Getting picked up by a friend (or “fetched” as they’d say here), we went to ‘the Old Biscuit Mill’ for lunch. No, it no longer has anything to do with biscuits, nor is it a mill. It’s one of those ‘cool’ markets with different types of food at fashionable prices – reminded me a little of Borough Market or something similar. I had a nice stir fry and enjoyed conversing with new people, one of the things I’ve most enjoyed about this trip.
The group increased in size, all heading into town to watch the all important quarter final between Argentina and Germany. Some went straight to the Cape Town Stadium with their tickets. The less fortunate of us joined in the ‘Fan Walk’, a colourful parade of thousands of fans from the fan park to the stadium. Unlike the game I’d been to watch, which had been in the rain at night, the quarter final boasted a beautiful day with people streaming down all the streets. Every possible viewing area was packed out, with groups crowding round televisions wherever they could be found.
As we struggled to find a place to watch the game, someone decided to hail a combi to go to Sea Point. Some of the group seemed incredibly excited in the taxi, others slightly flustered. “The day started with me going out to get a haircut, and now this!” one of them said. It turns out, for at least a few of them, this was their first time in such a taxi. Astounded by my comfort in the vehicle, one turns to me and says “You’re more of a Capetonian than we are, and we’re from here!”
Whilst in the UK the middle-class will have used a bus at some point and almost definitely a train, here it’s less common. I learnt how some have never used any public transport here – neither trains nor buses. “Of course I’ve been in a taxi before. Uh, a metered taxi.” The argument between ‘safety’ and pure bourgeois living rages, as I question many on their methods of travel through the city and country. To watch games in other cities, domestic flights are widely used, and they’re not cheap (irrespective of the environmental cost).
Using your eyes alone, it’s clear that the gap between the rich and poor here is incredibly wide. What worries me is the outlook of some of the affluent people I’ve met, dismissing this gap as being nothing more than ‘the way it is’.
We watched the game in a restaurant with a big screen. It was nice. Later, on Long Street German fans blocked the traffic to celebrate their countries victory. I met some of the volunteers here, they’d already heard of my previous day’s excursion.
I jumped in the taxi with them back to the village, perhaps for the last time.