03 July 2010


The best thing about Europe so far

Without the Socceroos to follow we didn't feel there was much need to hang around South Africa. We tried to get to the New Zealand game in Polokwane the day after our game against Serbia but for some reason it was not our destiny to get to watch them. Firstly we tried to watch the Italy vs NZ game the week before but due to the friendly robbers in Rustenburg we spent the morning at the cop shop rather than driving and arrived too late. This time we got an early start but busted a tyre about 100km into the drive, that wasn't too bad, put the spare on and kept going. Then 40 minutes out of Polokwane our spare went too. Being stuck somewhere in South Africa with only 3 wheels, your brother, your Dad and two donkeys eating grass for 3 hours isn't all that exciting. We eventually got back on the road again and arrived in Polokwane with about 5 minutes of game time to go. 

I'm now safe and sound in Switzerland. The land of clockwork is a funny place to end up after being in South Africa. Here the toilets flush, the paper cups don't leak and there are no random fires burning on the side of the road. In fact everything works so damn perfectly that it makes me miss the harmonious chaos of South Africa! 

I miss the charm and erratic behaviour, the sweet exchanges with proud locals, the kangaroo comments, shakin booties and rhythm but I cannot deny that Europe really knows whats going on. World Cup is on and if you hated the sport you might just want to kill yourself (or find a redneck town in South Africa). Every shop has a plasma screen TV viewing the games, supermarkets, department stores, shops on the street. Every child wears their preferred jersey. When England lost and the Germans won you knew about it. Luckily for me I love this sport and the European football culture makes me feel right at home. 

For now I think project Girl Meets Ball can go to sleep… It's been lots of fun sharing my trip to South Africa, but now I had better get on with the rest of my ideas. I'll be in Europe for two more weeks and will then be moving to London. 

Feel free to comment and say hi! I hope you enjoyed the ride.

Thanks and goodbye 

The Swiss won in the gummibear World Cup!

Germany just scored their 3rd goal against England

I was in Paris on Wednesday and found their Fifa Fan Fest, I thought Sydney's was in a good location! Imagine watching France get knocked out of the group stage here... 

A poster in Paris

30 June 2010

Out the window in South Africa

A journey of pictures from the roads we travelled. 

Drakensberg Ranges






Sunsets never look quite as beautiful in a picture


We bought a little Rhino off this guy in exchange for 20R, plus my supply of apples and Ouma Rusks



28 June 2010

Nelspruit; Australia vs Serbia

Hmm what to say about all of this? I can say that it does suck to be all the way over here and be knocked out. My little romantic heart was wishing for a miracle but unfortunately things didn't go our way this time. A win is what we needed and the boys did really well to do that, but in the end it was a bit of a stretch to hope for Germany to pump Ghana like they did us. 

Post-match everyone was quite relaxed. There weren't too many sad faces and everyone was happy to celebrate the win against the Serbs regardless. A few were looking for answers. Was it the ref? Maybe Pim? Some of the players? Are they too old? Were we just not good enough? No point blaming anything or anyone. There are far too many factors involved to go pinning down something in particular, it could have just as easily gone the other way, say if Ghana beat Germany by just one goal, then everyone would shut up and not even think of who to blame! Football is fickle. It's here to entertain us, the show finished a little sooner than we wished, but I was entertained nonetheless!

A relative of Shazza! Someone seemed to have donated their Kangaroo to this kiddy. 

Nelspruit was quite a neat little town. They did their best to put on a good show and blitzed Rustenburg by a long way. It felt like they were actually expecting people to be in their town! Transport was better and people were more friendly and welcoming.

The stadium was nice and intimate, the seating was so close to the sideline, the subs hardly had enough room to warm-up on the edge. The atmosphere was very Aussie orientated with big panels of Gold and Green and very few Serbians to be seen. Slight setback getting food and drinks, partly the Australians' fault, due to Aussies throwing (plastic) bottles of beer onto the ground in Rustenburg all the beer had to be poured into cups which made getting beer a 20-30 minute wait before kickoff and at half time. So thanks to those spaz's for contributing to that! Our two goals came in quick succession and the Aussie fans were suddenly alive and well, this is what we came to see! The block I was in was abuzz with text messages in reporting from the Germany/Ghana game. We had a chance!! I was about 15 seats away from the Aussie bench, Pim was yelling back to his crew in the first row, rather keen to know the score as well. 

Made a habit of running into SBS presenters of my youth; Stephanie Brantz and Simon Hill

This guy begged me to take a picture of him! So had to put him on!

Another highlight which I failed to capture, but will never leave my mind was the erratic Serbian bench. Every ref whistle or chance they had on goal in the last 20 minutes of the game made for hilarious bench watching. All 15 or so, coach, managers, assistants, players etc would jump up and go absolutely mental, throwing their hands up and jumping, hitting, kicking anything they could see. At one point, when they had one good chance, the whole lot of the subs basically ran down the sideline alongside their striker screaming and yelling, willing the ball to get in the net. The poor sideline ref whose job was to calm the benches down had a difficult time. 

Anyway, that is that. We're out. I think we've had a pretty good run considering and can look forward to some new fresh players coming through for the Asian Cup. 

A confession to make

One part of my trip, that is kind of a major part of my trip, that I've been keeping a secret is my style of accommodation. And I tell you it is all style here baby! Hillbilly, white trash, yeeharing, hooting Campervanning pleasure. Thats right, we're doing South Africa 2010 in movable house!

I think I didn't quite want to admit it to the public just in case the whole idea backfired, but then again if we do get hijacked (just putting it out there) I'm sure the media would make that very public so I had to admit it one day (crossing fingers this doesn't happen). Now that I'm here and still alive I thought I'd share and, apart from the minor Rustenburg mishap, it's been extremely cruisey and I'm loving the camping lifestyle. 

Move where you like and sleep where you like… I wouldn't say she's the most finely tuned design but this baby has been getting us around just fine! Plus I've become a pretty low maintenance female which will make most future life living scenarios feel like luxury! 

Dad was rather well organised and got his sign maker to put together some perfect banners. Slightly attention seeking, but it warms the locals right up… Even if some don't quite know what that animal is, they like the beer he's holding. 

I wonder when I will be a free-range chicken once again? 
On the roof. Found out later that we weren't supposed to get out of car. Sorry Kruger!
Sunny Durban
Somewhere in Africa

These guys made themselves at home! 

21 June 2010


Well thank the Football Gods that we're outta there… Now, I remember at the start of the journey pointing out that I would come across some beautiful but also some ugly events here in South Africa. I can confirm that Rustenburg, for the larger part was unfortunately the latter of the two.

On the way to the stadium

Somehow things just didn't quite connect in the town. The locals and even event staff didn't really know what was what and we were often sent on little detours around the town, at times getting 3 different directions for the one location. Getting to the stadium was a shambles. We knew we had to find the 'Park and Ride' but there was little signage to be seen. Plus no public transport at all. We got there in the end. We found the stadium a fair way out of town, strangely juxtaposed around a suburb of small shanty town homes with corrugated iron walls and not much else. 

Rustenburg Fifa Fan Fest before GHANA vs AUS. This place should have been full... = bad planning!

Now, to the game, quite beautiful in parts, but ultimately such a disappointment. The Aussie fans were once again in full bloom, taking over the stadium and trying to take over the Vuvuzelas. Our first 2010 World Cup goal by Holman was a huge relief, even if it was from a set piece I was very glad to see it happen! Then came the slimy wretched red card for Kewell's 'shoulder ball'. Strange that it is once again an Italian that causes Australia such unjust misery. I feel that they are conspiring against us. In the stadium it's always confusing to figure out exactly what has happened because they don't play replays as to not stir up the crowd when a big decision is made. In came the report text message from Mum back home to say it looked pretty suss. The Aussie fans were livid. Budweiser beer bombs hurling onto the ground was not a pretty sight…

Found Andrew Orsatti, ex-SBS reporter, works for ESPN in the US now.

Instead of being glum bums we got a bunch of the Aussies together and found a bar that was a tip off from a local. We found ourselves deep in thick and sticky Afrikaans White Supremacist, Rugby lovin' territory. What fun! The Aussies stuck together and had a good time but it was hard to avoid the constant niggling Yarpies in our ear. I can honestly say we could not have one conversation with them that didn't involve the locals repulsing at the fact that there was a Football World Cup going on (actually, many basically tried to blank it from their minds), or hurling racist remarks in many shapes and forms. Earlier in the day when we asked one guy for directions to the stadium he replied with 'oh, you mean the newly built Rugby stadium?'… Now I have no problem with Rugby, but there is a time and a place and it's probably not at the Football World Cup, try New Zealand next year… It completely baffles me that these people can not embrace the fact that the whole world is coming together to celebrate the World Cup in their country, regardless if they like it or not, it is a beautiful thing. 

This is not to say at all that this is a representation of everyone. Many other South Africans we've met have been absolutely charming and helpful, plus many warnings were sent our way that we might experience this type of person in the smaller towns. Every country has them!

To top off a strange 24 hours in Rustenburg our evening was spoilt in a way that maybe we were almost expecting eventually. I won't get right into the gritty, let's just say it was our turn - went out to by a new GPS today amongst other things…. Thankfully my 24 pack of Crayola colours is still securely in my possession. 

FREAKIN amazing KIWI pride right here by the way. I'm claiming my half All Whites side to the bank! Soothes the pain from Italy vs Australia back in 2006!

Follow other World Cup lovers!
-Check out Vijay Khurana and Dom Knight's Triple J 'World Cup Safari' podcasts for World Cup fun of the audio kind. 
-The boys from www.onofficial.com are also covering the events here in South Africa in a colourful way, follow them for some more fun! 

20 June 2010

Delayed Update

Drove 2 hours north to St Lucia, a quaint costal town known for it's hippos and crocodiles. In keeping with my father's traditional swagger we were not permitted to join in on any 'tour group' scenarios so we went hunting out on our own! We saw: hippos, monkeys, dung beetles, fuzzy caterpillars, antelope, zebra, wildebeest, hogs and one single glimpse of an amazing leopard! 




Headed back to Durban to meet some long lost cousins from my Mum's side. They treated us to a very South African Braai at their beautiful home. So nice to be able to have a break from the quick side street bites we've been having and have a yummy, hearty home cooked meal!


Attempted to get tickets to Spain v Switzerland but failed miserably. Everyone else had the same idea. Swiss ended up causing biggest upset of tournament so far beating Spain 1-0. Boy were they feeling it. The Swiss walked around as if their cat just died. We found one out of the ordinary fella, a Swiss Monkey!


Drove to the Drakensburg Ranges. Really stunning and also FREEZING! Saw Zebras running free (as they should).


Made it to Rustenburg. Lets see what this place is about… Apparently we are up for a cosy -6 tonight. Yeeoouuch. 

- Saw a leopard on the streets of St. Lucia. Absolutely amazing, a local said they had not seen one in the wild for in 20 years. 
- First real South African Braai
- Hilarious Swiss
- Gumboot dancing
- Random (but well behaved) dogs sitting with us at the restaurant we ate dinner last night

- Ran out of petrol on highway to Jo'burg!! Still alive.
- Brother's choice to have curry last night…
- South Africa's RICA sim card registration ANNOYING!

17 June 2010

SBS World Chant - Lets all play some football!

It's not often that you make your singing debut on national television… Somehow this has happened to me. Luckily I've left the country! Sorry if you all want to shoot the screen by the end of World Cup!

I shot this for SBS back in about April and left the country before it came on TV but just found it on Youtube. 

I think they've done a really good job of bringing an honest representation of many nationalities together. The creative team at US Sydney worked hard to find real football fans from all around the world and travelled to something like 8 countries in 2 weeks to capture the footage you see in this clip. 

Well done on a beautiful song!

I've been up to lots of fun stuff in the last couple of days - will get a post together as soon as I can! 

15 June 2010

Durban Australia vs Germany

Our stay in Durban has been really lovely. I've just woken up to the gentle sound of the Vuvazella (the trumpet like instrument which the South Africans live by), which gets progressively less gentle as the day goes on. I'm looking out on Durban's golden South Beach which has been an eclectic mix of the Aussie and German fans along with African culture and Indian influence (yum to chicken tikka burgers!). 


We got here on Saturday night to a warm beach vibe and had an awesome time drinking R15 Beer (A$2.5) at the Fifa Fan Fest watching USA vs England. We found some other Aussie counterparts and headed up to a bar and exchanged some World Cup Fever with the locals. 

The nerves started to rise the next morning as we would soon find out our fate against Germany. We felt pretty comfortable all day as the ratio between Germies and Aussies was about 50/1. We gave any German in sight a serving of Aussie love in the form of friendly chanting, perhaps we knew we had better give it to them then as after it might not be so possible. 




A rather hefty set back came my way in the afternoon when we nestled down to check out our other competition Serbia vs Ghana, at the Fan Fest. There I was just chilling with Shazza (for history click here), had just taken a bite out of my Borewores roll and this Yarpie South African/German Bogan runs up and tackles her! POP. Poor Shazza deflates down to her minimal packet self and dies. I was devastated and actually gave the guy a fair bit of stick, he didn't seem to the realise the significance and walked off and laughed with his mates.  




From Durban Fan fest

I cheered up as the evening went on and we headed out to the stadium around 7pm, the earliest I've ever been to a game before kick-off.  There were thousands of Aussies, far more than the Germans, plus I think we had got a lot of the locals on side. Unfortunately, that wasn't enough… It was pretty hard to watch while Germany put us on a slow roast. And what's worse is that I don't even think we played that badly. We had a few chances early on and if we'd been a little lucky and got one in it could have been a different game. No doubt though, the Germans' clinical style was something we could not compete with. 



The walk home was an effort. I'm sure the bus trip for the Socceroos was even worse. The Aussies let the Germans do the work on the way back - lucky we did get ahead before the game!

The defeat won't hurt us, still wearing the green and gold today. 

14 June 2010

Sydney Fifa Fan Fest



Here's the Fifa Fan Fest in Sydney at Darling Harbour. Thanks to Sasha for sending them my way. I heard that last night it was over capacity 4 hours before the game!! Good work Sydney!

Looks to be an awesome location. Even though I've got the best view in the world right here in South Africa I'm a little sad that'll I miss out on the fun back home in Australia.

If anyone's looking for something a little warmer I know that Cargo Bar and Star City Casino both on the harbour have some good World Cup fun going on.