Saturday, July 3, 2010

Day 18 – Our Last Game, All You Can Eat Buffet, and Reunion With Roses

After seeing how close the casino parking lot was to the stadium last night, Sticks (Carlos) insisted we park there for the game today. We battled through traffic for over two and a half hours being turned down at just about every final turn to the stadium until we reached the last one. Once we made the second to last turn it took us an hour to move about three blocks. Then once we got close enough to the front of the line where four different roads were merging in to one Micah told me to take the freeway onramp, the turn I was supposed to make was the frontage road that came immediately after the freeway onramp. So, having wasted two and a half hours through gridlock traffic, spiking my stress levels and abolishing the fuse to my temper, we headed for the Park and Ride station back by our house.

Arjen Robben finally got a start, after playing the role of super-sub last game, and he certainly did not disappoint. Every time he touched the ball something amazing happened, and that’s not an exaggeration. He’d either score, hit the post, or force an amazing save from the keeper. Other than that the Dutch still look as though they’re on cruise control and only doing what they have to in order to advance. We got about a ten-minute glimpse of what they’re capable of last game when Samuel Eto’o equalized off the penalty kick. But even for the first game in the knock out rounds they seem to just be screwing around and going through the motions. Their next game will be nothing shy of amazing though as they’re now set to play Brazil, unfortunately we’ll be somewhere over the Atlantic when that game takes place.

After the game we made our way to the casino to find some dinner and then watch the Brazil vs Chile game. Apparently we weren’t the only ones with this idea as there were thousands of people pouring in to the casino and lines were rapidly growing. Ironically the restaurant with the shortest line was the one with the longest line the day before at an all you can eat buffet and grill. Not only was it the shortest line they had dropped the price 25 rand as well, so it was now all you could eat for 100 rand (roughly $13 and what you’d pay for a regular meal anywhere else.) We got in and it had been at least twelve hours since I’d had breakfast so I wasted no time on catching up on food not eaten in that time span. Four plates of entrees and two plates of apple cobbler later we waddled out of there in search of a comfortable place to catch the game.

Brazil went off and eviscerated Chile 3-0, a rather impressive blow out. We went in search of a cab after the game, but the glowing and flashing slot machine lights were too inviting for Micah and Carlos, so they headed in to the gambling area. Marcos and I followed but they wouldn’t let Marcos in with the doughnuts he’d just purchased to feed his newly renewed obsession with doughy goodness. Micah had said he only wanted to gamble ten rand (just over $1 American) so, thinking they wouldn’t be long, I told Cos I’d hang with him out in the main corridor. An hour later I went in to investigate what was taking them so long. It was the text book Micah ran out of money but Carlos was still playing, so Micah put in more money. Then Carlos ran out of money but Micah was still playing, so he put in more money and the process kept repeating itself. About an hour and a half later, and now pushing 1 a.m. they emerged; Carlos with 450 rand more than he went in with and Micah with a fist full of gamblers anonymous brochures.

We caught a cab back to the shuttle transfer station and the cabby asked us how we were doing. Carlos was quick to boast about his cheerful mood due to his winnings before asking the cabby how he was, “Good man, it’s just fricken freezing out!” I did a quick assessment of my wardrobe, shorts and a Holland jersey; on top of that I’d made a mental note of how pleasant the temperature was as soon as we’d stepped outside of the casino. Once we got to “The Workshop” (not sure where that name comes from, but it’s the central transfer point for game shuttles) we were walking from the cab towards our bus when a group of girls under a tent started hollering at us. Now, being four incredibly good looking guys this is nothing new to us, but then they started calling me by name and said they’d taken pictures with us. It was the girls we’d met when we were here last week. We went to talk to them, introduced Marcos and Sticks, and started a brief conversation. They were bundled up in Eskimo jackets, scarves, snow boots, and other similar articles of clothing and were quick to end the conversation and get back under their easy up tent, which I’m assuming had some sort of heater in it.

By the time we got home I was spent, walked in to my room, face planted in to bed and woke up some time later to a dark house but my bedroom light still on. This might not seem to be odd at first, but the strange thing about it is that my room is in between Micah’s room and Sticks’ room. So neither of them bothered to turn my light off before they went to sleep, and apparently weren’t bothered by it in order for them to get to sleep. I guess in their defense I was still fully clothed with my shoes on and Micah claimed, “I thought you were going to get back up.” Then he later admitted they didn’t know what time it was when they got home and after watching TV for some time realized it was 2:40 a.m.

Just a small album, but a new album none the less.

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