Good Lord. Wha’ppened? I blinked, and it’s almost the end of February… Time flies when you’re having fun – or working too hard and have children who’ve just started school! But better late than nevah – so herewith the latest hits and missives from the Big Smoke – or as it’s been renamed these days – Po tholes. (Poh – tho – leez).
Yes, Jozi drivers are gatvol, as Johannesburg is riddled with holes – from potholes to manholes, they dot the city, the suburbs and the townships, severely damaging cars and causing accidents. In 2006, it was reported that in 10 months, the Johannesburg Roads Agency received 42 500 complaints of potholes across the city. Things have, alas, not improved since then… Apparently potholes have increased by 61% in Johannesburg in the last year or so, and officials are blaming the problem on “a failure to invest in the roads”. Johannesburg Roads Agency Chairman Khehle Shubane would not speak to the media about his statement that his organisation was not given enough money to fix potholes and resurface the city’s roads properly – because apparently there is budget, but possibly too much squabbling over who is to blame… Ah well, somebody’s going to have to get their A into G if they’re going to get it sorted by the time the soccer tourists come to our World Class African City.
Talking about the biggest event possibly to happen on the African continent – after Madiba’s release from prison, of course – The Fifa 2010 World Cup has elicited many questions from people around the world, which have been succinctly (and fairly amusingly!) answered on a South African Tourism Website (flyafrica.info). Kudos to the website owner!
Here are some of the queries he fielded with aplomb.
Q: Does it ever get windy in South Africa? I have never seen it rain on TV, so how do the plants grow? (UK)
A: We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around watching them die. …
Q: Will I be able to see elephants in the street? (USA)
A: Depends how much you’ve been drinking.
Q: I want to walk from Durban to Cape Town – can I follow the railroad tracks? (Sweden)
A: Sure, its only two thousand kilometres take lots of water…
Q: Is it safe to run around in the bushes in South Africa? (Sweden)
A: So its true what they say about Swedes…
Q: Are there any ATMs (cash machines) in South Africa? Can you send me a list of them in JHB, Cape Town , Knysna and Jeffrey’s Bay? (UK)
A: What did your last slave die of?
Q: Can you give me some information about Koala Bear racing in South Africa? (USA)
A: Aus-tra-lia is that big island in the middle of the pacific. A-fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe which does not…oh forget it. Sure, the Koala Bear racing is every Tuesday night in Hillbrow. Come naked.
Q: Which direction is north in South Africa? (USA)
A: Face south and then turn 90 degrees. Contact us when you get here and well send the rest of the directions.
Q: Can I bring cutlery into South Africa? (UK)
A: Why? Just use your fingers like we do.
Q: Can you send me the Vienna Boys Choir schedule? (USA)
A: Aus-tri-a is that quaint little country bordering Ger-man-y, which is…oh forget it. Sure, the Vienna Boys Choir plays every Tuesday night in Hillbrow, come naked.
Q: Do you have perfume in South Africa? (France)
A: No, WE don t stink.
Q: I have developed a new product that is the fountain of youth. Can you tell me where I can sell it in South Africa? (USA)
A: Anywhere where a significant number of Americans gather.
Q: Can you tell me the regions in South Africa where the female population is smaller than the male population? (Italy)
A: Yes, gay nightclubs.
Q: Do you celebrate Christmas in South Africa? (France)
A: Only at Christmas.
Q: Are there killer bees in South Africa? (Germany)
A: Not yet, but for you, we'll import them.
Q: Are there supermarkets in Cape Town and is milk available all year round?
A: No, we are a peaceful civilization of vegan hunter-gatherers. Milk is illegal.
Q: Please send a list of all doctors in South Africa who can dispense rattlesnake serum. (USA)
A: Rattlesnakes live in A-meri-ca, which is where YOU come from. All South African snakes are perfectly harmless, can be safely handled and make good pets.
Q: I was in South Africa in 1969 and I want to contact the girl I dated while I was staying in Hillbrow. Can you help? (USA)
A: Yes, but you will probably still have to pay her by the hour.
Q: Will I be able to speek English most places I go? ( USA )
A: Yes, but you’ll have to learn it first.
And these FAQ from travelwires.com!
South Africa: Where’s that?
How well do you know Egypt? We would suggest a flight to Cairo, stop over and then a scenic African drive south. Your best bet would be to hire your car from Avis and arm yourself … purely as a precaution. This is what we call the “Garden Route” on account of the fact that, from the time you leave Cairo until the time you almost reach Zimbabwe, chances are that you and your family will have been buried in someone’s garden in Uganda, Congo, Rwanda …
Do South Africans speak English?
Which cities will host the games?
Pretoria, which may be called Tshwane, currently in Gauteng unless it’s annexed by Mpumalanga, and easily accessed by road from Cairo. If you decide to fly, then you will land at OR Tambo International Airport, unless it becomes Jacob Zuma International Airport, which is also currently in Gauteng. We have limited this answer on account of the real danger that all the cities, provinces and stadiums will have been relocated or renamed by the time you get here. Your best bet would be to simply call 1023 from your hotel room and ask for the absolute-final-latest, never-to-be-changed details, the day before your game kicks off. 1023 will then give you the latest telephone number for the organisers.
How many tickets will be available?
There are three million tickets allocated as follows :
2 900 000 — Fifa committee members, their families and friends
98 000 — Organisers, their families and friends.
1 998 — Corporate sponsors
1 — 94.7 Highveld Stereo lucky listener
1 — Goes on sale at Computicket (tba)
Should I come if I can’t get tickets?
Definitely, just spend a bit more time in Cairo before driving down.
In which time zone is South Africa?
Depends what you’ve been smoking.
What is the weather like?
Like it depends on what you’ve been smoking.
How do i get to games?
There is a very sophisticated road network that gridlocks about 3km from any starting point. You then abandon your vehicle and walk the remaining 20km or 30km to the venue. Do not listen to the garbage about there being lions in the streets. They aren’t stupid; they are usually about 200m away from gridlock points shading under trees and digesting tourists.
The trains are far better. Why not try taking a train from Soweto to Soccer City? For those without tickets you can “surf” on top of the train (see section on “decapitation” below). South Africa also has the latest planes, so don’t hesitate to fly. Please do not be alarmed if the pilots leave the intercom on by mistake and you overhear the following in the fifth hour of your two-hour flight: “O R Tambo … is that what used biverkningar to be called Johannesburg International … or Jan Smuts …?”
Is it safe to walk around?
Of course it’s safe! Ask any survivor and they’ll tell you that crime is down. It may however be more appropriate at times to quicken your pace to … let’s say, a sprint.
Where do i stay?
Ask me, I’m Moses.
Will I be able to phone home?
If you are English (see our section on “Immediate arrest at airport”.) it would be best to get a friend to make the call. Police stations only allow one local call.
Can I drink the water?
Of course you can. What’s the worst that can happen? (See also our section on hospitals and the treatment of fatal illnesses using beetroots and potatoes.)
What’s the food like?
The food is fabulous. There is something for everyone, or in the case of our northern man-eating neighbours, someone for everyone. There is, however, an anticipated shortage of beetroots and potatoes.
What currency does South Africa use?
What currency do you have?
Can I watch the games on my cellphone?
Sure, if you’re sitting in the stadium.
Does South Africa have modern banks?
Very much so. If you are rolling in money, please don’t hesitate to ask for credit. If you go one cent over your credit limit, see our sections on “repossession, liquidation enquiries and imprisonment”.
You are advised to use ATMs in the following way:
1. Insert card — sprint 200m away.
2. No explosion? Return and insert your details — sprint 200m away.
3. If no explosion, return to collect money and card, be robbed and sprint 200m towards the trees … NB: most lions will already be digesting tourists, so chances are …
What is a vuvuzela?
The north Bornean hunting vuvuzela, previously native to North America, may also be found in certain parts of South Africa. They feed mainly on plants but during droughts have been known to become flesh eating. Generally docile, they may become homicidal if they are disturbed while breeding. Chances are 50/50 that you’ll encounter one, so it’s hardly worth bothering about.
And here are some others they received, which kinda beggar belief. After all, TIA, my friends, TIA!
- What measures have been taken into consideration for non-English speaking guests, since Mossel Bay has introduced Spanish lessons to cater for their Paraguayan visitors?
- Will the oldest trade ‘prostitution’ prosper during the world cup?
- Fan parks, will rural areas benefit from them?
- Will Hillbrow be safe to travel?
- Will taxi drivers suddenly have manners, treat passengers and other motorists with respect?
- Will metro police not take bribes and hide behind trees?
- Will you run tsotsi taal classes for visiting guests?
- Will Bafana Bafana be crowned 2010 champions? (um, sorry, highly unlikely I reckon..)
- Will President Robert Mugabe be welcoming to British soccer fans?