I have stared at this white space for a minute now.
A lot can go through your mind when you have a lot to do. And when several new things are happening in your life.
Like when you get into a flight and find familiar food, because it’s KQ and you’re at home in the air. And you can now be easy on them for always delaying flights.
When you land and people clap, because you left the scorching Nairobi sun (which is actually not scorching for a lot of non-Kenyans) and descended into the currently thunderstorm-y Joburg.
ET302. Peace and rest. 🙏
And when you get out and finally understand why they call us the rest of Africa.
And find a taxi guy who tells you everything you need to know, complete with free water, a trip to the local shop to get a SIM card, airtime and data. It hits you that you don’t freak out in foreign lands anymore, because you could have played safe and gone with an Uber, instead of a normal taxi with a seatbelt that does not work. *hides*
Mandla tells you that Gauteng is the local name for Joburg. Apparently Oliver Tambo Airport was also named something else before. Although you probably misinterpreted it over his accent (He’s from Zimbabwe. A lot of people around here are from Zim.) because as you later find out, Gauteng is the province that houses Johannesburg.
The roads remind you of Europe. And it makes you wonder if it’s just because you’re seeing very little of the city and are pretty much limited to the better side of it for the few days you will stay. Sandton.
The hotel is another little cocoon of quaintness. It takes you a while to shut your mouth. You especially love their ice lemon tea sachets.
You spend half the time with Japanese.
You end up learning so much about Japan, probably more than you learn about South Africa. Lol.
You attend an event that is supposed to start at 5.30pm but it starts at 4.55pm. Why? Because all the Japanese end up coming that early.
The next night, you comment on this and are told a story. Apparently, the Japanese being on time began from their history of growing rice. Since they have four distinct seasons, if autumn comes before the rice is harvested, the weather elements destroy the harvest. This means that they will not send tax back to the Shōgun (military dictators from back then), there will be trouble and everyone is going to be killed. And to harvest, you cannot harvest alone, you need a team. And if one person in the team fails to show up on time to beat autumn, everyone dies.
How is that, for you African, to keep time next time?
Kenya is mentioned the whole time as one of the places to invest in Africa. It makes me think a lot about what that means, because some of us work in companies that do not have the easiest way around here.
You have to network at a cocktail; Lord help us all. And as if that is not enough, there will be nothing but Sushi and Sake. In short, you will starve. No more details will be divulged on this.
Also, Joburgers make fun of Cape Towners. Apparently life goes in slow motion in Cape Town. In other words, Cape Town is to Joburg what Mombasa is to Nairobi.
You meet this woman in super tiny neat braids. She goes like “Thanks for your braids!” I’m confuse. Turns out, the Maasai also do the best braiding here. Talk about free advertising for our country? Gotta love these people. 🙂
You get to see one mall, Sandton City Mall that opens into Nelson Mandela Square. First of all. What?!! How is this a mall in Africa? You are 100% you did not see half of it. You even got lost. There is a whole “Diamond Walk” lined up with all them luxury brands you have only seen at airports abroad. Prada, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, name them… (In case you are wondering, I did not bother to venture into that section. I love myself too much to subject myself to looking at things I can’t get.)
Rocomamas have the best ribs. Reminds you of Spur Steak Ranches.
Also, the first time you see this huge mega church, you think it is a mall. Until you look at it carefully and see it’s a Hillsong church or something.
As if the roads are not enough, you discover there’s a whole underground train system they call Gautrain. You take it on the way back to the airport.
And then this nice guy walks you to the station. Your beaded flag bracelet is a dead giveaway. Maybe you should stop wearing it all over the place. As a badge of honour. He straight-up asks about safety in Kenya. Can’t say I didn’t see that coming. This is exactly why I should keep the bracelet on.
(This post was started in Feb so not super timely. I am trying.)