Friday, July 9, 2010

Oh My Head....., and what a Lovely Lunch...

I was somewhat alarmed that Fiona did not seem to have as much of a hangover as I did, as I tried to raise myself off the bed around 10am the next day. I don’t remember how many beers I had had the previous evening, but I was sure that Fiona was close to keeping up with me, which by the laws of drunkenness should have given her as big a hangover as I had. Still after some juice and a bowl of cereal, I was just about able to maintain level flight and some coherence of conversation, and after my coffee I was able to give the illusion of being able to function normally.

Today we were going back into Johannesburg to a friend of Yates’s Aunt Ginny, Yvonne, who when she heard that we were close by had very kindly invited us to lunch. We managed to get ourselves into the car, I set the GPS with the destination, and off we went. Fiona and Yates both looked in better condition than I did, and I was driving...! Anyway the journey was its usual uneventful self and we arrived in Lone Hill , not too far from where we had been the night before in Fourways, exactly on time, which seemed to surprise Yvonne, as she was expecting us to get caught up in the traffic on the freeway.

Yvonne lives in a nice little house on one of the many secure housing development in that part of Johannesburg, and she wasted no time in inviting us to sit on her open veranda overlooking her beautiful garden and pool, and getting us a drink. We had a wonderful time just sitting and chatting with a real South African lady, talking about our backgrounds, our travels in South Africa, and how much we have enjoyed ourselves. There is a real sense of relief when we tell any South African how great our World Cup experience has been, and how well we have been treated by everyone we have met. In return we feel somewhat apologetic for the negative foreign press and the ignorant stories they have been pushing, painting South Africa as a dangerous and violent place to visit. Nothing could be further from the truth....

Yvonne had prepared a real South African feast for us, including a delicious homemade Bobotie, a spiced curry-type dish with a savoury eggy topping, accompanied with a sweet potato side-dish and rice. For dessert we had a wonderful Afrikaans Milk Tart, with ‘Cook Sisters’, a sort of deep fried donut mixture in syrup, (these were as sweet as they sound), served on the side. It was great to have a real South African meal served to us by such a wonderful host in their own home, we felt privileged indeed. After a few photo’s we said our goodbyes and pointed the car in the direction of home, all very full and contented that the only thing we wanted to do was to take a nap.

We had some plans to go out locally to see the Germany v Spain semi-final, but in the end I think we were all still pretty tired from the night before, so we all piled on to Yates’s couches and watched the match there. I had already predicted that the game would not be the free-flowing football that we had seen from Germany and Spain previously in the tournament, and that it would be a tight, cagy game that would be settled by a single goal. I was right.... Spain put a stranglehold on Germany’s ability to counter-attack by just not letting them have the ball, and defending in numbers on the rare occasions that the Germans did make their way forward. Spain subjected Germany to ‘death-by-a-thousand-passes’, grinding down the German defence until a chink in their armour appeared, and up popped an unmarked Puyol to thunder in a bullet of a header which left the keeper with no chance. One-nil..., and once the Spanish were ahead that was it... game, set & match to Spain... Hard luck Germany, try again next time.

My prediction for the final is that we see a very similar game between Holland & Spain. For all Holland’s attacking flair and dynamic playmakers, Spain will just get possession of the ball and not let them get it back. My Prediction.... One-nil to Spain, but don’t tell our Dutch hosts, Carman and Louie, as we will once again be accompanying them to the Dutch bar on Sunday to watch the final... Hopefully we won’t get to drunk.....

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