After a Wednesday morning that started like all of our others: breakfast, showers, outfit coordination and email checks, we arranged for the hotel’s shuttle driver, Thierry, to take us to the Apartheid Museum.
Let me pause for a second to tell you about how awesome Thierry is: very awesome. He takes us to games and picked us up at the airport. Always cheerful. Always laughing at Lauren’s jokes. He’s definitely made our lives here much easier. And we’ve certainly paid him for that privilege.
So, anyway, Thierry dropped us off at the Apartheid Museum for a few hours.
Even after visiting the museum, I still find it inconceivable that apartheid fell only 16 years ago. 16 years!
The museum itself was well done. It was a little crowded, I thought, but we still took a great deal away from it. There is so much information – I’m sure that I only soaked up a tiny percentage of what was presented – on both the rise and the fall of the apartheid museum. I definitely left with a greater understanding of South Africa and its history. I wouldn’t hesitate to go back if I’m ever in Johannesburg again.
Thierry picked us up outside of the museum (on African time, of course). He told us that he was looking for our blonde hair. That’s all we are here. Blonde bombshells freak shows. Now I know how Jessica Simpson feels.
We got back to the hotel with less than an hour until we were supposed to leave for the Ghana/Germany match. It was a quick turnaround. We changed into our Germany jerseys. Packed up our tickets and our cameras. Ran to the restaurant for a quick snack (chicken strips for Lauren and a quesadilla for me), caught just a bit of the two Group C final games (USA/Algeria and England/Slovakia) and got on the shuttle.
Wednesday was day of the final group stage games for Group C and Group D. When we left for the game, USA was tied with Algeria, 0-0, and it looked like the American team would be going home. Thierry had the game on the radio in shuttle and we listened nervously as time ticked down. What a shame.
We were on the highway when the game entered injury time. We were stuck in traffic, inching along. The shuttle was just driving past a fan park – where the games were projected onto big screens – when the Americans scored.
For us and for Landon Donovan.
Lauren and I were both a little shocked. All this time, we had assumed that we would be watching England in the Round of 16. And now we had a reason to use the temporary tattoos we hadn’t used at the USA/Slovakia game. Hurray!
With plenty to be excited about, we entered Soccer City to watch Germany/Ghana.
As has become pattern, the African fans were loud and proud. There were a lot of German fans in attendance, too. Unlike the Mexico fans, no Germans tried to tell us that we didn’t look German. Go figure. A few tried to speak to us in German, as a matter of fact. We smiled and nodded and definitely could’ve used Betsy or Meredith’s translation services.
The Germany/Ghana game was a fun one to watch. Germany’s goalie, Manuel Neuer, plays like a complete madman. While the score was only 1-0, both teams had a good number of quality scoring chances. We had category 3 tickets for the game, our lowest price/category tickets, and I swear that they were equal or better to some of the category 2 tickets we had. Go figure.
There is no explaining FIFA.