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FIFA World Cup Report – Ivory Coast v Portugal PDF
Wednesday, 16 June 2010 00:00

from Carolyn Emmett, Montejaque's correspondent in South Africa

Ivory Coast v. Portugal game in Port Elizabeth, June 15th at 1:30 p.m.

It took 12 hours on Monday to drive down to Port Elizabeth (P.E.) and the same again on Wednesday to get back to Johannesburg ... but it was definitely worth the bum-numbing experience! The P.E. Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium is BEAUTIFUL, and the organisation of the park-and-ride facilities was fantastic. (There were no queues for beers or loos, either)! Attendance in the 38,000-seat stadium was just over 33,000, and the atmosphere was electric.

My brother said he didn’t realise I was such an avid footie fan; I responded that I'm actually an avid atmosphere fan, regardless of the event! (I lived in Canada for more than 20 years, and only went to a live ice hockey game the week before we left for Indonesia. Dammit, it was such fun, and so much more interesting than watching it on TV. If only I’d known).

I’ve also been asked what I think about the vuvuzelas, the long African horns; they are horrid in the background if you are watching the game on TV (like a buzzing swarm of wasps) – but they sound absolutely FANTASTIC in the stadium, and mostly they're blown upwards, into the air, rather than into your ears. We bought earplugs, but haven't yet used them. The sound definitely rises when you're inside the stadium, but it must buzz into the TV audio receptors, I guess. (According to a news report today, more than 40,000 vuvuzelas have been sold in England, so those of you living there must have heard them)! It is extremely difficult to produce a sound ; you have to purse your lips and sort of ‘blow a raspberry’ into them, and you get winded quite quickly.

It was disappointing to attend yet another ‘tied’ game, this time with no goals scored either, but full marks go to the town of Port Elizabeth for its friendliness, hospitality and hosting. We were conveyed to the stadium in ‘combies’ (8-seater buses), rather than the coaches we’d been on in Johannesburg and Rustenburg; but it took only about half an hour from when we started queuing for the transport to our arrival at the stadium. Great! (After the game, we decided to walk back to the park-and-ride facility, as it was less far than the other park-(walk-a-marathon)-and-ride trips we took in Johannesburg and Rustenburg)!

Many thanks to our friends Roger and Ronnie for accommodating the weary travellers – and for the loan of thick, warm, waterproof clothing. The temperatures at all of the events we’ve attended so far have been in single digits, and we’ve been ‘walking ice-blocks’ on occasion. (It has been amusing to note the obvious tourists to South Africa, who are wearing shorts, T-shirts and flip-flops; in fact, an American at one of the games offered to buy my blanket off me! I think that when people hear the word ‘Africa’ they think ‘hot’. Not so in the middle of our winter (the winter solstice is on Monday 21st).

© Carolyn Emmett


Paul Whitelock

Paul is a Joint Honours graduate in Spanish and German, a qualified teacher (PGCE) and has a Member of the Institute of Linguists (MIL) qualification.

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