South Africa Trip: Day Three – The Boys Are Back In Town!

A Bafana Bafana fan sings along to their National Anthem…

My friends, Rob, Roberto, and Amanda, arrived in Cape Town basically the same time I did.  I had known they were in town, but I realized I had no way of getting in contact with them… The day before, I had spend the day at FanFest, and was secretly hoping that they would randomly show up there.  Unfortunately they didn’t, and so I had to figure something else out.  I ended up getting access to the wifi at my hostel, and I had received an email from Berto and from Jenny (Glickman), a friend who is now a capetonian, with their phone numbers.  I strolled down the street and caught a minibus taxi, and headed again to FanFest.  This time, I had a plan to pick up a SIM card for an unlocked phone I brought with me.  The minibus took quite a different (much longer) route than the previous day, giving me a glimpse of the not so nice areas of Cape Town.  Luckily, it was broad daylight, and I felt safe inside the bus.  I made it to the bus station, and headed for fanfest.  After talking to the MTN rep (MTN is one of the cell phone carriers in South Africa), I was able to buy a sim card for 50 cents (south african cents), and loaded it with 200 Rand.  Apparently, they had a deal that if you spent 40 Rand, you get a yellow and black soccerball bucket hat, and 60 rand would net you a big curly yellow vuvuzela.  Spending 200 rand, the lady brought me 1 crazy I’m-compensating-for something yellow vuvuzela, and two hats.  I had some issues not being able to send text messages (turns out I had to change some settings on my American phone), and was unable to call berto and amanda, but I was able to get a hold of Jenny (whom I hadn’t met yet) and left her a voicemail.  I headed for their hostel, and luckily, Jenny was able to relay to them that I was downstairs, and they came down (this section of the story has been edited for time).  We headed over to Arnold’s for lunch, and it turns out that Jenny’s boyfriend (Enoch!  My man!) is the night manager there.

I had my first experience with an Ostrich Burger (at Arnold’s on Kloof St.), and it was flippin’ amazing.

Rob finally made an appearance, as he had been MIA that morning. Turns out he went for an early hike to Lionshead, and had just gotten back.

We finished our lunch and headed to the Green Market, to explore the stalls there.  But we stopped off to grab a drink at the gas station, and check out one of the many shops on Long St.

At the Green Market, they had many stalls, with many similar items throughout, but pretty unique, very African, things.  However, there are rules you needed to follow if you wanted to survive Green Market Club.  First rule of Green Market Club… don’t make eye contact.  Although everyone there was really nice, these South African’s really know the high pressure sales game.  You can’t linger or look too long at a stall.  Looking for more than 5 seconds resulted in the stall owner calling out to you, “Come, my man, let me show you something!” or “Touch whatever you like!” or “We are almost closing, I’ll make good deal for you!”  Walking around alone, implied you weren’t just looking, or walking through with a group, so that invited further catcalls and whistling. People saw my giant vuvuzela, and would comment “Now that is a vuvuzela!” and would encourage me to a blow-off.  I was new with my vuvuzela, and my blowing skills just weren’t there yet.  They had a few laughs at my expense, but after a short while, I figured it out.  My horn didn’t have the loudness of theirs, but sounded deeper and more like the horn of a Viking.  In any case, I didn’t make it out of Green Market Club unscathed.  I tried my best, as I didn’t want to be hauling around souvenirs everywhere; I figured I could save the souvenir shopping for when I got closer to the departure date.

With that said however, I received a high pressure sales pitch for some paintings I saw on cloth.  I lingered as I locked eyes with a beautiful black and white painting of giraffes on a 18”x72” cloth.  I caught me, and so I asked how much it was.  He said 1500 rand (about $120), but said he’d give me a great deal. (He set me up good with that high number). I declined, and looked at the smaller paintings.  I saw another one of giraffes, and inquired about it.  He said it was 450 rand, and then asked how much I wanted to pay.  I said… hm.  300 rand (about $42).  He agreed a little too fast, and instead of me feeling like I was an awesome negotiator, I felt like I got hustled.  I walked through the market for a little while longer, while I was greeted with friendly inquiries about my nationality… “Korea?” “Japan?”  I told them I was from the US, and they excitedly proclaimed their support for our team, and I engaged some conversation, as we both talked about the excitement behind the South African team (BAFANA BAFANA!, which I’ve heard literally translates to BOYS BOYS!  Which is something I can totally get behind… wait, what?)

Rob and I made our way to FanFest to watch the Spain v Switzerland game, where the Swiss decided they no longer wanted to remain neutral, and won the match. Rob spent that time writing in his Emo Diary…

We made our way back to Arnold’s to meet up with Berto, Amanda, Jenny & the gang.  We spent the remainder of the evening there, and watched the home team lose in a heart breaking fashion to Uraguay 3-0…

I again had a difficult time with the Taxi, as the driver had never even been to Milnerton… he explained, “I’m just like you.  I am a foreigner here.”  Great, that’s really reassuring.

That’s all for now…

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