Day 10: The Countdown Begins
This is the official countdown to my World Cup adventure. True, the festivities do not kick off until June 11 with Mexico taking on host South Africa in the opening match. But I am located in Los Angeles, so my trip officially begins 10 days from today. (I’m fudging my timeline a little since it’s technically past midnight over here.)
And since I can’t think of anything else, I figured I’d share my itinerary (at least the parts that are already set in stone). So if anyone is anywhere near me at these times, be sure to look me up.
MONDAY, June 7: After a full day of work, which will likely be hectic as I wrap up all my loose ends, I’m hopping on the Westwood Flyaway for LAX. Gotta catch that redeye to New York. Since the plan is to go to the airport directly from work, I’ll be lugging all my stuff on the Metro Rapid bus beginning at 7:30 a.m! If anyone’s offering a ride, I believe in airport-ride karma. Just so you know…
WEDNESDAY, June 9: After 20+ hours of flying, layovers, in-flight movies and more than a few magazines, touch down in Johannesburg at 4:30 p.m.! Get my luggage. Get my second South Africa passport stamp. Get my match tickets at the airport. How convenient are they!
FRIDAY, June 11: Heading to safari. Yeah, right! I didn’t even believe that. I’ll be settling in at Soccer City Stadium for the 4 p.m. opening match between MEXICO and SOUTH AFRICA.
SATURDAY, June 12: Skipping out of Jo’burg and heading to Cape Town. As far as what we’re doing while there, trying to stay out of trouble. We’ll be staying in Hout Bay. Maybe we’ll hike Table Mountain or visit the gardens. If Crush is still there, I’m heading for their butternut squash soup. Oooh, and Mama Africa. Any other food suggestions? MexiCAN No. 2 and I will also be going on a bike/wine tour one day. A 21-kilometer ride with tastings at four wineries. That doesn’t sound dangerous!
TUESDAY, June 15: If we survive, taking British Airways flight back to Johannesburg and picking up a rental at the airport. Must remember they drive on the opposite side of the road. Since MexiCAN #2 doesn’t drive stick, our survival rests solely on my remembering that little fact.
WEDNESDAY, June 16: Drive to Nelspruit, which I’m told is 358 km from Jo’burg. Why would I go there? For the second match, silly. This time its HONDURAS v. CHILE… hmmm, who to root for? MexiCAN #2 made accommodations for us to stay in a tent this night. Could count as “camping”… if so, then hey, I’ll knock something else off this list.
THURSDAY, June 17: Drive to Polokwane for third match: FRANCE v. MEXICO.
FRIDAY, June 18: Drive back to Nelspruit. No more tents. Kicking it in South Africa’s version of Super 8, or so I think. It may be better. It may be worse. This is when we begin to hit up Kruger and all other stuff that requires my malaria meds.
MONDAY, June 21: Drive back to Johannesburg for fourth match: SPAIN v. HONDURAS. I just noticed we’re going to be watching a lot of Honduras’ games. To the untrained eye, it may seem that I’m a fan. Not really. The first match was picked because it was in Johannesburg and this one was picked because of Spain. Honduras just happened to luck out.
TUESDAY, June 22: Somehow get to Rustenburg (121 km from Johannesburg) for fifth match: MEXICO v. URUGUAY
THURSDAY, June 24: After a few more days of cavorting, watching games and mingling with other people who worship at the altar of futbol, MexiCAN #2 and I head to the airport. Sniffle. On our way back to Los Angeles, we’ll be making a weekend stop at New York… How much fun can two jetlagged MexiCANS have in New York? Stay tuned.
PHOTOS from top: Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa; MexiCAN #1’s passport stamp circa 2004; Nelspruit tent.