For Cape Town's, and the Stadium's, second test run before the World Cup, the Cape Town Stadium admitted 40,000 ticket holders to a rugby match, filling two of the three tiers in the stadium. The first test two weeks ago filled only the lower tier.
It was built for the FIFA World Cup, coming here in June, but the grass was neatly painted with rugby stripes and the rugby poles looked as though they belonged there. Maybe one day they will.
I had been told by people who had attended the first test run (a soccer match) that the transport from the public parking at the Civic Centre to the Stadium in Greenpoint would be seamless, but most observers have been extremely sceptical. No reason. It was seamless. Perfect, in a word.
Do not bother going near the stadium in your car. Park at Artscape or near the Civic Centre, queue for a bus where they tell you to, and off you will go, as they arrive, endlessly, in rotation. I have never seen anything this streamlined in this country. Or any country.
And it's free.
Men and women in yellow How Can I Help You? T-shirts helped us. Go there, wait here. Everything will be OK.
Our convoy cruised through green lights all the way, controlled by traffic police in our favour. We felt presidential.
South Africa is not known for its sterling public transport. On the contrary. So this was very exciting.
We were dropped off to walk approximately 400 metres (wild guess) to the stadium, and passed some new porta loos in case we absolutely had to pee right there.
Finishing touches include the indigenous plantings to be...
Fever trees have been planted in the pedestrian concourse beneath a new raised traffic circle.
There she is.
More How Can I help You?s were on hand at the gates. We should have stuck to this queue, at the main gates, as any gate will let you into the stadium area, regardless of your seating assignment. Instead we were directed to other gates with only four entrances and got stuck for a long time.
The best view of the shell is just beneath it, as it curves up and out with Signal Hill and the mountain in the background.
More How Can I Help You?s were stationed inside, and actually fewer than we needed, as we didn't have the colour-coded seating areas worked out yet. A map might be forthcoming.
This was reeeeeally useful, but we only saw one.
I am not a sports junkie, but the first time I walked into the (old) Yankee Stadium, I cried, without warning. I was very surprised and very moved. Go figure.
I didn't cry here, because here there is no history, yet. But I did stop in my tracks. I did say, Wow! It was awesome. Beautiful.
Wheelchair access was clearly no problem.
We were addressed by the mayor, and by the premier of the Western Cape, who was wearing an unfortunate outfit. But she still got a hero's welcome.
Then the Stormers and the Boland team trotted on.
It's the roar of the crowd. Makes the hairs stick up.
The big screen behind and above our heads showed replays and fights up close and personal.
We were facing the west, and became very hot after the sun hit us. No respite, and I hadn't brought a hat or extra suncream. They should sell hats. And suncream.
But there is beer!
Perhaps this is better beer drinking etiquette.
Then she got too hot, too. I hid under my sweater as well. Capetonians always carry sweaters.
When a team came on to fix divots in the turf my mouth hung open. I had assumed they were playing on Astroturf.
It's real grass!
There are no rugby pictures. I wasn't really watching the game.
We left early to avoid a crush, and some people opted for taxis.
The police were still very much in evidence. I have never seen so many cops in my life. They must have been bored because there was absolutely nothing for them to do.
Overheard on Afrikaans policeman's walkie talkie: Frans, I have a complaint about hawrse droppings here...
Frans: Ja, well...I haven't got to that one yet.
I honestly don't see the soccer hooligan element making it here for the World Cup...Anyway, aren't they all on the dole?
Already lots of people waiting for the busses, all leaving early -more How Can I help You?s might be needed on this return trip...
But they were all at the Civic Centre again, shepherding people back to their cars.
The parking was free.
So. It was a great experience.
In the lingua franca, I had a jol.