Today is June 10, 2010 the day before the World Cup. The Wnec FC as our group is calling ourselves had our first breakfast at the University. To our suprise we all found warm milk in our cereal which was not the most delicious thing I've ever had by far.
Our group made the drive from Pretoria into Johannesburg at 9 in the morning. The drive lasted about an hour and we got our first views of the wonderful city of Johannesburg. First stop of the day was at the IBC, The International Broadcast Center. The IBC is the headquarters of the media of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Once an empty buidling the IBC is flowing with reporters and camera crews from every nation represented in the World Cup. While at the IBC our group spotted ESPN analysts Julie Foudy and Chris Fowler. We did not get to see Outside the Lines reporter Bob Ley or Alexi Lalas which was too bad.
The IBC which was located just outside of Soccer City, the 94,500 person stadium was its own little village. Equipped with a Wellness Center, Bank, and post office. Our group was able to get a first hand account of how the image we get on our televesion back home is produced. I would go into more detail about that if I knew more about technology.
The second half of our day was truly where we got to mix it up with the locals. We traveled to 2 shopping centers where we made our first purchases and tried out our bargaining techniques. The people here were so friendly and welcoming. We then travled to the top of one of the malls in Johannesburg called the Top of Africa and stood on the 50th floor taking pictures of the gigantic city of Johannesburg which looked like NYC from up above.
The best part of the day was at Sandton City in Mandela Square. At Mandela Square our group saw the passion of the World Cup. Spontaneously Mexican fans, Argentina fans, South African fans, and fans of any nation present were singing, dancing, blowing the patented South African horns all night for multiple hours. It was truly a magnificant sight to see. The square was wild with World Cup Fever, it was hard not to embrace it. Also, our group witnessed what soccer looks like in 3d. I'll say this much I don't know how goalies do it. Some of the shots we saw in 3d are coming at you so fast it is scary. I recommend all with HD tv's to buy 3d because you are literally on the field.
After a long day of touring the city and seeing World Cup banners lining the streets, the passion of the fans, and experiencing the food and shopping our group arrived back at the University at after 10 at night. We were all worn out. It was a great first day in South Africa and I think all of us will remember it for some time.