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Sunday, July 18, 2010

AmazinK - Bafana Bafana

I wish I'd taken my camera (rather than my phone) to AmaZinK for the South Africa-Uruguay game which we watched there. The atmosphere was amazing and the little hairs were standing up on my neck as I recognised the unity which football/soccer brings and the amazing congregation of people who were there watching ... young, old, all races and socioeconomic status, Mamas with blankets, old white guys with vuvuzelas, everyone behind South Africa and willing them to do well. For me it was one of those occasions that I'll remember for the rest of my life. And I'll smile while doing so!! The score didn't reflect the atmosphere that night!

England v USA at the Fan Park ...

Day number 2 and we headed off to watch England v USA at the fan park in Cape Town. Katie dressed everyone up for the USA gig (thanks to the funky additions from Katie's Mom, and taken on a trip around the USA by me!).

The fan park was in Grand Parade, right next to the place where Nelson Mandela gave his first speech after his release.

The American needed some help to spell U-S-A ...

There we go!! (Nice head wear from the South African ... Dale!)

I made Craig (and the USA flag) inch towards the English guy for the picture ... priceless!

Proof that I was there ... and not too dressed up! We did find lots of other Americans!! And English too!

Craig loving his new headband ;-)

Opening Day

We had looked forward to opening day for months! The opening game was at Soccer City and Katie and I had plans to go to the fan park to watch the game ... but hours and hours before the game the signs on the motorway said the fan park was full and to avoid the town! We headed down to the faithful Dubliner but that too had a queue reaching down the street! Another bar had a R100 cover charge and we ended up in an artsy bar with a great view of a tv! We ate there and then wandered down to Green Point Stadium for the first game in Cape Town. The fan walk was amazing (pictures on future posts) and this opening game was the only one that I went to where there were stewards incharge (they soon went on strike over low pay and the police took over!). Good times. The atmosphere was amazing, the game was pretty average. The most exciting part was where the announcer pronounced "There will be a substitution for Paraguay ... I ... err... mean Uruguay!". Diego Forlan hadn't mastered the art of finding the net and France hadn't exercised their abilities on or off the field at this point.

Green Point Stadium

The photo is pretty foggy but there's always a Scottish flag somewhere or other. Even if they never qualify for a World Cup tournament ;-)


The South African flag was shown at all the games! And everyone's favourite ... the vuvuzela ...

Little Bafana Bafana ...

With the amazing lead up to the World Cup I thought I'd had a great idea to organise sponsorship so all the kids at the children's home got "Bafana Bafana" (SA's national soccer team) shirts ... only to find that their latest newsletter had requested them (the newsletter arrived that day!). So we bought shirts for the kids and they *loved* them! We have been drawing South African flags for months now at the house!

World Cup 2010

With the World Cup approaching I travelled back to South Africa on a plane with World Cup visitors including a bunch of Mexicans with large sombreros, peacock feathers and other fancy dress!!

South Africa hosted an amazing event and it was surely a dream come true for a footy/soccer fan as myself to live through it. Apart from supporting South Africa (who didn’t?) I had no other serious ties (apart from Algeria) and it was thoroughly enjoyed. A couple of weeks into the tournament I voiced that I wanted the World Cup to last forever. Not long after I realised I may never get *anything* done if the World Cup continued!

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing 4 games at the Greenpoint Stadium in Cape Town, to watch at the fan park and walk the fan walk on a number of different occasions. But, I also got to watch games in some really random and fun places … my house (!), others houses, Italy in an Italian restaurant (with all the Italians taking the day off!), AmazinK in the Kayamandi township, various wine bars, restaurants and pubs but I think one of the most fun places to watch was England v Germany in the knockout stages where we watched at Cape Town Airport! The atmosphere was brilliant and we had a fun mix of English, German and alsorts of other fans.

Certainly 4 weeks of memories and a wonderful experience for me. I highly recommend being part of the World Cup and the first in Africa was certainly sensational!

Maddie Mac ...

Inamongst the quickness of my visit to Scotland, it just happened to be Maddie's graduation ball ... *very* cool to appear on their doorstep and enjoy the pre-ball festivities and getting ready. Thanks Maddie - you are absolutely brilliant!

LOVE this picture of the Macaulay ladies!

Stirling, Scotland!

A necessary visit to Stirling University and some photographs ... everywhere you look there is the William Wallace monument in the background ... a good reminder of Scottish history! The campus is beautiful and the sun even shone while I was there.

small problem?

Ewan Joseph Brooks

Ewan Joseph Brooks was born on 16 May, 2010

It was superb to meet the little guy while he was still so little. Very cool to enlighten him about the upcoming World Cup and generally let him know that Auntie Nomi is excited about him! And he’s just gorgeous! I’m excited to see him again, and again, and again and again!

And here with his Daddy and Mummy ...

Hairy Moos ...

It's become a tradition to stop by the Highland Cows in Pollok Park en route home from the airport. Even though home has moved in the opposite direction. What is it about these highland cows!!

The Stormiest Night to Camp ...

Our research station ....

... and our sleeping tents at the other side of our research area!!

Not a week after I got back to South Africa we headed to Kleinmond to collect research data at a 3 day trail running race. The race, surrounding area, and our research subjects were amazing ... the crazy storms that came through were quite an adventure!!

We arrived pre-day 1 to set up but due to an impending storm noone was staying in the race village. Day 1 started a few hours late and all went well. Day 2 was a wonderful trail marathon though some beautiful scenery in the Kleinmond area. In the evening there was talk of a storm but the weather was great and we were hopeful ... we went to sleep in our tents. The eye of the storm was meant to come through around 5am and there were thoughts that it'd pass before the start of the race ...

I woke up thinking it must be the middle of the storm as our tents blew around inside the bigger white canopy tent ... and it was not even midnight! Our physio friends soon left to sleep in their cars and finally Annali and I also went that way. We were wakened to evacuate the last of our stuff and then we helped take some tents down (think my years of camping with Christians served me that when a storm comes you help take down the tents!).

We slept in our cars, thanked the faithful study participants who fought through to find us after the big tent was deemed unsafe after some beams fell down, and the final race day called off.

Our participants have been amazing and we learned a lot about being flexible and the joys of field research!

Postal Vote ...

(this photo won't turn around!)

There was a very important day in the UK calendar just after I returned to South Africa. I am currently registered as an overseas voter ... which would have been great had I got my postal vote *before* the election!

Illegally Parked Notice

When I lived in Athens (Athens Station) we had the priviledge parking near campus. Anyone not registered got the illegally parked notice .... it was somewhat of a dare-devil feeling to vye the Athens Station Matro-dee who no doubt checked the parking personally!

While visiting this time I got an illegally parked notice!! Of course it was no problem to know that the car make and licence plate were noted, I'll never rent that car again!

Good-bye USA ...

My USA trip took me to 13 States and over 3,000 miles driving …


Good times!

Favourite gospel song of the driving … (thanks Neena)

Some glad morning when this life is o'er,
I'll fly away;
To a home on God's celestial shore,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away).

I'll fly away, Oh Glory
I'll fly away; (in the morning)
When I die, Hallelujah, by and by,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away).

When the shadows of this life have gone,
I'll fly away;
Like a bird from prison bars has flown,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away)

I'll fly away, Oh Glory
I'll fly away; (in the morning)
When I die, Hallelujah, by and by,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away).

Just a few more weary days and then,
I'll fly away;
To a land where joy shall never end,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away)

I'll fly away, Oh Glory
I'll fly away; (in the morning)
When I die, Hallelujah, by and by,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away).

One last night in Vegas ...

One last night in Vegas on the way home and it just so happened that John and Hannah were still there ... so here we are living it up in meat-ville and a fabulous fare-well to America ... see you soon traveling gypseys ... tho I suspect you will be in Vegas before me! (I have just noticed those two red things sticking out of my head ...).

Death Valley!!!

Appropriately named (or not) I drove through Death Valley on my way back to Las Vegas. It was a spectacular drive and through various terrains and altitudes. Apart from a small accident when I attempted to climb up a slippery slope to get a better picture ... all was well!