After an adventurous drive from the Johannesburg airport, we arrived to a busy hostel with plenty of folks from all over excited about the upcoming games. Our first night was rather mellow, sitting around a fire pit in the back yard talking football statistics and comparing country stereotypes while slurping down delicious local beers. The hostel owners joined us later, teaching us some valuable, and some not so valuable Afrikaans.
A few days of walking around Pretoria later, seeing the South African executive buildings, the Voortrekker monument and embassy row, we prepared for the opening games: Bafana Bafana v. Mexico. There was a mall (though think more like beer garden) around the corner from our hotel so we planned to watch there, but were way too late considering the amount of local support and the doors were closed. So the group (about 8 of us) was desperately wandering around looking for a bar minutes before kick-off (as you will see later this is a theme) when we stumbled into Cofi (subtitled eatchillate) where we wedged ourselves onto the floor between large leather couches full of fans (and yes, their vuvulezas). It was rather uncomfortable but a great vantage point for the big game. We were happy to be in a purely South African crowd, instead of the mixed bag that would have been the beer garden where we were originally aiming. The celebration after their goal was phenomenal.
As the game rounded down, the DJ eased up the volume on the tunes and we all easily segued into a full-on dance party which continued through the next game and well into the night. Only once the music really picked up did we realize that we had crashed a VIP room. Not long after we began to boogie we were approached by the folks sitting on the couches in front of us who wanted to test out our dance moves. As a group we did fairly well, and for those of you who know him, not surprisingly, my brother was made honorary African American by the group after teaching them ‘bootie call’.