Monday, March 17, 2008

Sunday Update

Here is a quick blog from Josh, one of our talented freshmen, which describes our first full day in South Africa (sunday). Josh will write again about today (monday), which we will try to post tonight (about 5-6pm Eastern time). Today is the first day of the camp we will be running, and we play Ajax Capetown's reserve/U19 team today (if you have never heard of Ajax, google them.... they are a HUGE club), which is a huge game for us. Thanks for checking out the blog, and look again for a post tonight.....

I am sunburn, dried up from seashell-crushed sand, and dizzy even from the most relaxing of expected days here. Today my roommates, Eddie Stene, Matt Krantz, Giuseppe Bua, and I woke up to bongo drums playing in the streets right outside of the hustling metropolitan downtown area of Cape Town, dressed in beachwear, grabbed our cameras, sunglasses, and headed to a hotel breakfast that would last us for the next six hours on Camps Bay Beach. An ideal breakfast for a leisurely day- varieties of citrus-based and tropical fruits, meats, scrambled eggs, hot tea, and real orange juice, not the Florida-made pulp free stuff found in Giant. In all honesty, the best orange juice I have ever tasted with 5 cups to show for it.

Our large group of 50 or so gathered in the front of the hotel to discover what we had missed in the sky-line the night of our arrival. Hovering over our heads, shadowing down on the pastel colored homes climbing up the mountainside sits Table Mountain and it’s Twelve Apostles (the name given to the mountain’s 12 peaks). Cameras flashed, and now thinking about it, they did not stop until it got dark. Every sight in Cape Town is a perfect picture moment.

Finally, we huddled onto our buses that drove to the flee market across the street from a renovated stadium that will go from holding 21,000 to 68,000 for the 2010 South African World Cup. Construction was everywhere in the up-and-coming Cape Town beach area, except for in the parking lot of the flee market where flimsy tents extended for over 400 meters of straggling street-selling, bloodily ambitious natives, sold bargainable self-made crafts, jewelry, paintings, and sculptures on the cracked asphalt and dirt/sand glazed dug-up tree-rooted ground. I bought jewelry and paintings for my family and myself, where the rest of the F&M contingency did the same. Some interesting articles were elephant hairs bracelets, Zulu patterned cloth blankets, fish bone necklaces, and abstract Khayelitsha soccer paintings. Haggling and bargaining was all part of the experience when a boy of about 12 years old, working at a jewelry crafts stand, offers you a “special discount” on the slightest of significant pieces- it hits hard- he asks for money, begs nearly down to the bone- it hits harder- and you walk away saying, “Sorry, no thank you.” A feeling of pity and remorse settles in, and even scarier, it leaves you once your eye catches hold of something new that you want to by with the money that came too easily.

Walking back onto the bus I walked to the right side of the bus to board, then realized the entrance was on the left. Stupid American- not knowing that the driver seat is on the right. A security guard, specifically this one guy with dreadlocks, stood at our door, almost following us onto the bus, begging us for a tip, in which he essentially did nothing. The dreadlock guy got a soccer ball and began juggling it with a bunch of his co-workers. Eddie Stene, loving their love for the game, and having not touched a soccer ball yet that day, dropped his backpack in his seat, not thinking for a second, left the bus, and joined the casual game. As Eddie was out there running around, we on the bus watched the beauty of the world’s game, joy. More and more security officers added to the game, totally neglecting their job just to kick or head a beaten and corroding, no-name soccer ball. Eddie left, ignoring calls for money from them, but one of them said, “The love you show for us out there is greater than the love you will get from the man you were looking for on the bus, in there.” That’s speaks for itself. Beautiful.

Our tour bus took us through Clifton, the wealthiest of bayside areas in Cape Town with 7 million rand homes (million dollar homes), and arrived at Camps Bay, in which we spent the entire day. The scenery is indescribable, and even if I were to attempt to articulate it, then I would eventually resort to some mystical depiction of the divine’s influence on nature that is, in itself, is indescribable. So, look at Charlie’s pictures.

But the beach I will say was perfect in all aspects of life. The weather was about 86 degrees Fahrenheit, no wind, and the sun’s orange glare floated on the ocean’s surface all day. The water was absolutely freezing cold but refreshing, and provided a sense of adventure in running into it. The heavenly scenery existed in contrast to the begging and selling beach mongers. Volleyball games, singing, dancing, nudity, Giuseppe’s water standing contest, and soccer in all directions, especially where I was standing, in the center of a circle, playing keep-away with Dani Levi, Matt Krantz, Eric Noto, Eddie Stene, Giuseppe Bua, and five teenage South African blacks. The South African’s were slide tackling, dribbling around Krantz, sweating, and playing as if it was the World Cup.

Five o’clock came around and our parade of Americans ate dinner at a restaurant called, Primi. I ordered seared sirloin Focaccio with marinated tomatoes and spinach for 50 rand. The dinner was delicious, too much food, and after that we were all exhausted. We headed back to the hotel for an orientation about our camp and game tomorrow. Imagine that today was our leisure day. Time to go to bed. Midnight.



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