Monday, June 14, 2010

Today I could have been at the World Cup

Last July while sitting in an incredibly air-conditioned internet cafe on Koh Samui, that island off the coast of Thailand, I accidentally purchased a ticket to the World Cup in South Africa. How, you might ask, could that possibly happen? Well, I am not exactly sure what my thought process was, but I think it went something like this:

Earlier that day as we wandered down the little street where we were staying, we noticed the expat bars were advertising something called The Ashes. Intrigued, we decided to splurge on an overpriced beer and investigate, only to learn 'The Ashes' is a 128-year old cricket rivalry between England and Australia. We bothered an Australian guy a bit to gain a threadbare understanding of the history of the match and the rules of cricket, which may as well have been whackbat, as far as I could tell.

With cricket on our minds, we set off on an epic walk to the other side of the island. We followed the beach until it became private, at which point we were escorted to the road, then we made a shortcut back through another resort to the beach again. We made a pit stop for beers, sunscreen, disgusting local rice liquor that John added to a slurpee at one of the many 7Elevens along the road. We scrambled over rocks, waded through the incoming tide and finally arrived at our beach destination just before sunset.

If I recall we sat on the beach for less time than it took us to get there. We left in search of dinner and an internet cafe to do some blogging. As John wrote a post, I tried to remember what I had wanted to look up earlier in the day. My best guess is that I had wanted to learn about Cricket and the history of The Ashes, but my brain was addled by too much sun, sand and beer. Perhaps I was thinking about how my brother and sister-in-law planned to attend the World Cup the following summer. Perhaps South Africa did not seem so far away while sitting in Thailand or so infeasible of a place to visit after traveling in South America and Asia for six months. Perhaps I did not realize that I would be a pauper grad student, trying to pay rent, in June 2010.

In short, without really knowing how or why, I somehow ended up on FIFA.com, looking at the application procedure for purchasing World Cup tickets. I thought that one could submit an application and decide later whether one wanted to purchase a ticket. Given demand, obtaining a ticket seemed unlikely and thinking I could decide later, I submitted an application for a ticket to a match on June 14, 2010 in Johannesburg. After hitting send, I read the fine print that stated: 'if your application is accepted, you will be billed immediately.' I think I tried to email them, but it was too late. Within two days, I owned a World Cup match ticket.

And that is the story of why I could be in Johannesburg watching Denmark play the Netherlands right now, if only plane tickets to South Africa did not cost a million dollars. I hope my brother and sister-in-law have a great time!!! J&J: watch out for Zakumi and if you see him, tell him Quatchi says, Hello.

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