Tuesday morning we drove to Port Elizabeth, which is a long haul (about eight hours), but it’s incredibly scenic and a lot more mountainous than expected, especially this far south. (Basically the drive is along the southern coast—they call it the Garden Route.)
Oddest sight: We stopped for gas at a BP (I know, I know), and they had some sort of mini zoo out front: goats, roosters, pigs and a llama, who had his own pen.
Once in PE, we went to the Portugal-Ivory Coast game. Great sets of fans, especially the Ivorians. There were about 250 of them, tucked away in the corner. There was only one vuvuzela, and it was an authentic one, not some cheap plastic one being blown by a drunk English kid from Doncaster. Instead, their preferred noisemaker was a pair of wooden sticks that were banged together whilst chanting and dancing. (Video link TK)
There were also two men in elephant suits (Cote d’Ivoire’s nickname is Les Elephants). One guy’s headgear had some sort of wooden tusks, and he accidentally gored me in the chin while I was moving in for a picture. The poor dude was mortified. He took his head off and gave me about eight hugs.
The other guy was called Papa Elephant. His suit was more of a mascot-kinda-thing. We snuck into the Cote d’Ivoire section in the second half, and after the game Papa came back to the section, took off his head and collapsed onto a seat. The guy looked totally wiped. He let me put on his head. It was tight and sweaty, and the less said about the smell the better.
I didn’t care, though. It was awesome. For the first time I didn’t feel like I was at some shoe-ruining, cold-hot-dog-serving, dangerous, poorly organized amateur hour. I felt like I was at the best sporting event in the world.