Joe is shooting a rugby match at Soccer City this Saturday – South Africa’s reigning world-champion Springboks against the New Zealand All Blacks. It’s a rematch of the 1995 Rugby World Cup championship, featured in Invictus.
Soccer City was the site of last month’s Soccer World Cup championship, and this is the first time a rugby match will be played there. I wanted to go to the match but the tickets (all 94,000 of them) are sold out. So I settled for going to the stadium with Joe yesterday to pick up his media credentials.
We drove into the massive parking lot and went in through a back entrance to a small auditorium. Joe picked up his credentials and the PR person took us for a tour of the media facilities. I got to see the field, which was cool.
On our way home from Soccer City we decided to visit the Oriental Plaza – a city-block-sized mall packed with Indian-owned stores. It’s a bargain-shopper’s paradise.
The first place we passed was a cluttered kitchen supply store. We stopped to browse and left 20 minutes later with a cooking pot and a whisk.
We wandered further into the maze and found a small fabric shop called Rajshree Boutique, tucked behind a curtain store. The shop was stuffed with fabric – we could barely move down the aisles. Piles of cloth grew from the floor and shawls swayed from the ceiling. It smelled pleasantly musty.
I had some fabric with me that I bought in India four years ago. I’ve never gotten around to doing anything with it and wanted an opinion. I showed the fabric to Patel, the boutique’s proprietor. He admired it and said I could have an outfit made for about R200 (less than $30). He said I must come back another day — the tailors were closing down early for Ramadan.
Patel showed us several beautiful scarves handmade in Kashmir and Afghanistan. They cost about $10 each. I bought three.
It was getting late. We stopped at a samosa stand for a can of mandarin orange juice and a coke, then made our way to the car.
Joe likes to avoid highways so there’s always a lot to see from the car. We drove through several interesting neighborhoods – Fordsburg, Mayfair, Brixton, Auckland Park. I saw women in burqas walking kids home from school, a horde of tiny children playing soccer on a dirt pitch, a burned-out house heaped with trash and a village of people living inside. We crested a hill on a winding road next to the Brixton radio tower and the city spread out like a fan below us.
Today I’m busy admiring my scarves and planning my next trip to the Oriental Plaza. I may become one of Patel’s most loyal customers.