Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Day 34

Once again, I am skipping ahead in the continuity of the blog (and yes, I realize I am very, very far behind now, but realize that it's difficult to write posts that have a few thousand words each while working 12 hours a day with no off days) to post something about my dad.

Depending on who is reading this, you may or may not know that my father, 52, died two years ago today after losing a battle with cancer.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Day 5: Ellis Park, Nasrec, Braamfontein, Greenside

Previously during my trip: I get my accreditation, walk to a mall that closes really early, and watch a live game show that is falling apart at the seams.

I attempt to go to sleep after my marathon viewing of the game show, but my sleep schedule is still out of sync with Johannesburg time, so I lie in bed, tossing and turning for the next six hours, when I “wake up” to start my first day of volunteering.

Part of Johannesburg’s plan to revitalize their city is to build a mass transit bus system. They built dedicated bus lanes in the center of main roads and highways and have placed stations in the middle of the two bus lanes. They system is called Rea Vaya BRT (Bus Rapid Transit), and “Rea Vaya” means “we are going.” The problem, however, is that this approach is “too little, too late.”

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Day 4: Kensington, Ellis Park, Nasrec, and Eastgate

Previously during my trip: Michael Caine from Children of Men picks me up from the airport and a Portuguese restaurant doesn't know the meaning of ambient music.

I awake the next morning, and I have a few errands to run before reporting as a volunteer tomorrow. I first need to acquire my accreditation, which is a badge that needs to be worn while in the stadium area. The badges are color-coded, depending on the type of badge issued (volunteer, media, etc.), and each badge has numbers (one through nine), that indicates the areas where the person is allowed to go.

Since my hostel was located close to Johannesburg’s other stadium (Ellis Park), I figured that I could probably go get accreditation there and save myself a trip to the other stadium (Soccer City, where I was assigned to work), which is about a twenty-minute drive across town.

Since I don’t have a car (the preferred mode of transport for Johannesburgians(?)), I start to walk to the stadium, but I first need breakfast. I pass a local grocer (not a supermarket), and I look around to find something to eat. I see a lot of weird packaging, strange food items, unfamiliar brand names, and nothing particularly portable or appealing for breakfast. I opt to buy some things from the bakery in the back of the store, where they have freshly baked bread. I get some rolls, which are very inexpensively priced, less than one rand ($0.15) each. The rolls prove to be delicious, and I start trekking downhill, and I see the stadium in the distance.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Extraordinary Measures: Extraordinarily Quotable

I can’t believe that I forgot to mention in my post about the flight that I also watched Extraordinary Measures, the CBS Film (the TV network’s film division) that was released earlier this year. It had a memorable marketing campaign, where Harrison Ford yells, “I already work around the clock!” a phrase that gained momentum on the Internet.

I must confess though, I really didn’t watch the film: I fast-forwarded through the entire movie, stopping only when there were scenes with Harrison Ford. Some great quotes from Extraordinary Measures, all by Mr. Ford:

Friday, June 11, 2010

Day 16: Breaking News

I know I'm jumping ahead in my travel blog (yes, I am 12 days behind schedule), but I was just given a free ticket to today's match between South Africa and Mexico.

No, I'm not joking.
(pics or it didn't happen)
I'll explain more about what my job is as a volunteer later, but I have to get going, as I need to get to the stadium for the opening ceremony!