The sun has shone upon Cape Town this week. And about time too. the four cold fronts which swept through last week gave us floods, gales, thunder and hail. Miserable.
I await the figures for the number of caprine casualties with a heavy heart. Regular readers of this site will be all too aware that these gentle creatures are more susceptible to inclement weather than other more hardy livestock and I know of a herd of cattle lost in the floods and at least two donkeys which were blown away in the high winds.
The weather even halted work on the new stadium for the 2010 World Cup. That in itself is pretty unusual as they have been working from dawn til dusk (and beyond) in order to keep ahead of schedule. Here’s a magnificent picture of how they were getting along before rain stopped play. I think you can see from this aerial shot why the Metropolitan golf course now has a par of just 17 rather than 70. Look on the bright side, guys – at least you can get back to the clubhouse bar more quickly now!
Looking the other way (we call it “east”), towards the city centre, you can see the proximity of the stadium to the Waterfront (which is next to the marina) and Cape Town CBD. Other points to note are the nearest shop selling alcohol (red roof, right-hand side) and the nearest MacDonalds (green roof, dead centre, between building site and roundabout)*. It’s comforting to think that they consider the workers’ needs when they site this sort of massive project.
There are, in fact, still a few legal challenges – mainly from the “mean green” environmental lobby – to be overcome before stadium gets official planning permission.
Now, I know what you’re thinking and yes, you’re right – they’ve actually done a teeny-weeny bit of work already. Hell, even I can remember when all this was fields – it was only 4 months ago! It’s ok, they were given special permission to start. It seems unlikely that work will be halted at the eleventh hour (well, actually, looking at those pictures, it’s more like the fourteenth hour now, isn’t it?) but this being South Africa, one can never rule it out.
All in all, it’s an amazing sight and there’s already a great deal of interest from various corporate sponsors as to who will run the stadium post 2010. Whoever does so is going to have control of one of the most remarkable structures in one of the most beautiful locations in the world.
All they’ve really done so far is dug the foundations and yet already it’s been described as the southern hemisphere’s Wembley.
Let’s just hope that doesn’t mean that is going to take 7 years to build…
*My place of work is also on this picture. I work in a big yellow castle (Yes, seriously I do) (No, it’s not an inflatable bouncy castle) – I’ll give a prize to whoever can find it first.