Tuesday, July 6, 2010

And Then There Were Four, And Seven Makes One Week!

     I'm sure that those of you following the blog have noticed my absence the last two days. Rest days are not just for the teams! We actually had a nice Sunday at the African Arts markets and I recorded a little bit of two groups that were entertaining the shoppers.
     The fourth of July came and went without much fanfare as a BBQ (braii) that was scheduled got canceled due to lack of interest.
     Yesterday was another short day with a leisurely lunch up the hill from the hotel where I had a ham and cheese sandwich! Yummy!
     I've spent a little portion of the afternoon today watching the Tour de France over the cobblestones and will look forward to keeping track of that during the rest of the month. Old habits are hard to break!
     I thought I'd talk today a little about the less positive things we've seen while in the country. It's been my rule to highlight the positive aspects, but now that my departure is nearing, I don't want to forget some of the things I've seen.
     April Strong had warned me that I'd see barbwire around every house and for the most part, that is the rule. The first couple of days we were here, there was a tent encampment on the way to Soccer City. A few days before the opening match, it seemed to have disappeared. The BBC had reported about similar things happening in Cape Town.                                                               
     On the way to the national park and Sun City, we passed a platinum mine, the new gold for South Africa.
We were told that the miners make about 2500 rand a month which is roughly $380. The photo is of a village very near the mine.This is still a third world country with third world problems.
     On the other hand, the ordinary people - drivers, maids, food service workers - have been genuinely wonderful, cheerful, and a delight to be around.
It is truly a land of contrasts...
     There are four teams left and seven days to go. I am going to cheer for the Netherlands tonight because in Spanish they are known as Hollandia. I still can't figure out why the nation of Holland isn't around and why in this language it's sometimes called Paises Bajo, lower lands. So Go Holland, Netherlands,  or even better yet - The Mechanical Orange!

1 comment:

  1. Seems to me that you shouldn't have too much trouble finding some South Africaners rooting for the Netherlands, considering the whole Dutch Afrikaaner connection, and all.