Before: So I heard on Wednesday that I was going to Mitchells Plain for a Carling Black Label 'immersion'/tavern/pub visit, with only Cuan for protection. This didn't stress me out too much, until client service told me, it would probably be a good idea to go in the disguise, i.e a hoodie and sneakers, as a blondie had never ventured forth into these places before. I thought maybe this was a bit of an overreaction. So I asked the tea lady, Hadji a.k.a women of infinite wisdom/grew up in 'the real district 6' what she thought about it. She didn't fill me with confidence and made several loud 'wtf you going there for?' noises. So by the end of the day, after many eagerly retold gang stories (mostly from Ross Kemp's Discovery programme on the 28's) I was quivering, a little, in my whitie boots. So I made Morne, a non-whitie, who had filled my head with these horror stories in the first place, come with us, mainly to protect Cuan from the riff-raff etc..
During: So we met our guide/Black label Rep, Justin, and he took us to several football supporters pubs. We met the owners, had a few beers. Then went to a 'tavern'. Which is like a house party in your garage, but you charge your mates (about 30 peops usually) to drink and they come round every single day. Justin did tell us about how bad the drug problem in the community really is, and how the police don't help much, actually just add fuel to the fire. He said in some areas, every second house sells drugs - just to keep a float. Sad. We asked him if people there were excited about 2010? He said not yet, but they will be closer to the time. They plan on putting up big screens in school/town halls. After: Wasn't a big deal at all. Felt totally safe the whole time. Would definitely get lost around there though, bit of a maze. So silly how worked up one can get. Walked to my car with a little less fear and a bit more bounce in my step last night (I park in Woodstock, so the car park I use everyday, is probably more gangster than the taverns I visited anyway.) Then watched the soccer last night, felt a little bit more authentic than usual. (Was great to actually feel proud of our soccer players.) Feel a lot less silly today than yesterday. Good.