Tuesday, July 6
Port St.Johns - Durban
I'm gutted to be leaving the backpackers in Port St.Johns. I wanted to find somewhere to chill for a few days and this place has been absolutely perfect.
I'm down the minibus terminal at 7am. One of the drivers organises breakfast for me with one of the local ladies and while we are waiting tells me about the last years of apartheid when "some people" came down from Bloem and Joburg and opened fire on the local black population in '83. "They just wanted to kill as many of us as they could," he tells me, "but none of them ever left town. Now all anybody is interested in coming here for is to relax and have a good time."
It's closer nine before the minivan is full and we can set off for Durban. Predictably, I'm the only white person in the van and there in't a single white on the whole journey back along the R61. Again, the dead animal count on the road is near double figures but the road to Durban doesn't seem half as intimidating as it did on the way down with Camper Van Nick and Fabio.
I find Blackburn at the Costa Do Sol bar just off the beachfront in Durban. It's a bit sketchy down here where the colonial buildings stop and the dive bars begin. Blackburn's the wrong side of drunk so after a couple of Klipdrifts and Castle I chuck my bags in at our digs for the night on the beach front, just across from Joe Cool's.
Durban beachfront is absolutely packed in the evening for the first semi-final being shown live at the Fanfest. They've been getting 70,000 here on a regular basis throughout the world cup.
A big bonus is the sudden appearance of K'naan, whose song 'Wavin Flag' has been the soundtrack to this world cup finals. K'naan was a Somali refugee so you can't blame me for a sudden attack of goosebumps when he sings a second rendition of 'Wavin Flag' in front of tens of thousands on Durban beach. Images flash in my mind of the refugee camps I visited in Tanzania and Malawi. I think of all those lovely people Bjorn and I met, many of them from Somalia; I reminisce over the last three amazing months on the road and here at the World Cup in South Africa. I bite my lip to stop the odd tear or two rolling down my cheeks.
A gale blows on Durban beach as the Dutch experience a late scare against Uruguay but go through 3-2. Tomorrow it's the semi-final here. It will be a result if i can end my world cup by getting into the semi before I fly home.