Back home now - thoughts

Discussion in 'World Cup 2010: Fans & Travel' started by whiskerxx, Jun 30, 2010.

  1. yellowbismark

    yellowbismark Member+

    Nov 7, 2000
    San Diego, CA
    Club:
    Club Tijuana
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I got back over two weeks ago, but I'll have a whirl in this thread:

    Overall, I'm very pleased with the trip. I'm not one to quibble with the idiosyncrasies of the 'African' World Cup. I knew all along it was going to be different from a typical World Cup and embraced it for it was, even if some things were not up to expected standards. It was unique in an enjoyable way, for instance I got a kick of the people outside of Bafokeng Stadium selling beer and grilling for match-goers from their front yard.

    I think I would like to return to visit, but am not sure how soon I would want to do it. It would be nice though to tour the country now without the interruption of watching the games caused.

    Good:

    Hospitality and friendliness of the population,. everybody was on their best behavior and went out of their way to make their guests feel welcome. Our guest house owner was a great host, as were the other hosts that we encountered

    the braai/bbq experience; I enjoyed buying the braai packs and grilling ourselves over going out to the restaurants; best thing I had at a restaurant was Ostrich steak and burgers (America needs to replace cows with ostriches pronto, same taste less land consumption); Peri Peri sauce was also very good

    Cape Town, what an incredible city. Had so much fun there, even though I was recovering from a 24 hour bout of food sickness

    Kruger National Park: staying over night in a rondavel in Pretoriuskop was such a blast, we grilled under the stars, watched the Italy-Paraguay game with 50 others in the camp site, and I love love love that they sell booze there (inconceivable for an American national park to have fully functioning liquor stores on their premises)

    Low cost (once you're there, that is; my airfare exceeded all other trip expenditures combined); we did several things on the cheap (like hosteling), but even other basic travel necessities weren't too expensive, car rental, flight to Cape Town, food and drink, etc

    Bad:

    the beer, the common beers in South Africa were not very good

    transportation/traffic control logistics to and from the stadiums (we didn't get burned too badly on this, but that's not to say it wasn't a clusterf*ck)

    highway and road signage/wayfinding is terrible, particularly in Joburg

    the 30+ hours it took from California to get there, the 30+ hours it to return

    lack of internet access (though this wasn't a problem in Cape Town)

    Too much driving required (granted, this was partially our own doing due to our decision to base ourselves outside of the city, but the public transportation was poor and sprawl of the cities too much to think that anything other than driving was the way to go)

    Joburg - I did not see much of it, only the journey to and from Ellis Park and to and from the airport, but it did not seem to have many redeeming qualities. I am glad with our choice to base ourselves 1.5 hours away at a relaxing guest house in a pastoral setting.
     
  2. BoughtMyPoints

    BoughtMyPoints New Member

    Mar 27, 2009
    Club:
    Queens Park Rangers FC
    The heating panels? Only effective for a small area, 100 sq ft or so. Until this year were sold without a thermostat so were actually wasteful compared to higher wattage oil filled radiators that are far more effective at heating.

    Well, I warned people about South African heating norms and was ridiculed.

    Some hosts have moved with the times, others haven't. Mainly because of the ever increasing cost of electricity. No one has gas or oil fired central heating, not even coal fired! The choice is stark here between electricity and burning wood or doing without.

    And once again, the "local" brew to drink here is Windhoek lager. Costs pennies more than the Carling Black Label and Castle, the more popular beers here.
     
  3. Pule

    Pule New Member

    Aug 3, 2006
    Pity Air travel costs and recession were the cause of not having large number of visitors, not forgetting negative report about our country by international media.
     
  4. yaw9999

    yaw9999 New Member

    Jun 3, 2010
    Washington, DC
    Club:
    Chelsea FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Ghana
    Internet access - All you had do was get a USB modem through MTN or Vodacom, load up the sim card with some data time and you had internet on the go. Internet access in the states is predominantly fixed while in places like SA it is "on the go" via devices like USB modems.

    Joburg - how can you claim the city has no redeeming qualities when you state you didn't see much of it? Wouldn't it have been better to reserve judgment until you experience enough of the city to form an informed opinion?
     
  5. supaeagles

    supaeagles Member

    Feb 20, 2010
    Club:
    Chelsea FC
    Crap.. I didnt know abt that! That would have been useful for me for sure but I could live without internet for 2.5 weeks and I did. But now that you told me, I have saved money :D
     
  6. yellowbismark

    yellowbismark Member+

    Nov 7, 2000
    San Diego, CA
    Club:
    Club Tijuana
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I didn't "claim" anything about Joburg nor did I say it had no redeeming qualities. If you re-read, I said "based on the little I saw, it seemed to have not that many redeeming qualities". I was not making a definitive statement, merely stating an opinion based on what I saw. Which is okay to do, most people begin forming opinions from an early stage there is nothing wrong with that. Should I wait for the whole season of Burn Notice to come out before I state an opinion on that too?

    I'm sure there is lots of things to do there and it can be a great time, but in terms of what I saw--my socks were not knocked off.
     
  7. African Biohazard

    Apr 16, 2010
    Johannesburg
    Club:
    Tottenham Hotspur FC
    Nat'l Team:
    South Africa
    You saw very little then mate. Would have loved to bought you and your mates a drink. Next time maybe.
     
  8. popularside

    popularside Member

    Dec 14, 2009
    dublin
    Club:
    --other--
    Nat'l Team:
    Ireland Republic
    The price rises in guesthouses and originally by airlines for internal flights were a major factor too. A lot of the problems here were self-inflicted.
     
  9. Ric_Braz

    Ric_Braz Member+

    May 13, 2009
    Wiltshire, UK.
    Club:
    AFC Wimbledon
    Nat'l Team:
    England
    Yes these were all factors but equally MATCH's fabulous idea to put all hotels out of bounds was a shit idea 12 months and an even shittier one now.
     
  10. Crop Circles Maria

    Aug 1, 2005
    Valencia, California
    Club:
    Universitario de Deportes
    Nat'l Team:
    Peru
    Got home after the end of the group stage, here's my thoughts:

    The good
    By far, the hospitality. South Africans of all races were welcoming, excited to have the tournament and the whole world at home, and were all around amazing. I cannot emphasize enough how wonderful every single person from hotel staff, to stadium employees, to stadium seat neighbors, to shuttle drivers, to the average fan, to the cooks at the Fan Fests, etc. etc. etc. How friendly and welcoming they were. By far your greatest asset South Africa, the human touch. Keeping in touch with a couple of people I met.

    The food. I have travelled to many countries in South America, Europe, Mexico, and USA, and quite possibly in terms of food, this was the best trip. Nothing like Steers at 2 am on the highway going back to Jozy from Rustenburg. Castle, Windhoek, Black Label, and your wines, unreal. The lamb wraps at the Jozy Fan Fest or the lamb/chicken/coconut curry at the Indian restaurant in Melrose Arch. The bottles of Mrs. Ballz chutney I brought home with me.

    The exchange rate, and going back to the food. An amazing meal, wether its steak or indian food, a couple of beers, dessert, and plenty of drink, around $20.

    Soccer City Stadium, reminded me a lot of the Allianz Arena. What a stadium, be proud South Africa!

    Places like Mandela Square, Melrose Arch, and Montecasino to watch the games, eat, do some shopping, and party after the games. These malls have nothing to envy the ones in Beverly Hills. Montecasino reminded me of the Venetian and Paris in Las Vegas.

    Partying with fans outside the stadium before the game, especially during Denmark-Holland at Soccer City. Party animals and super friendly! No desire to hang on to silly rivalries, its a big party and everybody is invited! Posing for pictures with your opposing fans. We were opponents, not rivals nor enemies.

    Safety. Nothing happened to us, we felt very safe everywhere we were in Johannesburg. Tons of cops and security everywhere. Then again, we never strayed from the official path, never took a pirate taxi, unofficial transportation, or walked the streets at night.

    Picking up your tickets in person at OR Tambo. Great idea in order to combat online scalping. Easy and orderly, with human staff assisting you instead of dealing with just the computer.

    The effort and desire of each and every single South African to make this the best possible World Cup ever.

    The bad
    Airfare and 24 hours of flight from LA to Jozy (nobody's fault really).

    Transportation was by far the most frustrating thing. From city to city and within the city. We wanted to have Cape Town as our HQ and go back and forth for the US games but we switched to Johannesburg because we were unable to book ground transportation from the US and the flight prices were unreal. The taxis weren't metering us after the first day and charging us 300-400 Rand. I had to pay 300 one way to get from Sandton to the next neighborhood over just to go to church. Taxis were the only way to get around if you wanted to go somewhere at night. Those damn ticket selling machines on the FIFA fan fest to the park and ride buses that broke down every time and you had to wait an hour for everybody to buy a ticket. The park and ride in Rustenburg was my most frustrating single event. Waiting on the dirt for 2 hours in line to get on the bus. The road from Jozy to Rustenburg the night of the USA - England game. 4 hours on a single lane highway. Cannot believe FIFA put the World Cup on a city without an airport or trainstation. Got back to the hotel in Jozy at 4 am. And I refused to drive in SA. Also that train to and from Soccer City. We saw the "time of departure" clock saying that the train was to leave in one minute, then half an hour later the clocked still said the train was to leave in a minute and we hadn't moved.

    The scoreboard, clock, and screen at the stadium in Rustenburg, which didn't work during the USA game.

    The power going out at Ellis Park on the gates during the Brazil - N. Korea game. So those metal revolving doors unlock when you scan your game ticket and the power went out for about half an hour. Sucked for the poor Brazilian fan who got stuck in the door as the power went out. About 800 people outside the stadium waiting for the power to come back on to be able to go in about 15 minutes before kick-off. When the police saw they were about to have a riot on their hands, they decided to open a truck gate to let everybody in.

    Then the power coming and going on the side of Ellis Park, looked like a strobe light in the dark.

    The vuvuzela.

    Budweiser at the stadium. Oh well, also happened in Germany.

    Merchandising. All the fan shops at the stadiums were tiny except for the one at Soccer City. And everywhere I went, I found stores with different merch in each one. I couldn't just do all of my shopping in one place. And they didn't give you baskets at the store at Soccer City.

    The douche security at the Pretoria stadium that wouldn't let us hang our banners on the stadium's rails. "Flags don't kill" - Enzo Francescoli

    Changing all of my cash at the airport back home before leaving and getting a ton of 200 Rand notes just to find out that 9 out of 10 people don't take 200 Rand notes.

    Not being able to experience anything "African" such as a safari, an elephant
    sanctuary, or the Apartheid Museum because of transportation costs and game schedule.

    To be fair, I do understand that Germany was a tough act to follow. And not every World Cup can be held in Western Europe.

    On a separate note, I thought it was funny how Zulu craft market vendors made US used car salesmen looked like kittens.
     
  11. yaw9999

    yaw9999 New Member

    Jun 3, 2010
    Washington, DC
    Club:
    Chelsea FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Ghana
    You're wrong. What you saw wasn't enough to form an informed opinion about the city. Sometimes it is better to say you didn't see enough to form an opinion that to base your opinion on nothing.
     
  12. MacPhistoTerp

    MacPhistoTerp Member

    Mar 25, 2009
    Washington, DC
    Club:
    Cork City
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    There's an airport in Pilanesburg about 15 miles away (where Biden flew in to). The reason that game was staged in such a remote location was based on security.

    It was the easiest stadium to secure, with basically 1 road running through town.

    The game could have easily sold out in any stadium in the country, but security of the fans and teams was the main concern
     
  13. Crop Circles Maria

    Aug 1, 2005
    Valencia, California
    Club:
    Universitario de Deportes
    Nat'l Team:
    Peru
    I looked for flights to Rustenburg online and found nothing.
     
  14. Crop Circles Maria

    Aug 1, 2005
    Valencia, California
    Club:
    Universitario de Deportes
    Nat'l Team:
    Peru
    I forgot, one of the most frustrating experiences was the queue to get to the park and ride bus coming out of Ellis Park.
    Hundreds of thousands of people were packed standing shoulder to shoulder on the street in the space of one block, trying to get to a fence. When you got to the fence, the security wouldn't let you out until the buses came to pick you up. About 4-5 buses arrived at a time, and they would only let out enough people to fill them up (100-200 people per bus). So many people crammed like cattle for so long was a recipe for disaster.

    Another sad thing was seeing barbed wire and electric fences on every single house.
     
  15. MacPhistoTerp

    MacPhistoTerp Member

    Mar 25, 2009
    Washington, DC
    Club:
    Cork City
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    We've parked close to every stadium for no more than 50 Rand. For Ellis Park, you could park up the hill from the stadium (Bezuindenhout St ??) in a secure lot of a gas station

    For Soccer City, there is ample parking for free at Southgate mall (about a mile walk). Closer parking at a used car lot about halfway between Southgate and the stadium for about 50 Rand.
     
  16. *rey*

    *rey* Member+

    Feb 22, 2006
    Houston
    hahaha....this part of your post is funny, because i was really surprised by the # of white South Africans who went out of their way to tell us that they never watched football, disliked football, followed some European team instead of Bafana Bafana or were attending their 1st football match and found it just OK. look i get it and understand the whole football in your country is a poor man's sport and you're not one of those, but guess what i just flew a couple thousands miles over 2 oceans and spending money in your country to watch a FOOTBALL tournament....so put a sock in it and take a swig of the tequila i smuggled into the stadium in my pants. :D

    especially, the young female in Sandton awaiting to buy tickets at the Gautrain station who said "i'm already tired of all these people". hey honey, its was only the 2nd day of the tournament and the majority of Mexicans around you understand English that's why we started talking about you in Spanish.

    your country is amazing man. you have a right to be proud.

    it reminded me alot of Mexico. despite infrastructure problems or bad governing in the end the people end up pulling together and figuring out a way to make life work. its said that my country is either "the richest 3rd world country or the poorest 1st world country on the planet", so i was used to certain areas being enclosed with high walls and barbed wire alongside areas of high poverty. the bad things i experienced (in retrospect) were just minor inconveniences and were glossed over by the smiles/warmth of the locals.

    many a times since i've been back, i find myself staring out my office window and daydreaming about 1 experience or another. i still have a lot of world to see, but i definitely want to make my way back to (Southern) Africa and return with my family. many times in conversation we were asked if we were enjoying our time in SA and when we would respond that everything/everyone was incredible, we can literally see the locals chest puff-up with pride. they all repeated the same mantra "go back home and tell everyone that S.A. is not a bad place".


    here, here.

    btw - we accidently went into Hillbrow at night twice (not entirely our fault, 1 was FIFAs and the other time it was a faulty GPS). for the reminder of the trip, i hit all the mall stores for a t-shirt that read "I Survivied Hillbrow". :p
     
  17. BoughtMyPoints

    BoughtMyPoints New Member

    Mar 27, 2009
    Club:
    Queens Park Rangers FC
    Where do you get your facts from?

    Besides South Africa having their matches pre-arranged, I was not aware of any other matches being allocated to particular stadia other than on a random, draw basis.

    But even so, Royal Bafokeng stadium was chosen for political reasons and simply because it was already there. If anything, Nelspruit is more remote than Phokeng, the actual name of the place, not Rustenburg.

    The Pilanesburg airport is a biz jet facility for Sun City. You may have also noticed the forlorn train station for Sun City ... a relic of the past.
     
  18. MacPhistoTerp

    MacPhistoTerp Member

    Mar 25, 2009
    Washington, DC
    Club:
    Cork City
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I heard the the reason about the game being staged there from a friend in the US State Department.

    They all flew in to Pilanesburg Int'l Airport, I wasnt aware that it was for private planes only
     
  19. TomT

    TomT New Member

    Jul 10, 2010
    Club:
    AC Milan
    I second that, brother!
     
  20. BoughtMyPoints

    BoughtMyPoints New Member

    Mar 27, 2009
    Club:
    Queens Park Rangers FC
    Your information may be spot on. There were many things "fixed" at this world cup.

    "Pilanesburg Int'l. Airport" = you're having a laugh!

    Any landing strip can handle international arrivals if customs and immigration set up shop. But really, the Sun City airport does not see too many scheduled flights these days, now that casinos have sprouted up in South African urban areas.
     
  21. popularside

    popularside Member

    Dec 14, 2009
    dublin
    Club:
    --other--
    Nat'l Team:
    Ireland Republic
    total rubbish.

    England and USA were drawn into that match in Rustenburg. It was C1 and C2 - England were drawn as C1 and the USA came out as C2.

    Anyway Rustenburg was by far the least secure venue with a few hundred metres of chainlink fence separating a carpark from the stadium so a gun or bomb could easily have been passed in through or over the fence.

    As for selling out well there were actually loads of tickets outside at well below face value.
     
  22. hodisgod

    hodisgod New Member

    Apr 12, 2006
    Of all the problems in the world, none are greater than:

     
  23. Ric_Braz

    Ric_Braz Member+

    May 13, 2009
    Wiltshire, UK.
    Club:
    AFC Wimbledon
    Nat'l Team:
    England
    Though still nothing beats a comment on another website from someone who did not like totally like Green Point because there was a long walk to the bar! Ah diddums.
     
  24. shares

    shares New Member

    Mar 18, 2010
    Sydney
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Brazil
    ditto..plus

    bad having cat 1 seating where I can barely see the game or TV screen (CT) .
    people queue jumping [ mainly tourists]
    bad organisation for queues (both cars & people)

    good
    the local support (& I had no problem finding malls open after hours)
     
  25. GolDeLetra

    GolDeLetra New Member

    Dec 2, 2009
    Club:
    Bahia Salvador
    GOOD


    • Durban - reminds me of Huntington Beach (Southern California)
    • Cape Town - stunningly beautiful
    • Local wines
    • Excellent food (except for Durban's bunny chow, which was awful)
    • Excellent roads
    • Safaris
    • Hospitality
    • Ushaka Marine World (Durban)
    • Increased security - high tech security systems, privately-hired security guards
    • Hansa Pilsen Beer
    • Cheap for US citizens/residents
    • Daytime weather (sunny and cool)
    • Breakfast at some hotels

    BAD


    • Johannesburg - Cold, violent, and unnatractive
    • Logistics to the stadia (especially in Joburg)
    • Crooks (someone fraudulently charged 900 USD to my credit card, which I obviously disputed, but still had to close my account)
    • Restaurant service - somewhat confused and slow, even with the large quantity of servers and supporting personnel
    • Traffic jams
    • Shopping Center/Store closing times
    • Budweiser - the only beer served at the stadia
     

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