At last we have arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa! The journey was long and grueling, but finally, after eating some lovely plane food, being run into several times by the merciless flight attendant with her rolling cart, and managing to get a few hours of sleep by contorting myself into various positions on my seat, we finally arrived at 5 PM (11 AM American time). My excitement can hardly be contained!
Waiting for our flight
Outside of customs
The "lucky" ones who got to sit next to me
So far, South Africa is similar to America, but there are definitely many differences. Like Europe, people drive on the left side of the road and driver’s seats are on the right side of the car; toilets flush the opposite way; and there is a much stronger racial separation due to the lingering affects of the apartheid. On our drive, I saw one of the ghettos mentioned in The Kaffir Boy (A book we were assigned to read). The houses are tiny and piled on top of one another; however, they all have solar panels that the government gives them and run purely off of solar energy. I think America should take note of this. The weather is amazing for winter. With temperatures in the 60s, this is certainly the perfect time of year to visit. We are 6 hours ahead of America.
Kate, Bryton, and Rebecca
Dr. Altman on the Bus
After departing from the airport, we took a shuttle to this gorgeous hotel called The Balalaika Hotel and Crown Court located in the outskirts of Johannesburg. Our guide, Rudolf- an Afrikaan, told us about sights of the city that we drove by. When we arrived, Men in red uniforms were there to take our baggage and one even began serving us orange juice in champagne glasses! In the lobby, a man was playing Frank Sinatra on his piano… so classy! I was assigned to room with Caroline Clayton and Victoria Binder in the coolest suite with 2 double beds and a giant king sized one. The king size one is practically be large enough to fit everyone on our trip! Outside there is a cute little balcony with a view of the pool, and I hear there is a sauna and gym in this hotel as well. I think an investigation of these things are in order.
Piano man playing Frank Sinatra
Caroline and Victoria
After changing out of our nasty airplane clothes, we went to a cute restaurant that connects to the hotel called the Bull Run. It was the perfect introduction to South African food. Everything was fantastic!
Dinner at Bull Run
Afterwards, we had a meeting and disgusted the dangerous things in South Africa. I never realized all of the creepy germs, bugs, critters, and people that can really screw you up! For example, Bilharzia is contracted from still water that contains tiny parasitic worms. These worms burrow in your skin then attach to your intestines and bladder where they produce a large number of eggs. You can imagine all of the nasty things this causes- YUK!
Tomorrow should be an exciting new day (with daylight)! We’ll be headed to Swaziland on a 6 hour drive, so stay tuned to hear about that adventure!