Day 20 : Day Off (well sort of)

Day 2o in the Big Brother house.

Despite some getting in a 7.30AM last night, our bodies are now used to only 5-6 hours sleep and we are all awake and raring to go at 11.

However there is nowhere to go. There are no games today. The Germans have gone to cover a German training session and would not return until 6.

Today was the last day for Steve. Ben had already gone. This adventure really does seem to be like Big Brother! What are the ones who go home saying? How will the house change now key characters have disappeared?

Cooking was not an option. It is cheaper to eat out in Johannesburg anyway than buy the raw ingredients.

We desperately needed internet. Still the lodge was without internet. Apparently the South African telephone engineers were all too busy at the World Cup or on strike. We made a pledge that none of us would go to a stadium today.

Instead we headed out a couple of miles into Randburg to a Sports Cafe and ate like kings.

© Matthew Ashton

The final bill consisted of 10 fruit juices, 5 smoothes and I lost count on how many milk shakes!

© Matthew Ashton

Steve, having his last supper with us, went for a Mombassa Salad. It was a monster!

The cafe wifi was simply useless. Dave was trying to book hotels for our next road trip. It would have been quicker to write a letter and post it next week.

© Matthew Ashton

Simon found an advert for one of the South African airlines. It made us stick.

“BACK TO BUSINESS” it read – With the end of the World Cup in sight, South Africa was already planing to return to normality. Flights which unsuspecting fans were paying £400-£500 for, were returning back to their ‘normal’ rates of £31.

One was advertised at £27!

It was although they were boasting that they had stopped ripping people off and were at last attempting to be magnetic to their previous loyal customers.

Upon the return to the lodge, the Japanese had surfaced.

<<WILL STEVE PLEASE LEAVE THE BIG BROTHER HOUSE>>

It was time for Steve’s eviction. Dave was in tears. We had a team group taken beside a rusty old tractor in the lodge garden.

American Joe and the Japanese went with myself to a local shopping centre. First we walked around the shops shutting and closing their doors as we went past. It was already getting dark. Things here seem to open at first light and shut at dusk.

Myself and Kazu found ourselves in a pet shop for about 20 minutes looking and playing with some lizard / iguana type creatures.

© Matthew Ashton

We then completed the purpose of our trip. A shop at the local supermarket for essentials. We purchased even more orange juice and although Ito tries to eat European, his cultural instincts shone as he went straight for some soy sauce and some other stuff in a bottle to put on his food!

We returned to find ourselves in another logistics / planning meeting.

I resigned myself to not photographing BOTH semi finals. After covering every other semi final at every other world cup I had attended I was not happy. We looked again at possibly driving after spending a fortune on South Africa 3G dongles surfing the airlines. All were full. They were simply not putting on any more planes.

South African Airways had basically stuck two fingers up at all their potential clients as FIFA had opted to go with Emirates Airlines as the official sponsors of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

For all the stringent rules that FIFA have when deciding on a World Cup, one very important one is transport.

Why is it impossible to fly between two major cities when an 18 hour car journey is out of the question?

I had tried contacting some local pilots but none had returned my calls.

Back to house logistics, we had realised today that two of the cars that we had hired should have been back 4 days ago. Being as though there were less photographers to cater for or that now everyone showed a more positive and humble input, we sorted everything out in less than 10 minutes.

We sat around the TV watching the African weather channel with cities and town popping up that we did not know existed. The seed of perhaps flying to a random African city for a day was planted in one or two minds.

We were all hungry again. The Japanese had not eaten all day. Some decided to stay in the lodge and get pizza. I was one of the travellers and wanted to go to a different location and explore more. We went first to a Japanese restaurant that I had been to before, but it was not the one Ito wanted to go to, so we searched further for it!

After getting there, we all went inside. It was like being in a restaurant in Ginza or Shimbashi! Was I really in South Africa?!

The waitress came up to me and said that they were full. Ito had already accosted one of the chefs. The Germans looked less pleased that we had not booked the restaurant or that they could not accomodate us. The waitress was simply not having any of it.

I demanded to see the manager. Ito wanted a Japanese meal and I was determined to get him one!

The manager came and I explained that we had heard of this restaurant through the Japanese Embassy. Ito was a friend of the Princess and the Japanese delegates would not be happy if they heard he could not be fed.

Ito then caught my attention and indicated that the chef had told him that they had run out of food.

The manager gave me more excuses that they were full. I then challenged her and said was it because they had no food? The manager went into more excuses – with Ito and myself interjecting that they had no food, she admitted that this was the case and we stormed out!

We eventually found a great Indian Restaurant.

© Matthew Ashton

Made up on the spot, no pre-plans, as always going with the flow and seeing where fate takes you is often the best option.

Kazu and me being the perfect team in iPhone photography. Kazu being lighting director and lighting the food with his iPhone and my snapping away, we had a good collection of Indian food pictures!

We had a great meal and felt refueled and ready for the next stages of the FIFA World Cup.

We went to bed early – 2330h with still some moaning that they still had “LOADS” of editing to do.

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One response to “Day 20 : Day Off (well sort of)

  1. Have read your various stream of consciousness blogs with interest – one minute its all very serious the next its a load of guys bonding and having a good “larf”.

    Quite amusing at times and your efforts to obtain access to games particularly the Japan game is to someone who has been to a couple of world cups very familiar
    Food shots seem to be your best work so far – even the dummy food in Japanese restaurants looks more appealing

    Peter

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