Onward to Johannesburg...
July 23, 2006
I am truly an idiot. As I was presenting my boarding pass in Cape Town to get onto my Johannesburg flight, I realized I was
missing something. My box with wines and my make-up bag. It dawned on me that I didn’t grab it out of our room when our
taxi driver came to pick us up. I wasn’t mad or upset. I was really just laughing at my stupidity. I am just sad that I won’t be
able to drink that wine while I’m in the Seychelles. And I am going to miss the make-up brushes (even though I haven’t been
using them much at all). They just aren’t as easy to replace as make-up is. Oh well. As I said to Lori – I just pulled a Jen.
Maybe that’s why it was kind of funny to me. I knew it was bound to happen at some point. I have tried to do some damage
control by emailing our hotel to find out if they can fed-ex it to one of the two hotels that I will be staying at in Johannesburg
either after my safari or after my Seychelles trip. It will be a surprise either way as I have no access to Internet for the next
week to see if the hotel even replied to my email. I just gave them my credit card number in hopes that they won’t need
anything else. I guess I will just have to wait until then…
Enough about that.
We arrived in Johannesburg (called ‘Jo’Burg’ out here) sans wine (as Lori left her bottles somewhere else along our trip). We
both did not know really what to expect. Well, actually we did have an idea. We knew we had to keep our guard up…even at
the airport. I take that back. Especially at the airport. News of the crime rates from the Capetonians about this city did not
shock us as we knew this well before we came out here. Most of the time you come to a big city in a country and want to
explore it and see what it has to offer. Jo’Burg is the exception to this rule. We had flown in knowing we probably were not
going to see much more than a radius of a few blocks from where we were staying.
We must say that we were quite impressed with the airport. I am sure we avoided most of the hassle that tourists receive
because we flew in on a domestic flight from Cape Town. Only one guy approached us…and followed us…and followed us…until
Lori had enough. He didn’t even say anything to us...just followed us…but that didn’t stop Lori from yelling “Noooooooooo!” He
just didn’t realize he was dealing with two street-savvy…I mean airport-savvy…girls.
We got to the Backpacker’s Ritz (an oxymoron, wouldn’t you say?). I don’t even think it’s in Johannesburg. We only saw
suburbs (and some very nice ones at that) during the 30-minute or so drive. We saw the untouchable part of Jo’Burg from a
distance. I would be lying if I said that curiosity didn’t strike me a few times…wondering just how bad it possibly was. It is like
when someone gives you an early gift and says that you can’t open it yet. Well, probably more like when somebody tells you
not to touch something because it’s scalding hot. You can’t help but wonder how hot it possibly is. I am happy to report that
common sense prevailed and I can still only wonder about how downtown Jo’Burg is and go by what others have said. I’ll be
honest…I am really not in the mood to be a murder victim on this trip.
I can truly say that our time in Jo'Burg was 100% non-African. It felt as if we could have been somewhere back home. Our
street was filled with nice houses and we went to the deli/bakery a few blocks away for lunch with Kathrin (a girl from
Germany who we met on our ride from the airport). The most African part of the day was when I was paying for my food and I
asked the man who was at the register if he spoke Afrikaans. He said he did. I then gave him a good “Buy a donkey” (in case
you missed my Afrikaans tutorial in a previous journal, it is actually ‘baie dankie’). I was hoping I would still be able to get a
little bit more mileage out of those words. In addition, he told me he was impressed with my Afrikaans. I guess it doesn’t take
True to our non-African African day, we came back to our hostel and watched Melrose Place, Saturday Night Live and, the
crème de la crème…Seinfeld! Ohhh….I haven’t seen Jerry and crew since I was in Beirut. I sat back in the couch and settled in
for the episode with Jean Paul (the runner who missed the Olympics because of the alarm clock’s volume being turned down).
This show remains one of my most missed comforts from home. Everyday I am literally referencing a Seinfeld episode to go
along with different things experienced that day. Luckily, Lori is a die-hard Seinfeldian as well so we have fun bouncing these
back and forth from each other.
Our driver meets us at 5:00am tomorrow. Will the waking up early ever stop??? In any case, we are anticipating seeing whom
we are spending the next seven days with…