Matt’s schedule (that he printed into a 3ft square wall chart) indicated that there were more early flights to attend to today, and seeing as Leechie was one of them, I made the decision to go back for the 2nd early run in consecutive days. Today started at 5:30am again for me, as I made my way to the airport with Joe to pick up Bellis and Kleiney (due in at 6:05am) and my boss (due in at 9.20am). The car made it out of the drive without scraping the floor for a change, and we were on our way.
Landings were confirmed on the board in the Arrivals lounge, so Joe waited by the entrance while I went back to Thrifty car rental to arrange a change of car. As I looked under the front of the car with the rep by my side, it quickly became apparent that we needed a replacement right away. The floor of the car had dropped out beneath the engine to leave us a clearance of about 6 inches. “This car is undriveable” was the quote from Thrifty, and he soon arranged a Renault Scenic for me to take away instead. I got back to Joe 20 minutes later, and there was still no sign of Bellis and Klein, a good hour after their flight landed. I rang Bellis, only to hear an English dialling tone ringing through the Blackberry. Not good news…he was due in tomorrow…a major error on the part of Matthew Ashton, made worse only 20 minutes later when an apologetic-sounded Cath rang me and confirmed that, indeed, Leechie’s flight was also due in tomorrow, and not today. A Mugg & Bean All-American breakfast and fresh orange juice later, and were were on our way back to the Lodge.
The lack of an internet connection at the Lodge was beginning to grind…photographers feel lost without the internet, and tensions were mounting. “Must…have…internet.” Even though Louise had told us that it was going in, none of us were holding our breath. We decided to go to Soccer City…a cloudless sky, perfect for GVs, and instant, fast, repliable internet, perfect for…Facebook. We plugged our laptops in and picked up our bibs and any information that would be of use throughout the tournament. We’d been sat down little more than 15-20 minutes when we heard a cacophony of sound approaching the main entrance to the media centre. Singing, cheering and the unmistakable monotone of the Vuvuzela got louder and louder, and photographers soon picked up their cameras and wide angle lenses and rushed out the door.
We were greeted by a 20-wide line of probably 1000 schoolchildren stretching as far as we could see, coming from right to left. I climbed up the grass bank to get onto their level, poked the 14mm lens and flash through the fence and soon enough had kids coming at me from all angles wanting their photo taken. 10 minutes later and the line had made their way past me, and I returned to the media centre.
The happy faces, joyful expressions and blue sky made for some lovely pictures, and soon enough I had my first few frames to send out. Later, we walked up into the stadium for a look down from the tribune positions, took a few souvenir shots of each other and then made our way home.
We spent the evening discussing our car situation over dinner at the Newscafe – it had become clear that we didn’t have enough cars to cover the matches that we were all down to do, as well as training sessions and PR appointments that needed shooting. We met up with another agency, MexSport, who had also paid towards the vehicles, and decided – after the best part of 2 hours – that we needed to obtain a further 2 cars. We then had to arrange the logistics of picking the cars up from the airport, taking into account where people needed to be for work the next day. By 11pm, we were ready to go home, having splashed another £900 on Matt’s credit card and a massive R100 (£10) on food.