Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I’m not a visitor! Are you a visitor?

The first ones I met were Algerians. At the Rosebank Woolworths Food. They were handsome Arab-looking okes, buying flags. When I got outside, they were putting them on the roof of their 4X4 hire car. A South African flag and an Algerian one.
That’s the green and white one with a red star and crescent on it. I know that one. “You guys from Algeria?” I tuned them. Pretty soon we were discussing their nailbiting qualification campaign and the perfidy of their Egyptian rivals.
The next guys I spotted were shaven-headed Englishmen in the bogs at the Baron. I tried to initiate a chat, but the guy got all facetious on me. “How am I enjoying it so far? Well, it’s quite an enjoyable pee…”
The next World Cup visitors I saw were all journalists, prowling Sandton with cameras and microphones looking for people to interview. They don’t really count.
I didn’t see any visitors. Or, if I did, it was hard to know for sure they were visitors. They look a lot like South Africans. That’s the problem with the Rainbow Nation. Anyone could plausibly be South African.
And here I was, all keen to be hospitable and no visitors presented themselves. I went and saw Die Antwoord and there were only South Africans there. Look & Listen? South Africans. KFC? South Africans, and a guy in a photographer’s jacket who could’ve been Brazilian. Or from Westbury.
We go watch the rugby at the Brazen Head and the place is crawling with Saffas. It’s so packed that me and Baby have to sommer stand by the bar.
We catch the end of the Bafana game and a rather iffy Bok performance in the first half. I go for a pee to drain all the Stella draught.
A guy in a Bafana shirt is at the next urinal. He finishes before me and then loiters a bit.
“I hope you guys are having a nice time here…”
“Ja, this is my favourite Brazen Head. It’s better than the one in Sandton…”
The guy gets a confused look on his face and then looks a little disappointed. “Oh, you’re… Where are you from?”
“Joburg. PE originally…”
“Oh… So you’re not from overseas?”
Poor guy. He thinks I’m a visitor. Maybe it was me ordering the Stella. He was so keen to welcome me to South Africa. He’s clearly just as desperate to find some World Cup visitors as I am.
Back in the bar we manage to find a table. The waitress is super polite. She constantly hovers and at one point explains to us what peri-peri sauce is.
When she heads off to place our order, I give Baby a tip, “They think we World Cup tourists. Don’t give the game away. They might give us a free dessert.”
“Maybe. But then they’ll expect us to tip like tourists too.”
Fair enough. “Enkosi sisi,” I tell her when she comes back. “Ndicela i-Stella.”

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