well, last night i went off to my second and presumably final game of a certain event being held here. and what a venue to go to for such an event too - it's easily one of the finest, awe inspiring venues i have ever been to!
if you want a short version, the evening started off interestingly, took a rather bad turn, had a happy and fortunate ending to the bad turn and then ended up being a spectacular evening.
the interesting start was arriving at the park and ride venue, the most splendid Wits University Campus, and being presented with a gift from a student there. the student made it clear that it was part of their "HIV Lifestyle" project, and thus i was not surprised to receive a tin of condoms. i just shoved them in my pocket and thought nothing more of it, but Dad seemed rather enamoured by the gift.
when i asked him why he was so happy with them (which in retrospect was a brave question), he said that he thought it was brilliant that they were giving him a tin of mints to take with him to the game. when i pointed out that they were not in fact mints he looked somewhat alarmed and soon got rid of the gift!
onwards, then, to our destination. our bus drove us right up to the stadium, and then 3 or so kilometers right past it to our parking location! quite a walk to get to it in the end, but by my word it was really worth it to see the place in all its glory!
sadly, it was at the stadium that things took a bad turn. petty crime (if any crime could be considered petty) is, alas, rife at major venues and events, and so it came to be that i was the victim of a pickpocket. well, i was briefly the victim of a pickpocket; a pickpocket who must surely be considered, after you have read how this turned out, to be the single stupidest criminal in history.
for reasons best known to himself, this pickpocket decided that the ideal to strike at me was at the main entrace to the stadium. this main entrance is noted for two things - having more light that all the Christmas trees in the world going at once and being heavily populated by police & security officers. how fortunate that i felt the guy take it and grabbed him, only to find that a couple of police officers had seen him and grabbed him too!
my wallet, happily, was thus returned in moments when the main officer searched him, and he was whisked off to a cell. i went along to make a statement, and it was at this point that the criminal made his case for being incredibly stupid. the line of defence he went for was that he was the victim of an "unlawful arrest" because - get this - one of the officers arresting him was a woman. yeah, that's a good one!
so, at this point then, a very big thank you and well done indeed to the law and safety enforcement officers at this event! criminals were warned not to try anything because reprisals would be both swift and severe, this is certainly the case!
a distinctly unpleasant experience, then, but one that had a fortunate and good ending (except, you would hope, for the idiot criminal), and not something that was going to stop us enjoying the evening!
as for the match itself, well, the reviews and results are all over the place i would expect, so let me instead share with you a few of the few pictures i took inside the ground - needless to say, i wasn't in all that much of a mood to take too many images!
once inside the place it really is breathtaking. especially, i suppose, if you get a police escort through the VIP area so that you are not inconvenienced any further!
other than the actual match, there were some pretty interesting sites to see, really. a particularly curious case was that of the gent wearing a Yamaka. i would not be sure which side between Germany and Ghana he was supporting, but he seemed to be smiling at the result as he left!
there was also a rather large Ghana flag on display with "Luton" written across it in absolutely massive letters. i would very much like to meet the chap who you would assume moved from Ghana to the tropical appeals of Luton Town, only to head back this way to follow his team!
one of the oddest sites was probably a gang of England fans. it's not so much that they were there that's odd, it is their passionate, joyful celebrations and flag waving when Germany scored and eventually won. either they are brimming with confidence for reasons that i cannot comprehend from what i have seen of England thus far, or they were simply unaware of what Germany's win meant for England. i guess they will find out this Sunday....
so, there you have it. a colourful night out, and one that did not end quite as late as the time in Rustenburg! it was great to go and see it with my Dad, who was as entertaining as ever! i am now too tired and too broke to go to any of the other games, quite frankly, but shall enjoy watching the rest on TV!
and, to answer a few questions - Scott, no we did not have any ginger biscuits, Eddie no we did not need to try and earn 50p or R50 in any manner you suggested and Gillian, oh yes i shall probably be posting my tin to you at some point!
be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!