Chris Rattue at the World Cup
Herald writer Chris Rattue blogs from the Fifa World Cup

Chris Rattue: So close to escaping hellhole of Jo'burg

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One way or other, the All Whites will be out of this hellhole in days, and we will be off with them.

To Durban, probably, or home, and quite honestly, preferably the latter in some ways.

Johannesburg is an eye-opener, in a way that makes you want to shut the eyes tight and dream of elsewhere.

This is the most dangerous dump I have ever been in.

Sepp Blatter and his superstar Fifa mates may have been right to bring the World Cup to Africa, but they will be enjoying a luxury ride.

Blatter hasn't had to wait outside Ellis Park in the dark, surrounded by people, police cars driving by, hoping the promised van turns up before violent robbers do.

The stories I have heard of life here are heartbreaking, tragic, awful.

We have met some wonderful people, without a doubt.

We have also met wonderful people with doubt, because you quickly learn never to trust.

One in our contingent has had his credit card skimmed, probably by the smiling, waving bloke at our only regular cafe.

And while trying to get money out of an ATM, a hand that came with a happy face suddenly grabbed the card, supposedly with the offer of help. Sure.

And don't step out of your compound at night alone. Don't even think about it.

Our van driver took us to a posh shopping mall he said was safe, except for the carpark.

This is a place where you look over your shoulder, without making eye contact.

As for the stories ... I don't know how people live here. They say they become immune.

The include a man whose wife was stabbed for a cellphone, had a friend shot and paralysed in her driveway and a mate taken on a carjack ride.

There's a motorway off-ramp that was once more like a shooting gallery for robbers. People are left for dead, or needing wheelchairs.

How is the World Cup coming across at home? It's all about the soccer, I suppose.

Not when you are here, though.

We have been through a magic ride with the All Whites in and around Jo'burg and, on leaving, it will be for the last time.

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