The day started rather stormily.
Not because of dodgy weather, but because we’re doing a Circus School job at another shopping center in Pretoria.
Between the end of that job and the start of the game, we have an hour to do a 45 minute drive, find parking get ready, get on the rink and play UniHoki.
Devin stays in Pretoria, he knows how to get there, but he has to go home first cause he forgot some basics. Like his stick and his shoes.
I’m amazed he remembered the unicycle.
Garth has a vague idea of how to get there.
He’ll follow Devin (till Devin has to turn off to go to his house - so he’ll be a bit late) to get on the right route and we’ll all follow Garth.
As we leave the shopping center, everybody decides to buy some pies first.
Must have victuals.
We leave at 12h45.
No stress. I’m waiting for Alan and Andre to get ready to follow me following Garth.
Who’s following Devin.
Please try n keep up.
Which I didn’t try to do cause I assumed Garth would wait for the convoy to form up.
It takes a while for Allan to join myself and Andre in our mini-(secondary) convoy, at which time Garth and Devin are simply distant memories.
I phone urgently but Garth’s phone rings merrily to voicemail.
I start stressing. And I don’t do stress well.
I phone Devin. He could’ve been a Californian Surfer Dude. Not a problem, he tells me, just come out of the parking lot and go up to the traffic lights (we call them robots but I’ll spare you that little cross-atlantic confusion today) and turn left. Follow that road till you get to DF MALAN Road then turn left again. From there, you’ll have to turn right into Schuman street and follow that untill you go straight thru the middle of Pretoria, out the other side, and find the highway, follow signs to Johannesburg and the next offramp will take you to the venue.
All this on a cellphone, while I’m trying to eat a pepper steak pie and some chips and avoid being killed by minibus taxis who believe they’re carrying militiamen in Beirut and are in a quite a rush to get to wherever they’re going.
I’m getting phonecalls from other players. “Where is this place?”
“I’m here, where are you?”
I’m really, really tense by now.
The TV guy from SuperCycling phones.
“Where is this place?”
I try n give him directions to a place I’m desperately trying to find.
In the meantime, the road is doing all sorts of interesting things that Devin didn’t tell me about.
“Go Straight” isn’t meant to be confused with the S-bending, slipway route I had to follow to stay on the road I wasn’t on.
No wonder he’s such a good player.
Then I get a phonecall from Devin, “Sorry man, Schuman doesn’t start that low, take BLOOD, and then left in…”
How it happened, I have no idea, but I found the highway. Andre and Allan are blissfully ignorant of all of this.
They think I have a clue.
We hit the highway, armed with Devin’s warning “It’s a tricky bugger, take the fork left, but then take the right hand side fork and the left hand side fork off the right hand fork”.
No wonder the Chinese use chopsticks.
“But just keep following the JOHANNESBURG signs and you’ll be fine.”
I’m following the Johannesburg signs. Somewhere between the various right- and left hand forks, Nigel phones. “I’m at the IMAX theatre…”
I manage to get him to the Arena side of the complex, but in the process miss the final fly-under JOHANNESBURG sign.
I see it, from the wrong side of the road, as I hang up the phone.
I phone Devin, man-o-the-hour. He tells me to panic.
I take the next offramp, cross over the bridge, get back on the highway, heading the right way now.
As I take the JOHANNESBURG fork, I notice that Allan isn’t behind Andre anymore.
Turns out Garth took a wrong turn somewhere and hooked up to the back of us and since we seemed to know where we were going, he joined us.
Untill he decided that we were about to take a wrong turn.
He managed to get Allan’s attention, but Andre and myself went blissfully along and didn’t make a wrong turn.
Suffice it to say that their corrective measure included going thru the same tollgate twice, and having to pay, both times.
As jy dom is moet jy kak.
We eventually arrive at Menlyn.
A monster of a shopping center where even the parking attendants admit that it can be a bit confusing.
I eventually manage to find parking, I manage to find the rink and sit down to relax.
By the time Al and Garth join us, we’re running a bit behind, but nothing serious.
We get the kit (BEEEG thanx to Allan for sponsoring and sorting that out for us), pick teams and take to the rink.
A bit smaller than we’re used to but a lovely smooth surface.
The bevelled corners are more angular than we’re used to and this really nice as the ball is less likely to hug the wall all the way, making it virtually impossible to play. It comes off the wall nicely, but at a different angle to the brickwall we’re used to at the Rangers Rink.
All told is was a very close game with nothing given, nor asked.
There are some pics up in the gallery.
For disturbingly obvious reasons, I quite like this one…
While this one gives a better idea of the venue.
There is also an 18mb video clip up here.
I did an interview with the guy from SuperCycling after the game.
That’s to be broadcast in August sometime.
He’ll let me know.
A lady also came up to me during halftime.
She’s involved in a stunt company and they’re looking to add some other interesting activities to their roster.
Unicycling caught her eye.
They also operate a ‘Bridge Swing’ just outside Pretoria.
“Ah, can I do a bridge swing on my unicycle?” I ask.
“If you do it on your uni, you can have the swing for free” she tells me.
I like her already.
On our way out we decided to pop into a skate park just around the corner and found a stunning inline rink.
Narrower than we’re used to, but much longer.
We’re playing again at Menlyn on Wednesday evening at 19h00 and next Saturday at 13h00 after which we’re heading off to the skatepark to go play another game on their rink.
We’ve now got a couple of venues.
We’re thinking about hosting the first World Cup Unicycle Hockey Tournament in 2010.