Monday, February 23, 2009

Johannesburg, South Africa

I made it to the continent of Africa! I am not sure why that seems so weird to me, but it really does. I cannot believe that I am here. I have now visited 4 of the 7 continents.

We arrived on Sunday morning around 9AM local time. The flight was uneventful, and thanks to Ambien, I slept the entire flight! Seriously, all 10 hours, I was out (ok, maybe not all 10...but at least 8)! We flew on a double-decker plane...that was a first for me! So, with all of that sleep and only 1 hour time change, I was rested and ready to go!

We are staying at the Hilton in Jo-Burg (as the locals call it) so it is quite Americanized (is that how you spell that!?!). I wanted to do something since this was my only day to explore. I did not have time to do any type of tour since I only had the afternoon and the things to see were quite a distance away; however, I did hear there was a nice market to pick-up some South African items! I opted to take a car and driver from the hotel since I was alone and wanted to go the safest way as crime in Africa can be quite bad.

The driver's name was Saki (that is his nickname...don't ask me to remember his real name because there was a reason he had a nickname!). He was the nicest guy! He drove me to the market and even walked around with me since I was alone....and carried my bags! Nice!

Here is my friend, Saki!I found a few very nice South African items at this market! A few things such as handpainted pillowcases, napkins, table runners, etc., which were gorgeous!!! I could not pass them up! I also bought some wood carved bowls as well as these really cool wood carved salad tongs with a giraffe on the end of them..all traditional South African treasures!! They are so cute!!

This is me in the market! Saki demanded he take my picture holding something African...no, I did not buy this...and after seeing this picture, I cannot believe I went out in public looking this bad. Jeezzzz, 10 hours on a plane can do a number on you! Wow!
I can already tell that I will have to come back to South Africa! Although I have not been out and about much, I have been really impressed with the people! There is so much to do in South Africa that I am missing out on and it is really bugging me.

This is where I am:Here are a few things about Jo-Burg:

  • The currency is the Rand (or called ZAR). The initials for South Africa are ZA, so South African Rand.
  • Everyone speaks English and there are about 11 different languages. My driver yesterday spoke all of them.
  • Cape Town is the place to see in South Africa....I am sad I am not there.
  • Africa is known for the Big Five...Africa's greatest wild animals - lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino. Oh how I wish I had time for a safari!
  • Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa.
  • The seasons are reversed, so they are preparing for winter to come soon.
  • South Africans drive on the 'wrong' side of the road.
I have to take the good with the bad and not get too sad about this trip being all work and no play. The real fun happens in Cairo starting on Thursday!

2 comments:

  1. Oh that is fabulous! So glad the airplane trip was uneventful :) I have always wanted to do a safari too! How brave of you to go on your own! It has to help to have a kind driver. I am still so excited for you and the rest of your travel!

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  2. This is sooo exciting!!!! I love living through you!!!
    Beee Careful!

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