While in Maputo my last day I mostly laid low, as I have been feeling very broke!!! I got up very early the next day and got on a 9 hour bus ride to Johannesburg…. Ugggh! But the bus ride ended up much better than I ever expected. Before we even left Maputo our bus broke down, the gears weren’t working correctly…. But the bus they were going to switch us to wouldn’t even start, so we just kept going and had to go very very slow up and down hills in south Africa. Most the way to the border I was sleeping but after the border I had 2 new best friends, Keanu and Anil. They are two brothers sitting behind me. Keanu is 11 and Anil will be 10 this week. I then also met their mother, Mira, their grandfather, their younger brother, Malachi, and some cousins. Throughout the course of the next 7 hours I got invited to go stay at their house for a couple nights. This sort of was a family affair. When we got to their stop in joburg I met Mira’s husband Raoul, and her brother Matthew. Then when we got to the house I met Raoul’s brother Paul and her nephew Lito. It was really great to stay with them, see what the homes were like and what the families were like!
Their house is surrounded by a wall and has a gate across the driveway just like all houses in joburg. Unlike the US it seems to be just the right size for their family with a kitchen, living room/dining room, one bathroom, and a bedroom for each person, though the two younger boys share a room so they have an extra bedroom. Out back not attached to their house in another room with two twin beds and a bathroom, this is where I slept. They also had another room attached to the house but with the entry out back and a large room behind the garage where their maid slept. Yes they have a maid who cooks and cleans and helps with the boys because labor is so cheap here. They were so surprised when I was describing some of the houses in the US and I said not many people had maids or had that large of a house and no cook!
The first night they asked if I wanted to go with the boys to a movie, which I of course said yes. The boys were so wound up they were running and jumping all over on stage in the empty room. Then on the way home they were all in the back singing and dancing to songs like dirty bit by black eyed peas and pretty girl rock by keri hilson… haha. But as soon as we dropped Lito off, Keanu and Anil were out. After dropping them off Paul offered to take me out in Joburg and show me a little of the city, but it turns out that even a city like Joburg is pretty dead on a Sunday night. So we found a little bar with salsa dancing and the people there were really good…. some even looked like they could be professional salsa dancers. We enjoyed watching them for awhile and then when things died down we were heading out when the music changed and more people came in. So we decided to stay and in true Joburg fashion this is when my cell phone got stolen. Of course I was not being very smart and left it on the table and walked away for a minute not paying attention…. basically like having a giant blinking sign asking someone to take it! Even though my cell got stolen it was a really good night.
The next day Mira and I took a short walk around her neighborhood, also going by and stopping at the boys schools, we helped her father loading his truck for his business a bit and then when the boys got home I played some video games (Anil’s favorite) and soccer (Keanu’s favorite). That night Mira’s dad invited us all to go to dinner at a Portugese rugby restaurant where I got to meet more family! I met Mira’s sister and several cousins, neices and nephews and saw her brother again. They had lots of stories and questions for me just like I had lots for them! It was really really cool to be able to go and spend time with their family and see how all the dynamics work. It was very nice to be able to stay with them for couple nights and hopefully sometime I will be able to return the favor or at least be able to help plan a trip to Disneyworld the boys so des
I have spent the last two days trying to figure out how to get USD for the safari, finding out that I am definitely not prepared very well and deciding after talking to people who have just done the tour that I need a warmer sleeping bag. So I am now the proud owner of a much thicker sleeping bag I just bought from a guy here and hope I can sell to someone in Nairobi. Tonight is a meeting for the safari and I have already met several people who will be on the first part of the tour with me. What I know so far is that the bunch leaving here tomorrow will got up to Victoria Falls together, where we will meet up with the group coming from Cape Town and then we all split up, some will continue to Cape Town, some will go on to Nairobi and some will be done from there. More details to come soon I hope, though I don’t know how much access to internet I will have while on tour.