For those of you dreading the sound of the Vuvuzelas throughout the World Cup games, bear a thought for your poor correspondent in Johannesburg. Kept up all night, every fucking night by them blaring away in the street outside my lodge.
But I guess being away from home, following the greatest tournament on earth from start to finish, I shouldn’t moan too much.
A long long flight via Cairo has been followed by a few days of relaxing in Johannesburg before heading out to follow L’Albirrojas. Having procured tickets for all of Paraguay’s games I’ll be folllowing each of them to try and catch a glimpse of Wigan Athletics newest signing, Antolin “The Traz” Alcaraz. I’ll be investigating Martinez’s claims of the Traz being a ‘stalwart of the Paraguayan defence’. Six caps seems to suggest more ‘bitpartwart’ but I’ll hold off judgment for the time being.
Speaking on which, the signing of Alcaraz means that Latics now have five players at the World Cup. Ok two of them might be crap goalkeepers, but would you have ever imagined the day? Five players representing little Wigan Athletic at the World Cup? Admittedly I had hopes of Don Page and Mark Hilditch making the Italia 90 squad but other than that, you’d have never even dreamed of this day.
Anyway, yesterday was spent on a tour around the township of Soweto. We jumped onto the minibus to be greeted by a couple of English guys, who informed us they were here, ‘sort of as journalists’. “Which paper are you writing for?” I enquired. “We’re making a video diary for The Sun” “The Sun? Pah. I’m blogging for Notapatchon”. They looked on, mightily impressed and we had a good chat about the mighty Latics before realising one of them was actually the Greek guy from Shooting Stars. The other one was Rufus Jones star of Extras and Katy Brands show..his newest programme is BBC 3’s We are Mongrels. I’ve not seen it but apparently its “about puppets that swear a lot”.
We were later joined on the bus by a couple of Mexicans and a few Yanks.
“How do you think you’ll do?” was the first question asked of the Mexicans.
“I think we’ll struggle” one of them modestly replied. “I’d be surprised if we get past the group stages. How about you?”
“Well, by looking at the route we might take if and when we win the group, I’d say we should get to the semis no problem” said the deluded Yank. Cue high 5’s and shouts of GO TEAM USA! Tomorrow I shall have two deal with 20,000 of these idiots.
The day continued with a tour the townships. It’s a weird place. Some of the residents are now coming into a bit of money but decide to stay living in Soweto. So you have all these new mansions built right next door to tin shacks. We’ve yet to encounter any of the dangers that everyone warns you about before coming to South Africa. Everyone, especially around the townships were warm and friendly. Around the corner from the house where Winnie Mandela killed a few kids a woman was coming out of her shack.
“Any chance of a brew? These lads are gasping”, Jimmy the tour guide rudely shouted.
“Would they not prefer beer?” she replied. And back in she went, bringing us back out 12 bottles of cold cider, not asking for a penny, just a big smile on her face knowing she’d managed to quench our thirst for the next half hour.
The tour finished on the street where Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu used to live. Jimmy, our tour guide told us that a local chav had nicked Tutu’s Nobel peace prize..a gold chain type thing and was now blinging it up as lord of the slums.
I’m writing this now after another vuvuzela affected sleep and today is the day it all begins. Wasn’t able to pick up tickets for the opening game so we’re just about to head off to Sandton to watch it on the big screens at the Fan Fest, will report back later.
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