Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Heroism, adulthood

I'm in the big city (it's about the size of Westwood). The only thing I want is ice cream and I can't remember the goddamn word! It's a form of hell that is ruining my day. I decided to stop in the internet cafe to distract myself.

The other day as I was coming back from basketball a little girl bursts into tears. Usually I avoid approaching and asking what's wrong because the presence of a gigantic, sallow skinned monstrosity can invoke an adrenaline-flight response in children. But this time the cause was obvious, she had lost her goats. There are goats tied to posts everywhere in my town. Sometimes for milk, mostly for eating, their screams sound eerily like the screams of children. These two goats, envigorated by their newfound freedom bounded away from the girl...and towards a group of infants!

I leapt into action, pursued the goats and saved the kids. Though I never got above a jog and in all honesty probably just saved the goats from the merciless cruelty of the stick-wilding children, I still pretended that I was a hero and that was pretty nice for a couple of minutes. I returned the goats to the girl and promptly realized how strange this all was.

And it's stories like these that make my life sound exciting.

My English theatre group is starting, and being in charge of the creativity of a bunch of students is intimidating. I've never done anything like this before, I have no idea what activities would be good or bad, or if I have the confidence to pull it off. I've summoned a professional Photojournalist to my town as well and am responsible for making a training curriculum with him for the students at my school. I feel like I'm masquerading as a responsible adult.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

World Cup South Africa

Game Day.

We have tickets to Portugal vs. North Korea. We couldn’t get tickets to the US game, but we get to see Portugal and we are hoping that North Korea gives them a good game. The walk to the stadium is electrifying, going from one side of Cape Town to the other, a crowd of 70,000 people. The vuvuzela, the noisy trumpet-like device is spewing its celebratory noise pollution into the air. Bands are playing, men on stilts lope by, the scent of South African sausages. Portugal fans are out in force, and their colors are everywhere. But we pass Dutch fans clad in orange, English fans in their colors, and an entire family dressed to the nines in Mexican colors with each member down to the women and children wearing fake bushy black moustaches. I am wearing my jacket, USA emblazoned across the back.

There isn’t a single North Korea fan in sight, and I didn’t see one my entire time in Cape Town.

I’m just hoping for a good game.

At half its 1-0. North Korea is being outplayed, but there’s plenty of time for a turnaround. But into the second half Portugal scores. I’m buying a hot dog at the time and run out onto a balcony. The stadium explodes. The noise from the cheers hits me like a shockwave. I run back to my seat, my skin tingling with excitement.

Two minutes later Portugal scores again. 3-0. Two minutes after that they score again. 4-0. The crowd is going ballistic. “POR TU GAL! POR TU GAL!” cheers are so loud that you can’t even shout over them. You can feel them reverberating in your seat. You can feel them reverberating in your skull. Everyone around me is freaking out, screaming and jumping. We don’t want a good game anymore, we don’t want North Korea to make a spectacular comeback. We want blood. We want slaughter. We want magnificent soccer gods to rain down their athletic dominance on their puny foes like thunderbolts, to annihilate, to demean.

The crowd refuses to sit down now. Blood is in the water and the Portuguese players know it. They are suddenly invincible, penetrating the defense with playful ease. A shot goes off the crossbar, the crowd in union shouts “Oh!” in disappointment. But minutes later they score again. And again. And again. On the final goal Cristiano Ronaldo juggles the ball off of his own back, over his shoulder, and fires into the goal—the ball never toughing the ground. 7-0. Slaughter, annihilation, everything we wanted. A spectacle. The most goals scored so far in the tournament in one game, all of them scored by one team.


Cape Town was amazing. Every day we would pass groups of orange clad Dutch, heckling English, Japanese fans all in blue. We watched the US beat Algeria in a bar that was packed wall to wall with Americans. Climbed Table Mountain, went to the Cape of Good Hope (saw penguins, baboons), navigated some hangovers, ran myself to ragged. One of the best vacations I have ever had.