Saturday, July 17, 2010
It has indeed been a sad week in Cape Town. All rainy and quiet. The World Cup is over and I never thought I’d actually miss the vuvuzelas.
Not that everything has gone back to normal. It’s even possible that the city will never be the same again. The whole world had the chance to see what warm and welcoming people South Africans are and that Cape Town is indeed one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Now all those tourists want to come back again! The fantastic winter weather and security success we had over World Cup time also helped to generate some good word of mouth from travellers returning home.
South Africans were finally united behind one flag, for the first time since the end of Apartheid. Really. For once we stood up as one country without fighting. South African people from all races and travellers from all over the world cheered arm in arm in a country that was once so culturally divided. No one can ever take that away.
It’s only fitting then, to end an incredible World Cup with Nelson Mandela’s birthday on Sunday 18 July 2010. We owe this cosmopolitan status quo to him after all. Not only are we free in South Africa, to be ourselves and to construct our lives in any way we choose – but our country is also finally able to get the international recognition and support it deserves. Not to mention a little football magic.
There’s a lot to look forward to post World Cup 2010 in Cape Town. Now there will finally be time to indulge in all the winter specials at Cape Town’s finest restaurants and catch up on tasting all the Cape’s award winning wines around a snug fireplace. And soon, it will be summer again...
Personally, I’m excited about the little piece of Paris that will stay in Cape Town until the end of the year. While the Wheel of Excellence at the V&A Waterfront is owned by a Dutch company, it spent last Christmas on the Champs Élysées. Lucky wheel!
Perhaps the end of the World Cup will be just the beginning of many more great things in Cape Town. Can't wait to see what lies ahead!
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Despite spirited cheering from the Argentinians at the Cape Town stadium last weekend (they even jumped up and down when they were singing their national anthem), the Germans quickly made mash of them on the pitch.
Good defense tactics kept Argentina out of play while a clever game plan combined with a generous dose of German discipline led Super Deutschland to send another South American team home on 3 July 2010. The tension in the stadium was tangible. Masses of vibrant Argentina fans became eerily quiet while the usually subdued Germans couldn’t keep their joy inside.
A 4-0 win for Germany had fans singing German football songs in the stadium long after the final whistle had blown. I cheered along with the Germans who invited me for the game. It’s always nice to learn something new, this time it was a football song: “Super Deutschland, Super Deutschland, Ole, Ole!”
Afterwards, at the Cape Quarter, the vibe was incredible. We were lucky to still get a table at Tank restaurant. The square was full and the German supporters proudly boasted with their soccer jerseys, face paint and flags. Some sushi went down well with a bottle (or three) of celebratory Haute Cabriére Chardonnay Pinot Noir while watching Spain confirm their place in the semi-final against Germany on Wednesday 7 July in Durban.
My new friends from Frankfurt quickly managed to sort out a little trip to the tropical South African city of Durban to support their team. I’ll have to sing my new found song loud enough for them to hear it all the way from Cape Town tonight.