Friday, October 12, 2012

Birthday surprises and Rugby!!

It's birthday time for Warren and lots of other special people in our lives. 10th of October is such a popular date for celebrating birthdays! It used to be Paul Kruger day and a public holiday and being teachers! we always had this day off and could do fun things.


Birthdays are special days and it is so important to mark them with just a little something special. This year Sarah decided to surprise her Dad, and me, with tickets for the rugby. South Africa was playing New Zealand at the new stadium in Soweto. We were in the Bush and were told to report to Sarah and Adrien by mid day on Saturday. We decided to drive up on Friday and be super ready for our adventure. We managed to keep the great secret until Sarah and I returned from shopping where we bought Warren and Oscar Springbok rugby shirts and Adrien a cap!! The girls would wear green outfits, which was close enough for us!


Packed with a basket of snacks and drinks, we dropped Oscar off for his play date. We set off by two o'clock for the game which was starting at five! The traffic was fine until we got to the vicinity of Crown mines and then all went crazy. Huge 4x4's, Fortunas, Sportages and other fancy vehicles and of course more humble vehicles like ours, started vying for a spot in the queue to get to the stadium. Flags were flying, hooters were being blasted, people waving and singing and thus the atmosphere was being generated. Where ever you looked, green and yellow reigned! Strangely enough I never heard any vuvuzelas...maybe they are kept exclusively for soccer games!


Despite having prepaid for secure parking which on the day seemed to be so far from the stadium entrance we just took one of the free spots closer by. People were braaing beside their vehicles, music!!!? was being blasted from the vehicles and bottles were being opened everywhere. National spirit(s) was flying high. We were under the impression that we were not allowed to take any alcoholic refreshments into the stadium with us and I think most other people thought so too, however the consumption taking place on the perimeters was huge!

This was our first visit to the stadium which is built and designed to represent a calabash and is truly magnificent pice of architecture!! According to Wikipedia, it is also the sight where anelson made his first speech after being freed and Chris Hanis funeral service was held here. Another pont made is that it is close to where two Nobel peace prize winners lived namely Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.



I am sure it must be one of the most magnificent stadiums in the world! It is something to be truly proud of. We had about a to walk about a kilometre to get into the stadium and everyone along the way was so excited and happy to be there. The atmosphere was electric.

80,754 people filed into the stadium! What a sight! What an experience! How amazing to be part of this historical event. A programme of entertainers kept the the music side going including Hotstix Mabuzo and various groups of dancers . A vehicle specially built for Jooste van der Westhuizen, drove around the stadium so all could wave and honor him. This did give me a lump in my throat.


Before we knew it, it was five o'clock and time for the game to start. National anthems were sung. The visitors did their Haka Haka dance and then the whistle blew blew for the start.


The first half of the game was so exciting but it seems our team was outplayed and we lost rather badly to the Kiwis. While there was much sighing and complaining next to me and comments like "shocking" "embarrassing" etc. it really didn't matter. The experience is a once in a lifetime for us and we feel so privileged having been part of it all. Thanks to Sarah and Adrien for this treat.

On leaving,I looked back at the stadium it was dark and all the lights twinkling on the building made it look all the more fascinating and beautiful. I am indeed PROUD to be a South African and know we live in a very special country, not withstanding all our troubles.

The REAL birthday on the tenth started with Oscar's rendition of Happy Birthday, followed by a luncheon with Warren's sister Colleen, husband Jim, and niece Glynne. It was fun to catch up with the family and hear of their recent travels to Oz.

Sarah cooked up a storm for dinner and with all the calls and messages I know Warren had a special day. Christopher paid him a huge compliment and said he is the youngest sixty seven year old he knows. Long may it last! Thank you to one and all for their good wishes.


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