In Cape Town, but I gotta ask someone first to make sure
It has gone from absolutely pouring rain overnight and into the morning to drizzle to patches of blue and then back to biblical deluge here in Cape Town ahead of tonight's Italy-Paraguay. That sort of steady Vancouver-style winter rain that is just another reference point that comes to mind in comparing this place to Johannesburg, where the sun is shining as the Dutch meets the Danes in Soweto's Soccer City.
Jo'burg is all hustle – Cape Town is laid back. Jo'burg sprawls – here, at least the downtown and waterfront area – is more compact. Jo'burg is urban and weathered – Cape Town is ocean and Table Mountain. Meantime, Robben Island is off in the distance almost obscured by the low clouds and rain. You can barely see it.
In the tourist waterfront area where my wonderful guesthouse manager Renate has volunteered to drop me off at, the original plan was to walk to the V&A Waterfront Hotel for the media shuttle to the stadium.
“Just around the corner,” said the helpful security guy, walking me and pointing.
“Just over the bridge and a little bit to the left,” said the guy around the corner, coming along to make sure then beckoning left.
“Over through that breezeway,” said little-bit-to-the-left guy (to the right of another guy, his mate, in the familiar yellow vests), the rain picking up now.
“Just through there,” said the guy outside the breezeway, pointing through an arcade.
This was getting fun. I was early, had lots of time, wanting to make the Dutch kickoff on TV.
Outside the arcade, I ask a couple more security guys.
“Just around that corner.”
And finally, I'm standing in front of a grey building. I need a wet suit if I'm out here any longer, back in front of the other side of that arcade.
“You're right in front of it,” the next one says, “But the stadium's right over there. Just cross the street, bear left and you're there.” Oh. Now you tell me. Ten minutes later – yeah, more directions, but at least now I can see the stadium – I'm here. Soaked, but happy.
This reminds me. This morning I spent 45 minutes turning my room upside down looking for my passport. Called last night's driver Yusuf who brought me in. Went down and asked Renate, and searched the kitchen/office and breakfast room of the guest house. Went back and turned the room over again. Getting sweaty now, with visions of a trip to the Canadian consulate - do they accept a FIFA media badge at airport security? Picked up the laptop loaded down with two notebooks, a power card, a pen, a blue manila folder stuffed with bumph. Hmmm. Lifted up the notebooks - and of course there it was.
Directions? I need them to get around my room.
As for the World Cup fever, I guess it's too early. Or they're out getting directions. Expect it will pick up later – locals partied hard all day Friday at the fan parks around town for Green Point Stadium's first game, Uruguay-France in a 0-0 thriller. Well, it got under-better Perkins laughing and scratching, anyway.
Your morning smile: Today's daily email from 442 magazine notes that some outfit called “Championship Manager” has Italy beating Argentina 1-0 in the final. I wouldn't bet that, but I'd certainly book it.