Warning: This post is 3 weeks late and may not be suitable for sensitive readers.
So what do you get when you have a bunch of women, each bound to each other genetically, sharing the same eccentric DNA? Let’s just say that we’ve been very, very wicked. Due to conflicting schedules and work commitments for some, our numbers tended to vary on a day to day basis; with one of our members busy avoiding a couple of Russian human traffickers for 2 days on a business trip to Sun City and another opting to have lunch with her new BFF, Miss South Africa, 3 days a week at her new plush job.
Then there were those activities that we wanted to do but never got around to and those that we actually did.
For instance, we wanted to go to the same upmarket restaurant that Paris Hilton and Leonardo Di Caprio were dining at in Rosebank, order from the menu, then demand to see the manager and head chef to complain about the quality of the food, before whipping out a packet of frozen McCain Ovenbake Chips and asking them to “pop” it in the oven for 15 minutes.
We wanted to approach a couple of sweet and naïve Americans, tell them that they could see Lions, Giraffes and Zebras “just down the street”, and then take them to the Zoo.
Inspired by my neighbours love for animals (he had a tiny kitten cuddled in his jumper one day), I wanted to go to one of the largest Supermarkets on it’s busiest day, pretending to be pregnant and in labour, carrying a similar tiny kitty strategically tucked away while the others help me “push” and give “birth” on the floor, pulling out said kitty, holding it up to the sky and shouting “It’s a Boy!!!”.
We wanted to go to a random block of residential post boxes, choose a random post box number and write the address on an envelope, stuff a bra inside and toss it in the “re-post” section.
We wanted to take the Gautrain from the Airport to Sandton during peak hour and when the automated voice announces the next station, look up shocked and mutter “God?”.
We wanted to boycott and protest outside a few wedding receptions, with banners and placards stating “Death to Fairytales” and “Happily ever after se moer”.
We wanted to go to all the other swankier posh weddings, stand outside the gate and sell faux entrance tickets to the wedding reception for R5 each to the general public.
We wanted to commission a camera crew, pretend we’re part of the press and go around on Saturday nights and Sunday mornings interviewing unsuspecting people sitting idly about or waiting in their cars or having breakfast at McDonalds, with mic in hand going to and fro in the conversations… I imagined some of them going like this:
Me: Good evening gentlemen…
Me: Just a quick word… it’s a beautiful evening out, you guys enjoying the World Cup?
Them: Erm yes, yes it’s great…
Me: Fantastic. So does your mother know you’re here?
(Outside synagogue on a Saturday)
Me: (serious and in full hijab talking to the camera) We’re here on this Sabbath venerating The Lord Almighty, supporting our Jewish brothers… *knock-on-window-of-first-car-with-passengers* Shalom Shalom… so… erm… tell me… do you enjoy being Jewish or do you ever secretly wish you were Muslim?
Does your mother know you’re here?
Me: Good morning ladies and gentlemen! Sorry to disturb you, how’s your breakfast run going? *shove-mic-in-closest-face*
Me: *don’t-wait-for-a-response* That’s great! *change-to-lower-tone-curious-concerned-voice* So... erm… tell me… aren’t you suppose to be at church and what do you think God will say about that?
Does your mother know you’re here?
But there was so much to do... so little time. And while Mother spent her time thinking Kakà was so cute that she wanted to brush his hair, give him sweets and send him off to school packed with lunch, we indulged in other activities instead…
We saw strange, peculiar, hobbit-like Argentinean guys walking along the N1 Highway, horribly lost, and drove them to Greenstone.
Inspired by Lady Gaga, we christened every single Spanish-speaking male that we came into contact with, as Alejandro.
Me: Ok Alejandro
Him: My name is Ricardo
Me: Whatever you say Alejandro
Me: Nice to meet you Alejandro
Him: Is Miguel
Me: Ok Alejandro
We tried to be accommodating, and spoke to all the Asian-looking people we encountered using all the Chinese we learnt from Chris Tucker in the Rush Hour movies.
We negotiated terms with the head waiter at an upmarket bistro so that he could shield us from the public as we licked all the Nutella residue off our plates.
We bought apparel… jackets, scarfs, etc… supporting various teams. On instinct (my notorious killer instinct), I adopted Spain as my team knowing absolutely nothing about them prior to the World Cup (prior as in 10th of June 2010). I didn’t even know what Fernando Torres looked like, or that they had won the Champions League, or that they were picked as the favourites to win the WC, or that David Villa even existed. I had to do homework.
We rallied in unison with the Brazilians on ESPN, imitating them and then abandoned them two minutes later to rally with their rivals.
We jumped with joy and sang with the Spaniards, making up Spanish lyrics as we went along, on a live broadcast on one of their networks, while they put their hats on our heads and draped their flags around us.
We were thoroughly impressed with the Mexicans for their sheer numbers and unpretentiousness, (and because we all have the same curly hair), and then befriended and danced with them long after the game was over.
We helped a few bea-uuuu-tiful Argentinean women and spent hours chatting, coo-ing and gawking at each other.
Lorena: …and then we broke up.
Me: Why would anyone want to break up with you? You are stunning.
Lorena: No. No.
Me: Yes. Yes. I love your skin. It looks so smooth and flawless.
Lorena: Thank you. I use Nivea. I love your hair. It’s so long and soft.
Me: Thank you. I use Pantene Shampoo and Conditioner. I like your nose too. It’s so dainty.
Lorena: Haha. Thank you. You have beautiful eyes.
And it went on and on and on…
We befriended a producer from ESPN and he told us many tails of his travels, encounters, experiences and adventures in the sporting world and beyond.
We spent many evenings huddled in cosy corners, in long conversations about life with new friends.
We were interviewed by 16 different television networks from Europe, Latin America, Africa and Vietnam, with me speaking in my finest Spanglish and often making utter fools of ourselves with a total lack of football knowledge, trying to remember the player’s names:
Reporter: So which player do you like?
Cousin: Vela, Vela from Spain.
Me: Vela is from MEXICO you idiot.
Cousin: Oh yes, Me-hico.
Reporter: (to me) And who’s your favourite player?
Me: Well I like David Villa and erm… I can’t remember his name. Oh wait, it’s something Santa Cruz, (Roque Santa Cruz) he plays for Chili, or is it Paraguay?
We joined that lone man, when he was the only one flying the Chilean flag in a sea of Brazilians.
We assisted some German ladies who were shopping for gifts and thermal underwear and my brilliant sister thought that they’d understand her better if she spoke to them in English with a German accent… much like the time she thought that the lady (who spoke no English at all) at our hotel in Paris would understand her better if her English was in a French accent.
On some days, we spoke in our British accents and on one particular day, we went to the Supermarket to buy ice-cream and an old little Italian lady (foreigner not local) heard us talking and took it upon herself to guide us through the Supermarket, explaining where to get the drinks and snacks and how to pay for them, in her broken English. We felt terrible afterwards. Bless her.
We laughed all day when a reporter from Brazil wanted to interview my cousin in Portuguese, assuming she was Brazilian because she was wearing the team’s jacket. He approached her and said:
Rep: Bom dia, como esta?
Cuz: Bom dia, muy bien
Rep: Rambles off in Portuguese, asking a question.
Cuz: Erm, I think I skipped that class.
Rep: (looking confused and asks accusingly) You’re not Brazilian?
Cuz: No, sorry. But I’m supporting the team.
Reporter looks at her with an utterly betrayed, hurt (like she intentionally broke his heart), “how-dare-you-wear-the-Brazilian-colours” look in his eye.
We got mistaken for various nationalities. Everyone assumed I’m Spanish and would ask to take a photo with me. I had no intention on setting anyone straight and didn’t want to disappoint and as a result, there are over two hundred people from all over the world posing with the Spanish-version-of-me in their World Cup albums.
We met the Spanish team (only about 8 of them). I would have liked to attribute it to my stalking skills, but it was completely by accident… being in the right place at the right time with the right people. I still ardently believe that it was Destiny, seeing as I only supported them on that gut feeling and was all Moorish-Spanish for an entire month. Iker Casillas is the friendliest and Torres blushes like a girl.
We approached anyone who looked foreign and confused, offering help. They were easy to spot and were usually the ones looking quizzically at a map or board signs, eyes searching and pointing in some or other direction. And most were dressed like it’s the middle of Summer. We met, accompanied and drove many people to their destinations and provided centrally located accommodation to those who were looking for or had problems/issues with the location/distance/condition of their booked accommodation for free by getting a set of keys from my aunt and converting my cousins six-bedroom palatial home into a temporary hotel while he was in Cape Town.
And then there were the Canadians, the Serbians, the Japanese, the Ghanaians … and that time we introduced those Paraguayans to the mosque and Muslim life in SA... literally hundreds of stories to tell my kids one day. Good times man, good times.
Those waiting for their update can find it here.