South Africa — Week 1

Been a week almost since I left India. I did leave with some apprehension having heard some horror stories about the crime and other stuff down here. But then, I arrived. And I have to admit, I am blown away.

One has to wonder if South Africa classifies as a developing country. If it does, India deserves the “third-world” tag it has. There is great excitement about the 2010 FIFA World Cup here next year. And preparations are on in full swing. By the way, I’m here for the IPL and that isn’t lost on the audiences here. A couple of days ago in Port Elizabeth, there were over a couple of thousand people to see the Kings XI team play a local team (and lose!).

Coming back to the country, the airports are well planned, well appointed and well marked. Same for roads around the cities (the two I have seen a bit of thus far). Port Elizabeth is a stunning coast city that is perhaps ideal for a vacation. It doesn’t show too much signs of life, but that’s just fine! In comparison, Cape Town is a bigger city and the traffic snaking on the freeways was ample proof that it is a city on the move.

Staying close to the Newlands ground here means we aren’t as close to the city as one would like to, but still, there’s a bit to look around at. For one, Table Mountain is across the road! I wish I’d spent more time shooting, but photos shall follow shortly. I’ve got a lot of videos, unfortunately, not many I can share yet.

There also seems to be a conscious effort in SA to increase trust levels among visitors. We have been given warnings and letters with do’s and don’ts about leaving stuff in the room and all, but that’s more precautionary than anything else. However, I shall be taking their advise seriously! Don’t want to find out the hard way, now!

Watching the general level of discipline and regard for rules is a big eye-opener. The IPL Carnival that happened in downtown Cape Town on Thursday was testament to the planning that this country has been able to bring about in barely 20 days of preparation.

Another thing that has intrigued me is how SA can host the IPL and their own general elections on April 22 when India can’t. There’s something of an indicator of the gap India now has to fill. It’s kinda sad especially since a journalist on the plane asked me… and I had no answer. They are happy to have a distraction from the politics, it seems. I wish India’s politicians weren’t as self-involved!

What, no cheerleaders?

There are a few endearing sights that one can recall from the first week of the ongoing Indian Premier League. All of them are from the field of play:

  • Ricky Ponting and Ishant Sharma celebrating the fall of Rahul Dravid’s wicket
  • Ricky Ponting running up to Ishant Sharma to give him advise
  • Rahul Dravid & Co. running on to the ground to celebrate their win over Mumbai
  • Andrew Symonds smacking Shane Warne out of the ground for massive sixes
  • Shane Warne smacking Andrew Symonds out of the ground for massive sixes. And winning the match
  • Harbhajan Singh trying his very best to win for Mumbai

With the passage of time, the list shall grow. And there will be some that shall remain etched in our minds forever, while other shall fade away with the passage of time. One memory, though, from the field that will remain forever etched is the variety of cheerleaders seen thus far. Take a look:

Continue reading “What, no cheerleaders?”

Procrastinations, predicaments and premier pain!

Right. So today’s the day. When everything will change. The whole world will come to a standstill. And there shall be ‘Karmayudh’. The world has been waiting. The cricketers can’t wait anymore. To start making their millions that is. And the fans are also waiting with bated breath. Still trying to get over the amount of money that’s been thrown around (or is it thrown away?). Continue reading “Procrastinations, predicaments and premier pain!”