BootsnAll Travel Network

August 3rd, 4th, and 5th, 2008 – Johannesburg, South Africa

Since it was several months ago and I never fully finished I wanted to document a few things about my remaining three days in Africa.  In no particular order, Harriet and I made several trips to the supermarket and bottle shop about 35 minutes away by walk.  It was crazy how deserted these suburbs were in Jo’burg.  There weren’t many black people around and a lot of the houses had walls and electrified fences as did our hostel.  The joke was always asking someone to touch the fence to see if it was really electrified or not, but nobody was willing to do it!

The gang, including myself spent the day at the huge mall walking around.  We all got some crazy clothing from this one really cheap discount store, and I got a soccer jersey of a local Joburg team which was really cool.  We didn’t end up see a movie but had some lunch and got a ride back from Tenus on the Nomad truck which was nice.  The rest of the day we hung out, hit the mufasa bar at night, played pool and enjoyed ourselves.

My last day on August 5th was a really long day.  My flight was not until the night and I just needed to do things to absorb the time.  I packed up, said goodbye the night before to Linda and Sarah who headed back to Switzerland early and so it was just hannah, iain, harriet and I left the last day.  We decided to head to the bottle shop to get some things to bring home.  I got several savannah’s to try and smuggle back.  I ended up drinking a few during the day and packed up the remaining ones in my bag.  We also prepared a big feast the night before.  Iain and I cooked this huge dinner, which included an israeli style salad, fish, sauted and grilled veggies and apples and honey for desert.  We also had wine and appetizers.

During the last day we used our remaining food for lunch which included burgers and sauteed mushrooms and soda.  During my last day I played pool and chilled out.  I was sad to leave but also ready at the same time.  I was sad to leave my friends that I had traveled with for the last month.  You know you really get close to people when you live with them basically 24/7 for a month.  When it was time to leave I got the people at Mufasa to take me to the airport for a reasonable fee.  The dude was really cool and we had a nice chat.  Of course there was traffic going to the airport which gave me heart burn.  Oh also when we were heading down the street to head to the airport, I forgot my beloved food bag!  We turned around I went back in to the hostel and grabbed it.  Of course harriet and Hannah saw me come back and said “We knew you would forgot something!”  I laughed and then said goodbye again and along with my walking stick that I had gotten in Zimbabwe I was off to the airport for real.

When I got to the airport it was jam packed.  I was taking Qatar Airlines from Jo’burg and the line didn’t move.  I called mom and dad to say hi and tell them I was at the airport.  I think my flight was leaving 9, 10 or 11pm something like that.  I was there in plenty of time but just did not like standing online for 40 minutes.  I checked in and was able to get an aisle seat for all my flights.  See when I had to get a new ticket home I got the cheapest I could find.  This meant I had to go from Joburg to Qatar to Geneva to Newark!  It was a disaster.  Well the flight leaving Joburg was delayed and this was a problem because a lot of us had this connecting flight to Geneva from Qatar.  So after the 9 hour comfortable flight on Qatar airlines (they were great, I love all middle eastern lines, except for the fact they are muslim and hate jews), we were bused in special buses from the airplane, and then I started to run.  I ran to security and had to go through special security because Qatar was crazy about security, then I ran to the check in counter and got checked in for that flight.  Then I waited briefly for a moment, and was bused to the plane for Geneva.  That flight was again about 8 hours and it wasn’t as comfortable as the last one.  The plane was older and the personal tv screens really didn’t work as well as I would have hoped.  Once I landed in Geneva I had about an hour and a half.  I decided to get some chocolate for friends and family.  Swiss chocolate is the best.

This last flight from Geneva to New York was also really long about 7 or 8 hours.  So I took like 3, 8 hour flights to get home from South Africa.  When I arrived in Newark, I got my bags and then the time came to go through security.  I had a lot of wooden stuff from Africa and India and was nervous that it would be taken away.  When I got to the customs checkpoint they asked me where I had been.  I said I had come from South Africa and the guy was like “oh really, I think you need to go to this line.”  At that point my stomach dropped and I was like “oh crap.”  I had the same fear last year when I brought back 150 dvds from Asia.  Anyway when I got to the customs X ray scan they asked me if I had any food.  I immediately said “biltong.”  The customs agent looked funny and then I said “jerky.”  they asked me to take it out of my bag and run it through the machine.  Thank g-d I put the biltong I brought back from South Africa in my small backpack and not the big one otherwise I would have opened the big backpack and they would have seen a lot of other stuff.

When they took the jerky I thought they kept it.  But as I’m walking away I hear “sir,” and turn back and they said “here you go.”  Apparently they just needed to scan it and I got it back so my ostrich biltong made it from south africa!

When I arrived my parents and sister were waiting for me.  Jenny ducked under the barrier and gave me a huge hug.  It was great to see the family.  When we got outside to the car I noticed that the blue jeep wasn’t there.  I saw the “WERJE” license plate and said “we got a new car?”  They explained the story, we loaded up the car and I was on my way back home.

I felt anxiety being in the car knowing that I was back home to reality.  I always say the culture shock is worse going back home then when you get to a place.  This was certainly the case this time.


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