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Extra Virgin -  March 2010


You can tell how someone feels about the World Cup by the way they pronounce those two words. The optimist says it like a drop-kick: the world CUP. Then there are the sceptics, who shove the words out of their mouths like they're pushing an enemy down the stairs, or spit them out like olive pips.

The fever has set in. It's becoming increasingly common to hear people say things like: "I'm renting out my broom cupboard for six billion rand an hour for the Portugal Korea gameā€¦do you think I'll get it?" Or: "I've spent my life savings on a thousand 50-foot Madiba candles to sell outside Port Elizabeth stadium." At which points there is only one thing to do: fake an emergency call and run away.

At least these people are excited. The naysayers are just boring. I bumped into one such cynic in a supermarket aisle recently who's plaintive drone became so painful I found myself reading the meat specials board behind his head. When discount beef joints are more interesting than someone's point there is a serious problem. I might hire him to call me when I can't sleep at night.

It's not for us, nor anyone else, to presume to know how this tournament will affect us. All of that remains to be seen. But even if it is being treated as the Second Coming, the World Cup is still first and foremost a soccer tournament. And not everyone loves soccer.

Here, then, is our World Cup survival guide. Money expert Craig Gill devises a plan to get us to the end of the World Cup fiesta with some change in our pockets; Miranda Sherry and her tips for creating a corner of Zen at home helps us keep our sanity; and Arthur Christopher finds corners in Cape Town that wouldn't know the World Cup was on if it slapped them in the face.

Elsewhere, Leonie Joubert goes (environ)mental about the tournament's green credentials, and we speak to the owner of a top travel agency about how we locals can escape the madness without paying tourist prices.

Matthew Freemantle