Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Since I arrived last Wednesday night, it’s been cold, grey and rainy every day except for two: today and Saturday. It’s to be expected, of course, as this is late fall here in the Southern Hemisphere, and South Africa is about as far south as one could get before hitting ice.
That said, I’d trade this “winter” for just about any that I’ve experienced in 30 years in Canada. It can still get up in the 20′s during the daytime, and at night it’s usually warm enough that a thick sweater would suffice.
One oddity is the houses themselves. Unlike Canada, this country isn’t blessed with trees in abundance, so most homes are built with concrete. That’s all well and good in the summertime, when the solid block walls act as a filter and actually keep the coolness in the homes. But in this weather, it works against you.
It’s perpetually a good five or so degrees cooler inside than it is out. And when it’s only 12 degrees like today, you’ll feel it. Even right now at nearly 7:00pm local time, I’m typing away with a hood over my head, and shoes on my feet. No one takes their shoes off in the houses, as the floors are ice cold at this time of year. Strange stuff.
Apart from all of that, the mood here in the week leading up to the World Cup is understandably festive. Car flags are just as popular here as they are in the GTA, but of course 99% of them sport the bright colours of the South African flag, rather than the vast mix of nations that you’d see represented in Toronto.
That said, there are quite a few vehicles with other nation’s flags on the windows, although they are usually paired alongside the red, blue, black, gold and green of South Africa. I’ve even seen a Canadian flag on a car here. I thought I was the only one!
Soccer-wise, Bafana Bafana fans are on a high, as the side is riding quite the hot streak into the World Cup. Optimism abounds here, although most are aware that Mexico is a formidable opponent that is on a bit of a good run itself, and should not be taken lightly. Still, the entire country seems to be anticipating a great performance from its boys, and is ready to explode in kind.
Think of the anticipation in Canada for our men’s hockey team ahead of the Winter Olympics this past February, now multiply that by a hundred.
I can’t wait.
Posted by Rudi Schuller