U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S ... hey, where is everyone?
Every game thus far has been a madhouse (at least in the media centre) many hours before kickoff. Morris and I just pulled in to Ellis Park for USA-Slovenia in five hours and it looks like the Blue Jays pressbox in August (heeeey-O!).
Police now completely in charge of security at these venues, and they may be reading their bad press. For the first time in ten days, my credential was checked against my face. Must be said though - the staff here continue to be the most charming I've ever encountered, unbelievably friendly.
The cop at the metal detector asked where we were from.
"Canada," I said.
"Oh, Canada," he smiled. "I'd love to get just one thing to remember Canada."
Everywhere else, this means a pin or a small keepsake. But Morrris and I have become deeply (and probably uselessly) paranoid over the last few days here, so we gave each other that, "Is he asking us for a bribe?" look.
A couple of days ago, we asked our local driver, Fana, how bribing the cops works here. Fana was busy discussing how traffic tickets work, and we wondered, "Can you just pay to get out of a ticket?"
"Of course, you can!" Fana said, happy that we weren't quite as stupid as we look.
So how does that work?
"They will ask you, but not ask you," Fana said. "They will say to you - well, in my language it means, 'Talk to me like a man'."
Talk to me like a man. Is that the same as, 'I'd love to get something to remember you by.'
No, it's not.
And sadly, we had nothing. The cop just smiled and wished us a pleasant day.
We get in the centre, and there's some flirty guy giving out small Honduras coin pouches. I'm sitting here seething with jealousy.
"Oooooh, Honduras," all the volunteers coo as he hands out his wretched little pouches.
First, they take our CONCACAF spot here. And now this.