Monday 21st June: Jo’burg to Bloemfontein
Our morning flight arrived in Addis Ababa about 8am. Having left Heathrow about two hours late we arrived about 10mins before our connecting flights to Jo’burg was scheduled to leave. Thankfully that flight was delayed as well. Booking with the world renown Ethiopian airlines saved us around 350GPB but didn’t come without it’s worries:
The Guardian – “26 Jan 2010 … Lebanese minister says plane that went down in a storm, killing 90, suddenly turned in the opposite direction from the suggested path.”
In all fairness the flight wasn’t bad. From the air Addis Ababa looked far greener than expected.We had arrived in Africa, but had another 5 hour flight to Jo-burg.
Jo’burg airport seemed pleasant enough. They country has definitely made the effort for the World Cup – plenty of smiley people to greet and give out guides. After sorting our hire car (Nissan Livina) we made our way down to our accommodation in Bloemfontein. After a bit of a detour around the suburbs of Jo’burg whilst attempting to get on the elusive N1 motorway we made good progress down to our accommodation. Kilometers seem to pass a lot quicker than miles, especially as the roads seems to be good quality. Arriving at our ‘Close to Preller’ guesthouse we received our keys from two young South African chaps who were keen to chat about the football. Initial feeling is that everyone is both excited and proud that SA is hosting the World Cup. They were confident that SA could beat France in the following days game but not so confident they would get the goal difference needed to get them through to the last 16… Most important was the need to go out with a bang if qualification wasn’t achieved.
After ditching our gear we headed out for some food and a beer. Bloemfontein seemed eerily quite for a town that was hosting a World Cup game the next day – we decided to blame this on the French and their well renown lack of travelling support. Getting a beer was an odd experience. The bar felt like a 1950s American pool house. The first sight upon entrance was a rather drunk, angry looking barmen wrestling a pool cue away from an even more drunken punter. A woman, looking twice as drunk as both of the two men was sat on the floor doing nothing apart from looking suspiciously like a crack-heed. In fact I don’t think I have seen a bigger collection of reprobates in a pub for a long time – some Algerian fans entered at one point, took one walk round and decided to make a speedy exit. Anyway, the football highlights were showing so after a couple of Carling Black Label’s and watching Portugal demolish Korea 7-0 we headed back for a kip…