So back with some internet that works faster than dial up.
I am currently in Nelspruit in a massive new shopping centre, i know there are heaps of far more interesting things to see than a mall but i had to write this blog, so here it goes.
The final two days in Zambia were incredible. The cruise up the Zambezi River was spectacular. We saw a crocodile and a family of hippos from about 30m away. At first they were just bubbles on the water and the occaisional nostril sticking out. Then all of a sudden there were 6 hippos! two adults and four babies, well not babies, they were all pretty massive. Quite the highlight and also the beautiful sunset on the savanna.
The white water rafting down the rapids was a ridiculous amount of fun. It was pretty darn cold in that water - a few of us aussie blokes braved the icy waters with just our board shorts and life vest. Bahhh, we scoffed, we don't need the wetsuits. I kind of regretted it once we were in the water. Right at the beginning of the rafting we stopped to the side and all did a 8m cliff jump into the water. Brilliant! And then the rapids started. We didn't have any massive fallings out, except our guide which was interesting looking back in the boat and not seeing him. The biggest rapid we skillfully paddled through was a grade 5 rapid. That was pretty fun. A couple of times the guide let us jump in the water and just drift down the river... So awesome. You don't realise just how powerful the water is until your trying to swim against it back to the boat.
So after the rapids i had booked myself into the gorge swing. Basically it's a 53m drop where you hold onto a rope (which is attached to your harness) and just step off the ledge. I am saving myself for the massive bungy when i head to Cape Town. The biggest in the world. So this was a good teaser for whats to come.
I had a beer with the staff and then head back to town with them in the back of the ute. There was about 16 in the back... and i was up the front, I think I ate about 20 different types of bug.
The following morning the girls and I got up early and check out the magnificent Victoria Falls. We walked all the way around the falls (the bits that you pathed) and then down to the bottom, to The Devils Pool. I gotta tell you it was breathtakingly beautiful.
We checked out and headed back to the airport and to my amazement they had a "Qanats Club Lounge". It looked like the rest of the airport but with slightly better couches and free drinks. For snacks they had chips and popcorn! Loved it, it was like a kids party.
We arrived at the house, should i say mansion, early afternoon and was greeted with huge back yard and a kick of the footy. We scored pretty well with the house. All the people i am staying with are ripping people who like a laugh and their soccer. The first night was eventful. Had dinner at a Greek restaurant at some massive mall called Melrose Arch, all out doors with a huge screen to watch the soccer and also a live band on the stage. Ended up in the Heinekin bar and let's just say, had a lot of fun.
The next day we jumped on the bus/van. 14 under the weather individuals took the long... long... journey to Rustenburg to cheer on our beloved Socceroos. I think we must have gone the wrong way, because what was meant to be an hour and a half drive turned into nearly 3 and a bit hours! Still made it in time for the game. What I am loving/hating most about South Africa is that they weren't quite ready to have this World Cup, in my opinion. Nobody really knows whats going on, and when we were asked to stop by the police and asked for our carpark pass, we pretty much Jedi mind tricked him and drove through the road block. Classic.
One should also be told that the stadium is actually in a place called Phokeng (pronounced, well... you know), which is probably why they have just said Rustenburg to be less offensive.
The atmosphere was electric and our seats once again were prime! Thanks Emma. Once again, we were absolutely livid when the ref brought out his red card so early in the match. I think there is obviously some type of vendetta against The Socceroos. Two red cards to our two best players. Watched the replay when we got home (after massive drive home!) and clearly saw there was no red card needed.
A little more cheerful after the game then the last time. 1-1 seemed ok, but the win was so so close. Keep Kennedy on the pitch and i reckon we're a chance of winning.
Checked out the Apartheid museum the next day which was quite amazing. What a life Nelson Mandela has lived. And what a difference he has made not only in South Africa but around the world. What i couldn't get my head around was how Apartheid was brought in 1948 3 years after WWII had finished. A war that was brought upon by the oppression of a race. I can't believe nothing was done by the rest of the world to stop it.
I ended up having quite a heated discussion last night here in Nelspruit with a white south african lady. She pretty much told me Nelson was a terrorist and a white hating monger. But she had liked what he did for the country whilst in power. It's a crazy place in which segregation still exists even though apartheid does not.
Anyhoo, I some how managed to get tickets to the Brazil v ivory Coast game the other night at Soccer City and damn that place is awesome (the stadium that is, the travel and security logistics are not). Our seats were right on the halfway line, pretty much, and i witnessed, along with 94,000 others, some of the greatest talent in the world that night. 3-1 which was nearly 5-1.
Caught up with my mate Ed, who is over here working on this ONE GOAL initiative. It's about raising awareness of education, or lack of, in impoverish countries. It's a tremendous cause... check out http://www.join1goal.org/.
So, that brings me to now... Nelspruit. Just bought myself a Bafana Bafana soccer jersey to wear to the FANFEST this afternoon. South Africa needs to win by about 3 goals i think to continue in the tournament. Big fun ahead. Australia plays Serbia tomorrow night. Oh and we are getting picked up really early tomorrow morning because we are going on Safari at Kruger National Park! Can't wait.
Hope all is well in your world.
Go Socceroos and Go Hawks. I hear they are on a massive winning streak.