like Rustenburg, there is usually no way of doing it unless you’ve got your own car.

There were many complaints about this before the World Cup so Fifa decided to placate the fans and put on their own amazing Match Day Service.

This service, ‘MDS’ as they snazzily named it, consisted of a bus running from a piece of scrub land in the middle of the most dangerous part of the city. Now, I’m not sure how they went about setting up this service but I have an inkling it went something like this:

Fifa #1: “What are we gonna do about staff for the MDS? The only people qualified to run anything like this are already in employment”

Fifa #2: “Lets go out into the townships, there’ll be loads of people begging for work”

Fifa head into townships and are soon surrounded by a crowd of people, mainly dressed in rags and old premier league shirts, gawping on.

Fifa #1: “Ok, we’re looking for some volunteers for work”

Volunteer #1: “Please mister, I would like work, I have my own car”

Fifa #2: “Sorry, that’s not what really what we’re looking for. Is there anyone who has never set foot behind the wheel of an automobile before?”

Volunteer #2: “Me”

Fifa #1: “Ok, the jobs yours. Here’s the keys. the coach is over there. You’re on your own now”.

The day began earlier, with 20 minutes before we had to leave the hotel for the bus to Rustenburg and the hotel manager asks for the keys to our lodge.

“I’ll give you the keys tomorrow when we check out”

“You check out today. you only book up til today”

An argument ensues and it turns out he’s double booked the room for the day. Anyone with any common sense would allow us to stay as we’ve had it booked for 9 months and have already been there for 3 nights but he continues to argue that we must leave. Time is now running out and we either continue arguing and miss our bus or we let him try and find somewhere else for us. He rings one place after another and they’re all booked up. with about 2 minutes to spare, he finally finds somewhere. We chuck everything into our cases, jump into a taxi, drive down to the new hotel, lob our bags in then speed down to where the bus leaves from.

And so it began. We left Johannesburg. Or attempted to as the driver struggled to maneuver his way out and headed towards Rustenburg.A hour later we pull up at the side of the road in the middle of nowhere and the driver turns the engine off. It’s early days yet so no one has plucked up the courage to ask the driver what he’s doing. After an hour though someone finally decides its time to find out what the fuck is going on.

“I need pick someone up. I think they wait here” replied the driver.

“Who do you need to pick up?? The only pick up place was the bus station, it’s a direct service to Rustenburg, you need to get going now before we miss the game” replies and American at the front of the bus.

So the bus continues for a couple of hours and we start to see signs for Rustenburg. then the driver does it again.

“What the fuck are you doing now” shouts the increasingly irate American. “It’s a hour and half til kick off, why have you stopped here??”

“I need pick someone up. I think they wait here” replied the driver.

“No you DON’T need to pick somebody up, you need to get to the fucking stadium NOW”

“Ok, ok I go” replies the confused driver.

5 minutes later he does it again. Pulls over in an abandoned car park and switches the engine off.

Now at this point the English are just sitting there quietly, the usual reserved stereotype, not wanting to say anything to the driver. We would have probably sat there all day long, so thank fuck for the brash Americans on board.

“For the love of fucking god, what the fuck are you doing now. will you drive to the fucking stadium??”

“I can’t”

“What the fuck do you mean you can’t???”

“I not know where stadium is. I not know where I am now”

“Jesus fucking christ, are you for real??”

He is then told in no uncertain terms that he should turn the engine back on and start driving again immediately. Half an hour later with the help of a few people roadside we finally make it in site of the stadium. We’re stuck in big trraffic jams now and the Americans, who are reminding me more and more of Rugby fans by the day with their all in one replica tracksuits and painted faces are eager to get off the bus in case they miss the beginning of the match.

They all pile to the front of the bus and ask the driver can they get off.

“Give us your phone number and we’ll call you after the game, you can let us know where you’ve parked.”

Every single English person on the bus sits dead still, no doubt thinking exactly the same thing. If we get off now, without seeing where he’s parked. We aren’t getting back on this bus. I’d rather miss the start of the match than be stuck in this shithole.

To be continued…

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